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A big thumbs up for innovation!
Ottobock, a global market leader for med-tech products and fitting concepts specializing in prosthetics, orthotics and human mobility, is making its debut at HANNOVER MESSE with exhibits including the Paexo Thumb - the world's smallest exoskeleton.

Skeletons are supporting structures for organisms - either inside the body, as in humans, or on the outside, as in the case of insects and crustaceans. Biologists call the former endoskeletons and the latter exoskeletons. The idea of providing humans in need of assistance with an additional, outer skeleton has been around for some time. The concept originally focused primarily on medical requirements, but it gradually dawned on researchers that if an exoskeleton enables a paraplegic to walk upright, it could also help anyone at all handle heavy objects. Ottobock followed a similar thought process. For 100 years now, the global market leader specializing in prosthetics and orthotics has been developing med-tech products and fitting concepts for people with limited mobility. The MedicalCare division also provides patient care. To coincide with the company's centenary, Ottobock is exhibiting its industrial exoskeletons at HANNOVER MESSE 2019 for the first time.

Visitors to Hall 17 can test the Paexo range of passive exoskeletons and experience first hand how they relieve the strain on their bodies. "Exoskeletons designed for industrial settings will bring about permanent changes in many working environments. They can play a major role in preventing workplace injuries in many sectors, and help make workplaces more ergonomic. Based on our 100 years of biomechanical and orthopedic expertise, we are driving this change," says Dr. Sönke Rössing, Head of Ottobock Industrials.

As well as support devices for wrists and the shoulder area, Ottobock is also showcasing the new Paexo Thumb - currently the world's smallest exoskeleton. It is designed to help people who place strain on their thumbs at work on a daily basis. Clipping, inserting and plugging components on assembly lines can cause this kind of strain, for example. By redirecting the forces into the entire hand, the small and extremely lightweight exoskeleton is said to result in up to 70 percent less pressure being exerted on the thumb. What's more, users automatically assume an ergonomic hand position when wearing the Paexo Thumb. In addition to relieving the strain on thumb joints, it also protects the tip of the thumb from mechanical influences. The Paexo Thumb was developed and tested in collaboration with companies from the automotive and home appliance industries. The new device was tried out in paint shops and on assembly lines, for example. "The potential of the Paexo Thumb was clearly evident in these settings. It's a simple yet innovative solution for preventing joint problems in the hand," explains Rössing. The Paexo Thumb is one of the first Ottobock products to be fabricated in series production using a 3D printer. The exoskeleton "printed" in Germany is due to be available in seven different sizes shortly after HANNOVER MESSE 2019.

Ottobock SE & Co. KGaA (37115 Duderstadt, Germany), Hall 17, Stand G18/1
Contact: Gesa Liss
Mobile: +49 151 4416 1837
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Playing catch-up with the Danes!
Universal Robots, the Danish pioneer in collaborative robotics, is unveiling its latest generation of robots with enhanced functions at HANNOVER MESSE - the new e-Series.

The Danes are coming to Hannover - to show that their user-friendly, versatile and cost-effective robotic arms don’t just pave the way to semi-automated production for industrial conglomerates, but for small and medium-sized companies, too. Visitors to HANNOVER MESSE 2019 can check out practical examples to see how Universal Robots can help future-proof industrial manufacturing processes and adapt them to the needs of customers and staff.

The company's exhibits are centered primarily on the new e-Series, which will be presented for the first time in Hannover in 2019. The latest generation of robots from Universal Robots has been certified by TÜV Nord to ISO 10218-1 and had its safety functions classified as category 3 PLd to ISO 13849-1, meaning it complies with the latest ISO safety standards. The e-Series also aims to impress with an even greater variety of applications and simpler programming. What's more, an integrated force-torque sensor and a redesigned user interface support more precise and intuitive operation. Practical demonstrations will give visitors to HANNOVER MESSE 2019 the opportunity to see for themselves the challenges that the company’s robots can help overcome. For example, three UR3e robot arms are working together on the “flashlight application” to present visitors with a flashlight that has been engraved at the fair. The supreme discipline in robotics - 3D bin picking - is also on show, in the shape of a robot fitted with an image processing system extracting objects dumped in a jumbled mess in a container.

