How digital twins are closing the gap between rhetoric and reality
The Fraunhofer IFF is at HANNOVER MESSE 2018 to show how digital twins can already be used in actual production environments. One example is their role as augmented reality assistance systems for plant engineering maintenance.
When it comes to digitizing production, many areas still reveal a gulf between rhetoric and reality. Yet the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF is continuing to close this gap. It has chosen HANNOVER MESSE 2018 to show how digital twins - the digital counterparts of tangible or intangible objects in the real world – can already be used in actual production environments, where they act as augmented reality assistance systems, for example, in plant engineering maintenance.
"Using digital twins in everyday production operations in a way that meets specific needs and is focused on results relies on one thing in particular - the data needs to be available at the right time," says Dr. Nico Zobel from the IFF. The scientists at the institute are thus working on virtual engineering methods for already developing digital twins during the engineering process for subsequent use during plant operations. The scientists know it’s important for the solutions to be extendable to grow alongside companies' digitization needs. "Our mobile assistance system makes it possible to display the latest sensor data from the process engineering plant on a tablet or via mixed-reality glasses in the user’s direct line of vision," says Zobel. "And because many companies keep production offline to protect their data and equipment, our solutions are designed to be used both in the cloud and in isolation on a local intranet."
Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF (39106 Magdeburg, Germany), Hall 17, Stand C24
Contact: M.A. René Maresch
Tel.: +49 39 14090-446
CEMEX, an international building materials company based in Mexico, the Partner Country of HANNOVER MESSE 2018, is showcasing CEMEX Go at the trade fair. This is the first fully digital, integrated customer platform of its kind, heralding a new networked era for the building materials industry.
The Partner Country of HANNOVER MESSE 2018 is Mexico, long renowned as a center of production for foreign manufacturers. Perhaps the most famous example is the VW Beetle, which Volkswagen de México manufactured there from 1964 to 2003 (during which time it became affectionately known as the “Vocho”, probably derived from “Volkswagen”). Other international companies also have a firm foothold in the territory, such as Siemens, whose ties to Mexico stretch back well over 100 years. But the reverse is equally true, as shown by CEMEX, a growing Mexican building materials company that now offers its high-quality products backed up with reliable service on four continents. CEMEX manufactures and distributes cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregates and associated building materials in over fifty countries and has business relationships with more than 100 in total.
CEMEX is at HANNOVER MESSE 2018 to present CEMEX Go - the first fully digital, integrated customer platform of its kind. CEMEX Go provides the kind of detailed real-time information that customers need to make better business decisions and manage their companies more effectively - and thus also boost their productivity. Thus CEMEX is adding a virtual line to its physical products by paving the way for the networked era in the building materials industry.
CEMEX S.A.B. de C.V. (64000 Monterrey, Mexico), Hall 27, Stand H30
Contact: Alexandra Decker
Tel.: +49 30 3300 9238
The whole world of computer-based automation at one venue
Beckhoff has chosen HANNOVER MESSE 2018 to exhibit its entire range of PC- and EtherCAT-based control technology. The company is showcasing components, systems and innovations in a total of five technology forums.
Visitors to HANNOVER MESSE can experience components, systems and the latest technology highlights in the five technology forums hosted by Beckhoff Automation GmbH & Co. KG. By systematically bundling control intelligence in software, PC-based control technology combines all the functions such as PLC, motion control and IoT in a single system. Besides the integration of image processing, high-precision measuring technology and cloud services into the central controller, this year’s trade fair stand also focuses on innovative hardware such as the AMP8000 servo drive.
The decentralized AMP8000 servo drive system opens up new opportunities for modular machine concepts. Relocating the servo drive including the opower electronics directly into the servomotor means the control cabinet only needs to house a single coupling module to power multiple servo drives with a single cable via a distribution module. Visitors to this year’s HANNOVER MESSE can see for themselves just how much they can save in materials, space, money and installation work.
Beckhoff Automation GmbH & Co. KG (33415 Verl, Germany), Hall 9, Stand F06
Contact: Anna Beckhoff
Tel.: +49 5246 963-0
From 2D to 3D
Expivi is the online 3D product configuration platform from a Dutch startup of the same name. This cloud-based technology enables users to visualize, customize and quote any product with all possible options using a browser.
