New technology: Hannover Fair 60th anniversary

In human years or trade show years, 60 adds ups to a significant milestone. That point was reached on April 16, 2007, as the 60th annual of Hannover Industrial Fair opened for a five-day run. This “world meeting place for industry and business” is the single biggest showcase of new technology for manufacturing and automation in the world.


Hannover, Germany —In human years or trade show years, 60 adds ups to a significant milestone. That point was reached on April 16, 2007, as the 60th annual of Hannover Industrial Fair opened for a five-day run. This “world meeting place for industry and business” is the single biggest showcase of new technology for manufacturing and automation in the world. And its history is as interesting as its technology is useful.

Hannover Fair is actually 12 international trade shows in one. More than 230,000 visitors attended the 5-day event, up more than 10% on the last directly comparable year, 2005. Visitors from abroad represented around 30% of total attendance, with the biggest increases in foreign participation coming from the Americas and Eastern Europe.

The fair arose from the ashes and ravages of World War II, promoted by the Allies to help revitalize life and industry in what then was West Germany. Cold War issues also were in play to establish such an event. This area was in the British zone of occupation following the war, and the Military Government actually “ordered” that the fair take place. The city of Hannover took on the task, and the first post-war German “industrial” fair — then called the Export Fair — opened in August 1947. Response was overwhelmingly positive, with many thousand attendees housed in various facilities, dormitory-style.

Today Hannover Fair is truly a global event. More than half of this year’s 6,400 exhibitors come from outside Germany — the highest figure in the fair’s 60-year history. Of the 12 named trade shows that made up Hannover Fair 2007, four are of special importance to Control Engineering:

Factory Automation presents developments in the manufacturing and production side of overall industrial automation. Industrial robots, the latest in assembly/material handling methods, wireless technology, and industrial identification systems were among the hot display topics for 2007.

Motion, Drive & Automation presents the world of power transmission and control that ranges widely over electric, hydraulic, and pneumatic technologies. A large variety of motors, drives, controllers, mechanical (gear) transmissions, hydraulic/pneumatic actuators and power systems make up this show sector.

Interkama+ adds the vital element of process automation to the total scope of industrial automation. Exhibits here include instrumentation, a gamut of sensors, systems, services, and maintenance aspects of process control — as well as various associated fieldbus systems.

Digital Factory focuses on software and IT solutions for industrial applications. Important exhibit themes here include product lifecycle management (PLM) and manufacturing execution systems (MES), to which IT-based services has recently been added.

• Other areas of interest include energy, pipeline technology, microtechnology, and research and development projects in search of commercial partners.

Over the years, Hannover Fair has been a microcosm of the “economic miracle” that has propelled Germany to a leading role among industrialized nations. Hannover Fair 2007 was declared open by Chancellor Angela Merkel during a formal opening ceremony that has become a fair tradition. Merkel remarked on the fair’s historical significance, noting that it is older than the Federal Republic of Germany itself. She spoke at length on worldwide and local issues, such as environmental protection, the need for energy efficiency, continued education of mature workers, and how to impassion young people about technology careers.

The next Hannover Fair will take place from Monday, April 21, to Friday, April 25, 2008, and the partner country will be Japan. According to a spokesperson, “the foundation for this partnership was laid at the highest political levels in January this year, at discussions in Berlin between German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.”

This page lists Control Engineering Hannover Fair coverage with links to each item.

Frank Bartos , consulting editor
-- Control Engineering System Integration eNewsletter

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