Universal Robots is also announcing the expansion of its "UR Academy" training concept: "We have created a virtual classroom at the Universal Robots Academy so that even inexperienced users can program our robots on their own," says Helmut Schmid, General Manager for Western Europe at Universal Robots (Germany) GmbH. "We would like to extend this concept even further and have some exciting news to announce at HANNOVER MESSE."

Universal Robots (Germany) GmbH (81379 Munich, Germany), Hall 17, Stand D24
Contact: Thomas Stensbøl
Tel.: +49 89 1218 9720
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Up, up and away into the future of mechanical engineering!
ZELTWANGER Maschinenbau is expanding at a phenomenal pace and is bringing this momentum to HANNOVER MESSE 2019 - along with a whole range of innovative exhibits.

ZELTWANGER Automation has secured a prestigious market position thanks to its flexible modular assembly and inspection systems, which are custom designed. At the heart of the company's portfolio right now are manually interlinked one-piece-flow line concepts and ergonomic standalone workstation systems. These are flanked by fully automated workpiece carrier- and robot-based assembly systems that offer solutions for customer-specific requirements. The company also supplies leak testing systems, modular assembly systems, pin placement systems and polishing machines for ceramic substrates. Over the past two years, ZELTWANGER has yet again invested heavily in its Tübingen site, with the production area of the mechanical engineering division alone growing by a good 8,200 square meters. All in all, the company believes it is well equipped for the future of mechanical engineering.

In fact, ZELTWANGER recently set up an ultra-modern machine park on its newly acquired production space, one that few companies in Germany can match. For example, the impressive, 50-metric-ton DMU 210 µPrecision 5-axis high-precision milling machine has just gotten a new sister. Standing peacefully side by side, the two gantry milling machines are not just an imposing sight, they are also brimming with cutting-edge technology: "Although our second DMU machine doesn't have a μ-precision option, it does have a precision package that delivers a position tolerance of 8 µm across the full working range. Moreover, it also machines workpieces weighing up to eight metric tons with maximum precision and dynamics," Andreas Wodarz, Managing Director of ZELTWANGER Maschinenbau, points out, adding: "Both large machines support 5-axis simultaneous machining in one clamping process. What makes all the difference is the ingenious, fully comprehensive cooling system that encompasses all the relevant machine components. This ensures temperatures are stable, which underpins maximum component precision." If Tübingen is a bit too far off the beaten track, then HANNOVER MESSE 2019 offers the perfect opportunity to check out the company's prowess.

ZELTWANGER Holding GmbH (72072 Tübingen, Germany), Hall 4, Stand E24
Contact: Andreas Wodarz
Tel.: +49 7071 3663-101
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Sometimes bronze is worth its weight in gold!
Swiss-based Kugler Bimetal SA is at HANNOVER MESSE 2019 to showcase its TOKAT 300 bronze coating. The product promises to be a lasting solution to the market demand for better performance and cost efficiency and a responsible approach to limiting the use of lead.

Swiss-based Kugler BIMETAL SA has been manufacturing parts in Kugler-TOKAT bronze and steel since 1950, with the consistent aim of eliminating problems with friction. The parts are used in areas that are ultra-demanding and beset by extreme operating conditions such as severe mechanical stresses, high speeds and unusual temperatures. The solutions developed by Kugler Bimetal SA are used primarily in hydraulic drive technology, heavy engineering, and the aerospace and transportation sectors. At HANNOVER MESSE 2019, the company is unveiling TOKAT 300, the next generation of anti-friction coating.