We've all been there - you're looking for product information and are grateful for any visual representation. The clearer and more detailed it is, the better. And then you wonder why so many suppliers continue to make do with information that is purely text-based. Or, at best, they only offer a few, pretty meaningless images. In the past, this may well have been largely due to the complexities involved. Yet this excuse is no longer justified, at least as far as Dutch startup Expivi is concerned. The company is at HANNOVER MESSE 2018 to unveil its online 3D product configuration platform, which enhances product display and in turn boosts sales opportunities.
Whether it's a designer home, an intricately built yacht or a simple pen, the innovative 3D technology from Expivi enables users to visualize, customize and quote any product with all possible options and without any limitations using a standard browser - including in VR. The largely automated Expivi workflow makes it easy to import 3D models, including configuration options, directly from any 3D modeling software such as Maya, 3D max, Solidworks, Autocad, Revit, Sketchup and a whole lot more. Expivi thus aims to open up new and exciting opportunities for presenting products as clearly as possible on any device imaginable.
Expivi B.V. (5612 LX Eindhoven, The Netherlands), Hall 17, Stand B61
Contact: Babak M. Mirzaie
Tel.: +31 403 046 250
Mobile: +31 620 092 114
Getting robots moving
ANYbotics AG, the Swiss developer of the extremely agile four-legged ANYmal robot, is at HANNOVER MESSE 2018 to highlight the robot's core technology - the intelligent ANYdrive robot joint.
Although Elon Musk recently admitted he had underestimated the human factor and that the teething troubles with the Tesla 3 are mainly due to excessive automation ("machines that build machines!"), the future of manufacturing still no doubt lies in robotics. ANYmal - a robot that has lately been attracting particularly high levels of media interest and was premiered in Hannover last year - will once again be a major visitor attraction at HANNOVER MESSE 2018. But this time, alongside ANYmal itself, its creator - the Zurich-based startup ANYbotics AG - will be training the spotlight on ANYdrive, without which the ANYmal robot could not move at all.
ANYdrive, the core technology in ANYmal, is an innovative, flexible robot joint that combines the motor, gears, titanium springs, sensors and intelligent motor electronics in a compact unit that is sealed with IP67 protection. ANYdrive’s innovative design enables highly dynamic movements and collision maneuvers without any damage from impulsive contact forces. At the same time, it supports highly sensitive, force-controlled interaction with its surroundings. This makes it a particularly attractive option for machines that interact with humans, such as collaborative and mobile robots and exoskeletons.
ANYbotics AG (8092 Zurich, Switzerland), Hall 2, Stand C39
Contact: Hanspeter Fässler
Tel.: +41 446 327 417
Suits you, Sir!
The Faculty of Electrical Engineering at Zwickau University of Applied Sciences (WHZ) is showcasing an innovative "cybersuit" at HANNOVER MESSE 2018. The system combines smart glasses and networked sensors that are incorporated into the suit.
The word "cyber" comes from Ancient Greek and means "steering", which is why it was once mainly used in the shipping industry, in the sense of "the art of navigating a ship". These days, the word is largely used as a prefix, for example when reporting on digital advances. This may also have prompted Zwickau University of Applied Sciences (WHZ) to refer to one of its latest developments as a "cybersuit". The suit, which is being unveiled at HANNOVER MESSE 2018, combines networked sensors and smart glasses. The sensors are incorporated into the suit and record the vital signs and stress indicators relevant to its wearer’s health and performance. Meanwhile, if limit values are exceeded, the glasses instantly project warnings and recommendations in front of the wearer’s eye.
The "cybersuit" brings together the results of two separate research projects. The gaze-controlled glasses have been developed primarily for sufferers of conditions such as motor neurone disease to enable them to communicate more effectively with relatives and care staff using input methods that don't rely on hand movements. The glasses have also been fitted with sensors to measure vital parameters at the wearer’s head. The sensor suit comes from the midasKMU junior research group and, like the glasses, has various sensors for measuring vital signs. An ECG monitor measures heart rate, for example, thus providing information about the wearer’s stress levels. Extensometers measure the movements of arms and legs, while additional accelerometers also measure the speed of movements. The information recorded is then evaluated in real time by a computer unit and, if required, visualized via the smart glasses. Daily and long-term evaluations can also be called up. Visitors to Hannover can find out more about the amazing variety of applications for the "cybersuit" at the WHZ stand.
