With total sales of €22 billion, power transmission and control constitute the two largest segments of German mechanical and plant engineering. In 2014 power transmission companies reported sales of approximately €15.4 billion and the fluid power sector achieved sales of €6.6 billion. Both sectors are cautiously optimistic for 2015. According to VDMA, German power transmission forecasts sales growth of two percent with a five percent increase in the fluid power sector.
"German power transmission and control technology is in high demand all over the globe and has achieved a top competitive position,"
was one of the key conclusions at the round table in January staged by Deutsche Messe AG and the German Engineering Federation (VDMA). However, the sectors face challenges arising from new market demands, customer requirements and statutory regulations. In addition to energy efficiency and sustainability, these include in particular the digitalization and integration of the production process demanded by Industry 4.0.
According to Hartmut Rauen, member of the VDMA Executive Directorate, power transmission and control play a central role in the context of Industry 4.0. "Mechatronic components and cyber-physical system (CPS) modules are important enablers for efficient and smart production processes. At the same time the two sectors are users of Industry 4.0 technology and are closely involved in data mining," says Rauen. This makes them especially relevant but demands vigilance in terms of IT security.
"The data capital that is created here needs to be protected. It is therefore immanently important to take into account security and protecting intellectual property when developing products and throughout their entire life cycle," says Rauen.
"Incorporated into HANNOVER MESSE, MDA provides the opportunity to see the latest technology trends in power transmission and control and to discuss Industry 4.0 issues,"
With around 1,200 exhibitors from over 40 countries MDA 2015 has been fully booked for quite some time. A new attraction at the convention center, the double Halls 19/20, filled rapidly. The sealing technology specialists Freudenberg and Trelleborg among others will be constructing their stands in this complex, which provides space for 10,000 visitors.
Other market leaders in power transmission and control at MDA are Schaeffler Technologies, Bosch Rexroth, Parker Hanifin, KTR Kupplungstechnik and ZF Friedrichshafen. Large international players include the Swedish SKF Group, the US corporation Altra, the rolling contact bearing manufacturer Timken from France and the British company Norgren Limited, a market leader in fluid and motion control technology. On the whole, one third of the visitors to MDA and two-thirds of the exhibitors hail from outside Germany.
"For German manufacturers, global competition is a strong motivation to keep developing their products,"
Industry 4.0 plays an important role in this context. "At present we are working hard to equip drive components with miniaturized sensors and to integrate plant and machinery into central information systems, thus creating the basis for high-volume data communication," states Schullan. "Such smart components and modules are a prerequisite for controlling autonomous processes in our customers’ value chains."