The team at Kugler Bimetal is confident it knows where regulations and customer demands are headed and so it has invested heavily in research and development over recent years. The result of all this hard work is TOKAT 300, the company’s answer to market demands for better performance, higher cost efficiency and lead-free solutions. Thanks to its inseparable CuSnBi3 bronze layer on a steel backing and its finely engineered microstructure, TOKAT 300 demonstrates efficiency-boosting benefits such as lower friction, reduced wear, higher strength and load capacity, and greater fatigue and cavitation resistance. What's more, due to its extended product lifetime, TOKAT 300 should also reduce total life cycle costs.

Kugler Bimetal S.A. (1219 Le Lignon, Switzerland), Hall 25, Stand B36 (main stand)
Contact: Benjamin Sassard
Mobile: +41 782 61 90 00
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Time to bring on board the innovation dream team!
International innovation service provider Zühlke Engineering is showcasing countless case studies at HANNOVER MESSE 2019 to demonstrate its interdisciplinary expertise in digitization and innovation.

As an international service provider for innovation projects, Zühlke combines business and technology expertise to produce customer-focused solutions. It develops commercially successful products, services and business models for the digital future - right from the initial idea, through implementation, to operation. At the heart of its work lie the skills and talents of over 1,000 experts and the experience gained from more than 10,000 projects. Focusing primarily on its expertise in digitization and innovation, the Zühlke Group has a clear message at HANNOVER MESSE 2019 - businesses need a multifaceted approach that extends far beyond technology alone. To get this message across on a practical level, Zühlke is showcasing numerous hands-on projects at its stand.

Fabrizio Ferrandina, CEO of the Zühlke Group, explains: "Digitization and innovation are often linked in with new technologies or methods, such as the Internet of Things." This, he believes, can be a little short-sighted: "Digitization and innovation only reach their full potential when products and services meet customers' actual requirements and can be scaled appropriately." That is why the Zühlke stand - designed by Artlife – is training the spotlight on the key to successful innovation – the fusion of expertise in technology, business and customer experience. “The projects are a great way of demonstrating the full range of our expertise in mechanical and plant engineering and beyond,” Ferrandina points out. The example projects are designed to also convey another message: “Digitization and innovation work best together as partners.”

Zühlke Engineering GmbH (65760 Eschborn, Germany), Hall 6, Stand D40
Contact: Steffen Spendel
Tel.: +49 6196 777 540
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Your guide through the MES jungle
Trovarit is inviting visitors to HANNOVER MESSE 2019 to explore efficient and reliable methods for designing, selecting, rolling out and optimizing Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES).

MES are becoming increasingly important for manufacturing companies. However, given how vast and nebulous the market is, they face a tough task when trying to find the right solution for their specific needs. This is where the Trovarit Competence Center MES aims to lend a hand with its expertise - and the tools of the IT Matchmaker. Businesses keen to find out more have the chance at HANNOVER MESSE 2019 to join one of Trovarit’s guided tours and explore what help is available for rolling out Industry 4.0 on the MES market. The latest incarnation of the MES-Marktspiegel (MES Market Mirror) has been designed to provide a clear overview of the market.

"Marktspiegel Business Software - MES/Production Control 2019/2020" is being unveiled at HANNOVER MESSE by the Trovarit Competence Center MES in cooperation with its longstanding partner the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA) and the Association of German Engineers (VDI). The Mirror examines the capabilities of the MES solutions currently available on the German market to provide a helpful overview for anyone interested in exploring or using an MES. It also rates the production management support that they offer and presents practical tips and assistance for undertaking an MES selection project.

Trovarit AG (52074 Aachen, Germany), Hall 7, Stand A25
Contact: Joachim Hermanns
Tel.: +49 241 40009-923
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They'll have you wrapped around their little finger!
Out to prove flexible displays aren't just for smartphones, the Leibniz Institute for New Materials (INM) is at HANNOVER MESSE 2019 to demonstrate additive printing processes for creating bendable touchscreens with enhanced material and cost efficiency.

Given that they either involve a string of process steps or large quantities of sometimes expensive raw materials, the standard processes for manufacturing flexible touchscreens are considered costly and laborious. Using photochemical metalization and printing (gravure printing, inkjet printing) of transparent conductive oxides (TCOs), the INM has therefore developed new processes that save a great deal of time and money. Visitors can discover the results for themselves at HANNOVER MESSE 2019.

