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Interview with Chairman Dr. Jochen Köckler As Hannover Messe 2023 Kicks Off

Interview with Chairman Dr. Jochen Köckler As Hannover Messe 2023 Kicks Off
Right: Dr. Jochen Köckler, Chairman of Deutsche Messe (Courtesy of Hannover Messe)

Hannover Messe, the world’s leading trade fair for industrial technology, is just around the corner, creating a buzz among professionals and experts in the field. This prestigious event, held annually in Hannover (Germany), brings together global industry leaders, innovators, and decision-makers to showcase cutting-edge technologies and discuss the future of industrial innovation. As part of the press preview in February, we had the privilege of gaining insights into what to expect from this year’s fair. In an interview, Dr. Jochen Köckler, Chairman of Deutsche Messe, shares his thoughts on the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in industrial technology, including climate-neutral production and the impact of ChatGPT on the industrial world. Join us as we uncover what’s in store for Hannover Messe 2023.

Hannover Messe takes place from April 17-21, 2023. DirectIndustry is collaborating with the fair this year. As part of this collaboration, we offer you, our readers, free tickets to the fair. It’s not too late to claim your ticket. Visit this page (text in French) to download your free ticket and join us! 

Can you tell us about the theme for this year’s Hannover Messe and how it aligns with the current global focus on ecology and climate change?

Dr. Jochen Köckler: “Industry is on the way to becoming climate-neutral, so our lead theme this year is “Industrial Transformation – Making a Difference”. Companies exhibiting at HANNOVER MESSE 2023 show what difference they can make with their products and solutions, particularly in the areas of artificial intelligence, carbon-neutral production, energy management, hydrogen, and Industrie 4.0.”

Can you discuss any new technologies or innovations that will be showcased at the fair this year?

Dr. Jochen Köckler: “Artificial intelligence systems such as ChatGPT, DALL-E and Luminous from the German company Aleph Alpha can already help with texting, programming, and design. At HANNOVER MESSE, Aleph Alpha, together with Hewlett Packard, will demonstrate how natural language can control an industrial robot.

OMRON has a robot that solves an assembly task by following the hand movements of human worker and learning from their mistakes.

In the area of Industrie 4.0, German industry associations including BDI, VDMA and ZVEI will present the sovereign and secure data platform Manufacturing X.

The company Holo-Light will present the new version of its augmented reality glasses – the world’s first industrial metaverse application that enables interaction and collaboration between AR and VR.

More than 500 companies at HANNOVER MESSE will show hydrogen solutions for industry. For example, Siemens Energy simulates the effects of changes in the energy mix, for example, what happens when hydrogen replaces fossil fuels?”

How will Hannover Messe 2023 build on the success of previous years and continue to be a leading international trade fair for the industry?

Dr. Jochen Köckler: “Keeping HANNOVER MESSE relevant is a continuous process, so we maintain close contact with our customers and partners to make sure the event meets the changing needs of industry. For example, we have an overarching exhibitor advisory board as well as exhibitor advisory panels for specific topics. We also work with industry trade associations such as the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the Association of German Machinery and plant manufacturers (VDMA), and the German Electro and Digital Industry Association (ZVEI).

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the planning and preparation for this year’s event? 

Dr. Jochen Köckler: “The government has lifted all Corona restrictions, so we do not expect Covid to play a role at this year’s fair.”

We noticed that some traditional manufacturers like KUKA to name one, won’t attend the event. What conclusions can you draw from this?

Dr. Jochen Köckler: “We do not draw conclusions from which companies do or do not participate. The industrial landscape changes constantly, which in turn affects companies’ structures and goals.”

What can attendees expect from the Indonesian delegation and their participation as the partner country for the fair?

Dr. Jochen Köckler: “Making Indonesia 4.0 – Connect to Accelerate” – this is the keynote theme Indonesia promotes as a Partner Country of HANNOVER MESSE 2023. The island nation’s goals include encouraging industrial cooperation, stimulating foreign investment and further strengthening ties between Indonesia and Germany. The Indonesia National Pavilion in Hall 2 covers more than 3,000 square meters. In addition to hosting roughly 150 exhibiting companies and organizations, it spotlights Indonesia’s industrial capabilities, special economic zones and real estate for foreign investors, and programs for education and human capital.”

With sustainability being a key focus for the fair, how is Deutsche Messe working to ensure the event itself is environmentally friendly?

Dr. Jochen Köckler: “Deutsche Messe is a member of the “Net Zero Carbon Events” initiative – an association of roughly 300 organizations from the international trade fair and event industry that have committed to achieving climate-neutral events by 2050. At Deutsche Messe, we intend to reach 65% of our emission-reduction target by 2030. We work constantly to reduce energy consumption and adopt the most sustainable practices possible in areas such as mobility, exhibit construction, and waste disposal.”

What are you most looking forward to about this edition?

Dr. Jochen Köckler: “One of my highlights is the opening ceremony with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Indonesia’s President Widodo, and I am excited to see how Partner Country Indonesia presents itself. We also have new programs such as HACK4INDUSTRY, a competition that matches startups with established companies, and YOUR FUTURE, a program that helps get young people excited about careers in the STEM area. Of course, I look forward to meeting customers, discovering innovations, and getting inspired for the future.”