Zwickau University of Applied Sciences (08056 Zwickau, Germany), Hall 2, Stand A38
Contact: Silke Dinger
Tel.: +49 375 536 1050
in-GmbH and PATLITE are blazing a trail at HANNOVER MESSE 2018 by combining PATLITE's signal towers with the sphinx open online IoT platform from in-GmbH to rapidly transfer status information from unnetworked facilities.
Fault-related production downtimes are the natural enemy of every value-added process - the old adage that time is money is especially true in such cases. Reliable and, above all, fast early detection is therefore essential. But how can fault information from unnetworked production facilities be obtained, visualized and processed as quickly as possible? Quite simply by linking solutions intelligently - as has been done by in-integrierte informationssysteme GmbH (in-GmbH) and PATLITE.
By linking the sphinx open online IoT platform from in-GmbH to the signal light from PATLITE, it is now possible to quickly transfer real-time status information from unnetworked production facilities to the appropriate personnel. Deviations from relevant parameters, defaults and actual data along with faults in machinery or production lines can thus be detected instantly by everyone involved. The relevant staff are notified immediately by a message and alarm, whether they are on the shopfloor, in the office or on the move. Visitors to the PATLITE stand can see realistic application scenarios for themselves, while in-GmbH is showcasing the technical background in Hall 7.
in-integrierte informationssysteme GmbH (78467 Konstanz, Germany), Hall 7, Stand D26
PATLITE Europe GmbH (85399 Hallbergmoos, Germany), Hall 11, Stand E26
Contact: Manja Wagner
Tel.: +49 753 181 450
It's enough to make your head spin!
The Leibniz Institute for New Materials (INM) is at HANNOVER MESSE 2018 to unveil a new electrospinning process. This involves linking fine fibers so that invisible touch control areas can be added to curved surfaces.
"What's innovative about our technology is the starting materials we use. We process polymers and composites but also sols, which are then calcined. Depending on the starting material, it's possible to produce both intrinsically conductive fibers and those that become electrically conductive in a further step via silvering," says Peter William de Oliveira, Head of the InnovationCenter at the INM. Unlike previous patterning processes such as stamping and printing, electrospinning produces unstructured conductive fleece, whose density is high enough to enable electrical conductivity across the whole of the substrate. At the same time, the number of fiber intersection points is so low that light scattering is reduced to less than two percent. With fibers that are 100 times thinner than a human hair, the fleece is invisible to the human eye and appears transparent. The fleece's net-like, asymmetrical structure also eliminates typical diffraction phenomena, such as distracting rainbow effects.
INM - Leibniz-Institut für Neue Materialien gGmbH (66123 Saarbrücken, Germany), Hall 2, Stand B46
Contact: Dr. Carola Jung
Tel.: +49 681 9300 506
Smart data measuring
ACNSENSA - the latest creation from aconno GmbH - is a highly efficient sensor beacon for capturing and storing environmental and physical parameters. Visitors to HANNOVER MESSE 2018 can get the first look.
"IoT made easy" is the catchphrase of aconno GmbH, which was founded in Düsseldorf in 2015. From day one, the startup has made this its mission as it drives innovation on the IoT scene. Its founder and Managing Director Miroslav Šimudvarac and his team possess a wealth of experience in major companies and the ICT sector. This stands them in very good stead for rolling out complex IoT projects with exemplary innovative flair, flexibility and planning certainty. Their work focuses on smart, networked hardware, the front runners so far being the aconno ACD52832 smart development board and the aconno ACN52832 Bluetooth smart module. Both models are custom-configured sensor modules made and certified in Germany. The team has chosen HANNOVER MESSE 2018 to unveil its latest creation, the aconno ACNSENSA.
This new device rolls the latest-generation, energy-efficient Bluetooth and the appropriate sensor technology into a sensor beacon for capturing and storing physical measurement values. This enables ACNSENSA to intuitively measure and monitor environmental and physical parameters, either directly on a digital end device or via a gateway. Its short response times also make it ideal for the kind of Industry 4.0 predictive maintenance that boosts production efficiency - and at a very reasonable cost. ACNSENSA can be enhanced with a wide range of additional sensors to provide sensor beacons to suit all needs, from prototypes all the way through to beacons for high-volume production.
aconno GmbH (40221 Düsseldorf, Germany), Hall 6, Stand D30
Contact: Miroslav Simudvarac
Tel.: +49 211 93077809
International quartet goes head to head!