"Most processes for conductor paths are subtractive. Metal is first applied over the entire surface and the excess metal is removed in further process steps," explains Peter W. de Oliveira, head of the InnovationCenter at the INM. "These classic processes, such as sputtering in a high vacuum and subsequent lithography, consume large amounts of silver. Our additive processes go the other way round, with conductor tracks being printed or deposited only where they are needed. Expensive high-vacuum technology isn’t required, which saves time and money," de Oliveira continues.

In another innovative printing process, the INM researchers use nanoparticle inks containing TCOs, such as indium tin oxide (ITO), for inkjet or gravure printing. "We use the TCOs to produce nanoparticles with special properties," says de Oliveira, adding: "The TCO ink is then produced by adding a solvent and a special binder. Not only does the binder ensure that the TCO nanoparticles adhere well to the film, it also increases the flexibility of the TCO coating - which ensures the conductivity is maintained when the films are bent. This makes it possible to produce highly flexible transparent conductor structures, for touch sensors or displays for example, in one simple printing process."

INM – Leibniz-Institut für Neue Materialien gGmbH (66123 Saarbrücken, Germany), Hall 5, Stand C54
Contact: Dr. Carola Jung
Tel.: +49 681 9300-506
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You can't miss it!
A gigantic hydraulic cylinder - which has been created to protect the east England town of Boston from North Sea flooding - is the unmissable highlight at the Hunger Hydraulik Group's stand at HANNOVER MESSE 2019.

As a global corporation specializing in the metal and capital goods industries, the Hunger Hydraulik Group is one of the world's leading suppliers of hydraulic solutions. Having accumulated more than 70 years of experience and impressive product, production and application know-how, Hunger skillfully combines hydraulic components to create bespoke modules and systems using state-of-the-art technology. As a result, customers receive end-to-end systems geared toward their specific needs that can satisfy stringent requirements even under tough conditions. For this year’s HANNOVER MESSE, the Hunger Group has chosen to show off something quite spectacular. Its gigantic hydraulic cylinder designed to act as a tidal barrier is sure to be an event highlight that make waves way beyond the Hunger Group’s stand.

Measuring twelve meters in length when retracted and weighing in at 44 metric tons, the cylinder on show is a real colossus with a diameter of 1.2 meters and pulling force of 950 metric tons, putting it in a class of its own. This gigantic structure was built for a tidal flood defense system in the port town of Boston located on the east coast of England. This project, dubbed the Boston Barrier, is designed to prevent North Sea tidal waves, which have caused the town to flood on multiple occasions, from reaching the city center via the local Haven and Witham rivers. The barrier comprises a 25-meter-wide gate that covers the entire width of the river and is entirely submerged when opened, meaning currents aren't obstructed and ships can pass with ease. The gate, which weighs an impressive 370 metric tons, is raised using two hydraulic cylinders manufactured by Hunger until the river is completely sealed off. Each hydraulic cylinder has a piston diameter of 860 millimeters and a piston rod diameter of 400 millimeters. Combined with a travel distance of 8,015 millimeters, this enables each of them to produce a maximum pulling power of 950 metric tons. The hydraulic cylinder on show in Hannover and its counterpart will be shipped to England and integrated into the tidal defense system in May this year. So the townspeople of Boston will soon be home and dry in preparation for the seasonal floods in the winter of 2019/20 and beyond.

Walter Hunger GmbH & Co. KG (97816 Lohr, Germany), Hall 21, Stand D16
Contact: Ingrid Hunger
Tel.: +49 9352 501-0
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Safe and secure
Bundesdruckerei has chosen HANNOVER MESSE 2019 to showcase its reliable data management and machine communication innovations - including its Bdrive to ensure simple and secure data exchange with external partners and genua solutions for secure digital infrastructures.

