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The Key Drivers of Hannover Messe 2024 For a Competitive and Sustainable Industry

The Key Drivers of Hannover Messe 2024 For a Competitive and Sustainable Industry
Hannover Messe will take place from April 22-26, 2024. What to expect from this new edition? DirectIndustry was invited to attend the press preview last week in Hannover. Here is what we learned. (Credit: Deutsche Messe)

Hannover Messe will take place from April 22-26, 2024. What to expect from this new edition? DirectIndustry was invited to attend the press preview last week in Hannover. Here is what we learned.

The Hannover Messe Press Preview took place last week in Hannover. Organized by Deutsche Messe every year, about eight weeks before the show, this conference is only open to journalists and aims to present the biggest technological trends that will be covered at the fair in April. It is also the occasion to introduce the new edition’s partner country. This year, Norway is the chosen partner.

DirectIndustry was among the 80 media outlets invited for the occasion. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss. 

DirectIndustry is partnering with Deutsche Messe, Hannover Messe’s organizers. As part of our collaboration, we offer you, our readers, free tickets to the fair. Visit this page (text in French) to download your free entry!

Uncertainty is Not Good For Business

The press conference started last Wednesday, February 21st with a keynote by Dr. Jochen Köckler, Chairperson of the Managing Board, Deutsche Messe AG, Hannover who gave an outlook on what’s to come at Hannover Messe. 

For him, the level of uncertainty is important, which is not good for the economy.

“Geopolitical challenges, crises, and evident climate change. As a consequence, we’re facing stagnant growth. Even in China, growth is below what we’ve experienced and utilized for almost two decades. Energy costs have become a significant issue as a result of Russia’s attack on Ukraine. And demographically, in aging nations in Europe such as Germany, we still face a shortage of skilled workers.”

Besides, the topic of deindustrialization of Europe is being discussed.

For Dr. Köckler, the challenges ahead of us are important as our economies are witnessing changes like never before. Fortunately, technologies are being delivered to address all these challenges and enable us to build a more sustainable but still competitive industry.

“People come to Hannover Messe because they need solutions, and solutions are offered here. There are technological solutions that are happening at breathtaking speed.”

Dr. Jochen Köckler, Chairperson of the Managing Board, Deutsche Messe AG (Credit: Deutsche Messe)

The 3 Key Drivers at Hannover Messe 2024

This year’s edition of Hannover Messe will focus on three main drivers:  automation (including generative AI), digitalization, and sustainability (with a focus on electrification and hydrogen). 

Automation

Automation has been a crucial part of industry and of Hannover Messe for decades. For Doctor Fabian Bause Product Manager at automation firm Beckhoff,

“Automation is the key to keeping the balance between the economic challenges of an ever-growing population with more prosperity with limited raw materials, and energy. What does that mean? It means we have to optimize these goods. And we can only do that if we optimize the processes by which we produce these goods. So what does automation bring? We create free spaces from repetitive, simple tasks and can take care of creative processes, and develop new things. Only then, when we keep our backs free, can we always move forward, and that’s why I believe that automation is one of the basic building blocks that can drive innovation. And artificial intelligence is just a method to automate something and processes as well. ” 

Artificial Intelligence, with its tremendous capacities, is already transforming the manufacturing industry and leading it to be more sustainable, more efficient, and more competitive.

Dr. Bause believes we will experience a further democratization of AI methods and tools without needing AI specialists to develop AI tools.

Specific applications will be showcased at the trade show, such as voice-controlled robots, machines that automatically recognize defects, or systems that reduce downtime through predictive maintenance.

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Digitization

Digitization is the second driver of the fair, explained Dr. Köckler:

“Thanks to the foundation laid in 2013 with Industry 4.0., there was the realization that data exchange must also take place in the industry and data must be collected, resulting in better control. Industry 4.0 from 2017 to 2022 became a trademark for the modern industry”.

This trademark is today being enhanced thanks to AI capacities. With AI, companies will be able to reduce the development times of hardware and software while optimizing their use of resources and energy.

Electrification

Electrification is the last driver of the fair. A sustainable industry means an industry that gives up fossil fuels for renewables.

