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Hannover Forum Says Data Holds the Key to the Future of M4.0 and Beyond

Hannover Fair MLC Report Day 3 – One of the most significant challenges facing industrial companies as they proceed on their digital journeys is to determine how best to manage increasingly large volumes of data arising from pervasive connectivity.
Tackling the data problem in all of its aspects – collection, processing, analysis – will determine in large part whether manufacturers successfully transition to Manufacturing 4.0 and whatever comes next, a series of speakers at a special forum at  Hannover Fair told attendees today.
Members of the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s delegation to the Hannover Fair attended the forum, which was called the Industrial Pioneers Summit, and heard speakers from Germany’s SmartFactory, Hewlett-Packard, Siemens AG, Microsoft and others on the topic of “What’s Next After Industrie 4.0?” In addition, MLC delegates visited with Intel, Bosch, Festo, Harting, Oracle, and SAP and toured their exhibits.
At the Industrial Pioneers Summit, Dr. Detlef Zuhlke, a member of the MLC’s Board of Governors and Executive Chairman of the SmartFactory (see photo above), told  Summit attendees that two of the most important developments for the future of the industry are moving production closer to customers and establishing clear standards for data interoperability. Moreover, he said, data has to become more useful.
“Data itself makes no sense,” Zuhlke said. “We need information.”

Hewlett Packard’s Matthias Roese

Matthias Roese, Chief Technologist, Global Manufacturing, Automotive and Industrial IoT, at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, said that a recent study of artificial intelligence, released at the Internet of Things World conference, showed that the most significant obstacle to the adoption of AI is a lack of data quality. Roese said that multiple and often incompatible data sources, difficulty in understanding the meaning of data, data silos in many companies, and even inaccurate data contribute to the problem.
Siemens’ Klaus Helmrich

And Klaus Helmrich, member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and CEO of Siemens Digital Industries, said the better manufacturers can get at data analysis directly on the shop floor, the greater productivity and performance they can generate, leading to what he called “a rebirth of the shop floor.”
A number of speakers commented on the impact of AI on manufacturing and its workforce. Caglayan Arkan, Global Lead, Manufacturing and Resources Industry at Micorosft, said AI “will impact everything around us.” HP’s Roese said that 63% of the respondents to the AI survey believe that AI will not be a jobs killer. And Siemens’ Helmrich said that a combination of manufacturing experts and AI experts will lead to higher productivity in manufacturing companies.
“We will be able to create and sell better products with the same level of employees,” he said.
On the exhibit tour yesterday, MLC delegates learned about:

  • Intel’s new chip for AI in edge computing applications, called Intel DL Boost for AI, as well as Intel’s machine vision technology and software-defined PLCs.
  • Festo’s experimental bionic FinWave, a robot that can be used underwater for detection, and an operational dashboard that uses AI in the cloud to monitor factory assets.
  • SAP’s focus on the digital supply chain
  • Oracle’s predictive maintenance, lead to cash, digital thread, and blockchain technologies
  • IBM’s parts traceability using open source blockchain technologies
  • And Harting’s new heavy duty connector product and an RFID-based pallet handling system that includes visual recognition and condition monitoring systems.

Tomorrow, MLC will host a panel discussion – Rethinking Manufacturing Leadership in a 4.0 World – on the floor of the Fair. Panelists include Sargento Foods’ Holly Baumgart, Merck’s Andrew Bird, P&G’s Pietro D’Arpa, Cooley Group’s Dan Dwight, and MLC Board Chairman John Fleming.
Delegates will also visit the exhibits of Dassault Systemes, Microsoft, and PTC and tour the 5G Arena, where they will see the latest developments in the networking technology.
Photos by Alyssa Dixon. Executive Editor Paul Tate contributed to this report.

Festo’s FinWave bionics project

Intel’s new edge computing AI chip

SAP’s digital supply chain


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