Continental has put together an international hackathon especially for HANNOVER MESSE. Startups from around the world, including one from this years’ Partner Country Mexico, are being called on to collaborate on creative ideas and innovative solutions in an industrial environment.
The term "hackathon" was first coined in the IT sector to describe a software or hardware brainstorming event. The aim is to jointly develop useful, creative and innovative ideas within a specified time. Following a test run at the IAA in Frankfurt, Continental invited contenders to step up to the line for the first official international Industry Hackathon at HANNOVER MESSE 2018. On its home turf in Hannover, the company has invited four startups from different ecosystems to come up with creative ideas and innovative solutions for the industrial environment.
"Technological innovations are the lubricating oil and fuel for making industrial companies competitive and fit for the future. Together with our almost 150 years of expertise and a fresh outside perspective, we will form and drive new ideas, from which new products or business models could arise," explains Hans-Jürgen Duensing, the Continental Executive Board member responsible for the ContiTech division. Joining forces with experts at Continental to spend three days focusing hard on the future in a dedicated startup niche at its stand are talented young people, lateral thinkers and creative minds from Hannover, Hamburg and Bucharest (Romania). Completing the quartet is a team from San Luis Potosí in Mexico, the Partner Country for this year's HANNOVER MESSE. "We are using Hannover Messe as an ideas factory and think tank," says Christoph Seeger, who is responsible for the new Innovation and Digitalization department in the ContiTech division. The participants will form four teams to work on developing ideas for logistics and intralogistics applications with the aid of Continental's experts in drive belts, conveyor belt systems, industrial tires and industrial hoses. During the hackathon, they will be guided through the nine different stages of a design-thinking method so they can find specific approaches for application-focused solutions. At the end of the third day, all four teams will present their ideas to a panel of judges. A live vote at the stand will determine the winning idea, which will be carried forward for further collaborative development work.
Continental AG (30165 Hannover, Germany), Hall 5, Stand E18
Contact: Antje Lewe
Tel.: +49 511 938-1304
Full-throttle brake-printing process!
Revolutionary 3D metal printing processes are finding their way into automotive manufacturing. A partnership between the Fraunhofer IAPT, Bionic Production AG and Bugatti has developed the world's biggest additive-manufactured, titanium functional component.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Additive Production Technologies IAPT (previously known as the Laser Zentrum Nord - LZH) is hailing its very special exhibit at HANNOVER MESSE 2018 as an automotive industry milestone. A joint project between the IAPT, VW subsidiary Bugatti and Bionic Production AG has pioneered the fusion of digital engineering and production. "The collaboration with Bugatti is a groundbreaking lighthouse project for us," says Professor Claus Emmelmann, Director of the IAPT. He is clearly very proud of this development, adding: "When Bugatti approached us, we were absolutely delighted. I don't know of any other car manufacturer that places such high demands on its products. We were happy to take on the challenge." The development time for the 3D titanium brake caliper was actually very short, taking just three months from the initial idea to printing the first part.
The first step toward bringing additive manufacturing into series production in the automotive industry was to train the engineers at Bugatti in the process. Equipped with this knowledge, Bugatti then sought potential opportunities to use additive manufacturing for its super sports car, the CHIRON. One candidate component was the brake caliper, the design of which had already been optimized based on bionic principles. Bugatti was thus able to supply the LZH, as it was at the time, with a full data set for the basic concept and component calculations. The LZH performed the process simulation, designed the supportive structures, printed the part and subsequently heat- and surface-treated the component. Finishing work was then carried out back at Bugatti. The resulting 8-piston monoblock brake caliper is the first in the world to be produced using a 3D printer and is also the largest titanium functional component ever manufactured this way. What's more, it is the largest brake caliper in the entire automotive industry. Series production is due to be trialed during the first half of 2018.
Fraunhofer-Einrichtung für Additive Produktionstechnologien IAPT (21029 Hamburg, Germany), Hall 2, Stand A26
Contact: Prof. Claus Emmelmann
Tel.: +49 40 484010-505
For photos and video clips, visit: Trendspots / Product Innovations