“Electrification only happens when renewable energy is provided, and this brings me to the topic of hydrogen. When there’s no wind and sun available during dark lulls, I need an energy carrier. There is no doubt that hydrogen is suitable as a green energy carrier and will find its application. The question now is how long it will take. When we look at the challenges of climate change, it shouldn’t take too long, and we have a fantastic offer there.”

500 exhibitors will indeed be showcasing solutions related to hydrogen including Salzgitter AG. They have a program, SALCOS®, that promotes the production of green steel & green hydrogen through processes for climate-neutral steel production.

The presence of Norway as the partner country of the fair will also help promote hydrogen solutions and projects. Norway contributes through innovations such as electrolysis-produced aluminum and will showcase such innovations.

“And hopefully, we will manage to accelerate things so that decisions are made, allowing the development to proceed quickly.” 

4000 Exhibitors

4,000 exhibitors are expected at Hannover Messe this year. Among the major corporations and tech giants that will be present are Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, SAP, and Google. Large industrial companies such as Schneider Electric, Siemens, and Bosch will also be in attendance.

The fair will also feature medium-sized companies including Beckhoff, GP Joule, ebm-papst, Ericsson, Festo, Turck, Harting, ifm, igus, LAPP, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, Rittal, Schunk, SEW-Eurodrive, Wago, WIBU, and Ziehl-Abegg.

On the research side, institutes like the German Fraunhofer Institute and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) will be participating.

Additionally, 300 startups are expected to showcase their solutions at the fair.

Norway: Hannover Messe’s Partner Country

Per Niederbach, Executive Vice President and Head of Trade & Invest, Innovation Norway (Credit: Deutsche Messe)

Norway is this year’s Hannover Messe partner country. Norway has since many years positioned itself as a pioneer in sustainable solutions, particularly in renewable energy since they developed hydropower in the early 20th century.

Home to 5.5 million inhabitants, Norway is for example Europe’s largest producer of hydropower and the 6th largest in the world.

Over 99% of electricity production in mainland Norway comes from 31 GW hydropower plants. The average annual hydropower production is around 133 TWh.

Norway also plays an important role in supplying natural gas to Europe. It aims to supply low-carbon and renewable hydrogen in the future.

The Norwegian pavilion will host 30 companies showcasing their green solutions such as Yara which agricultural solutions help farmers increase their yields and improve the quality while reducing environmental impact.

According to Per Niederbach, Executive Vice President and Head of Trade & Invest, Innovation Norway,

“Yara’s mission is to provide food for the world’s growing population and protect the planet in a responsible way. Their industrial solution also helps improve air quality and reduce emissions. They are also fast becoming a supplier of ammonia for the transportation sector, as well as a carrier for hydrogen.”

Another example is the MF Hydra project, in which Norwegian companies joined forces to design, build, and equip the world’s first ferry to run on liquid hydrogen.

However, since the 1970s, the country also has developed a strong oil and gas industry that is still running and plays a pivotal role in Norway’s economy. For example, The Norwegian government’s total net cash flow from the petroleum industry in 2023 is estimated to be 903 billion NOK (€80 billion). This includes taxes, fees, dividends, and the State’s Direct Financial Interest (SDFI)1.

Besides, total investments in oil and gas activity for 2024 are estimated at NOK 244 billion (€20 billion), reflecting a 5% increase from the previous quarter.

According to Per

“Norway is devaluing its offshore industry to become a significant player in floating offshore wind and is already the largest floating offshore wind player following the development of something called high wind tampon in the North Sea, which now is the world’s largest floating wind park.

Norwegian Pavillion : Hall 12 and Hall 13

The Presence of Political Decision-Makers

Dr. Köckler also sees an increasing level of interest from political decision-makers like never before. 

Chancellor Scholz and the Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre will open Hannover Messe on April 21st.  For the first time in the history of the fair, the current EU Commission President Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen will also be present at the opening ceremony and for the tour of the booths on Monday morning.

The German Minister of Economics and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, confirmed his participation. 

Minister Fest from Norway, who was also present at the signing of the partner country agreement, will also have representatives.

“What this further emphasizes is that politics seeks dialogue with business; politics wants to be part of the discussion. In eight weeks, there will be a crucial space not only to discuss but also to drive important decisions forward.”

Strong political announcements in favor of hydrogen are expected, especially.

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