Bundesdruckerei and its subsidiary genua are seizing the perfect opportunity at HANNOVER MESSE to demonstrate convenient and reliable solutions for performing digital processes and state-of-the-art data exchange with internal and external partners. "As more and more companies are storing highly sensitive data in the cloud, it is absolutely essential to protect this data against unauthorized access," says Jochen Felsner, Head of Trusted Data Solutions at Bundesdruckerei. The company is also revealing its latest innovation in the field of document sharing. Designed to offer an even easier method for sharing data quickly, securely and fuss-free, Bundesdruckerei is demonstrating its Bdrive cloud solution in action at HANNOVER MESSE 2019.

Till now, companies and public authorities without a Bdrive account could only send their data to partners unilaterally via a Bdrive link. But now it's possible to send invitations to external recipients to allow them to upload and share as many documents as they like in the cloud via an intuitive drop pad. A Mobile version is planned for the future, too. "The update to our Bdrive solutions makes it easier and more secure for companies and public authorities to exchange sensitive data with external partners," says Felsner. Bdrive still encrypts, fragments and distributes the files across several storage providers, as usual. What’s more, this cutting-edge technology meets stringent data protection requirements by ensuring that only authorized persons are able to fully restore the data.

Meanwhile, Bundesdruckerei's subsidiary genua is focusing on secure digital infrastructures and exhibiting its remote machine and system maintenance solution with extended monitoring functions. Remote maintenance enables industrial companies to prevent downtimes and cut costs, while also allowing machine manufacturers to offer additional services. Extended monitoring records all maintenance actions by videoing the user interface and storing the recordings on a server. These special functions perfectly complement the numerous security features of genua’s remote maintenance solution, which is designed to prevent malware from penetrating sensitive production areas.

Bundesdruckerei GmbH (10969 Berlin, Germany), Hall 6, Stand F24
Contact: Marc Thylmann
Tel.: +49 30 2598 2810
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Making that all-important connection
The "futureLab" that LAPP is showcasing at HANNOVER MESSE 2019 is all about the future of connection technology, focusing on four key topics including predictive maintenance. LAPP's innovative solution in this complex field is just about to hit the market.

LAPP is one of the leading manufacturers of integrated solutions and branded products for cable and connection technology. Besides cables, however, the company's product portfolio covers everything from highly flexible lines, industrial connectors, glands, customer-specific cable assembly solutions and technical accessories right through to automation technology and robotic solutions for the smart factory of tomorrow. LAPP's core market is the mechanical and plant engineering sector, with other key fields including foodstuffs, energy and Mobility. At HANNOVER MESSE 2019, LAPP is examining what the future of connection technology will look like and providing some clever and sometimes even surprising answers in its "futureLab".

Specially revamped for this year's event, the "futureLab" offers visitors a sneak peek into the solutions currently in the pipeline at LAPP. "With the new 'futureLab', we aim to cement our position as a technology leader," says Guido Ege, Head of Technology and Development at LAPP, adding: "The four focal points of the 'futureLab' are at different stages of market maturity. Some are already available and ready for the market, while others are currently in the functional prototype phase." A key focus is predictive maintenance, which offers a promising solution for preventing costly outages. Looking into this area, the experts at LAPP are exploring how companies can monitor the condition of their data cables and showcasing an innovative solution that no longer requires any changes to be made to the cable. Instead, an electronic device constantly monitors the signals transmitted by the cable and analyses their quality. If this falls below a critical value, the device issues an early warning, allowing the cables to be replaced during scheduled maintenance works. The electronic components required can be built into devices such as switches, which should minimize additional costs. And if LAPP cables already happen to be in use, as the device is configured to their electrical properties, it can simply be retrofitted to existing plants and machinery.

U.I. Lapp GmbH (70565 Stuttgart, Germany), Hall 11, Stand C03
Contact: Markus Müller
Tel.: +49 711 7838-5170
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It's time to get snap happy!
Photoneo has chosen HANNOVER MESSE 2019 to unveil a very impressive trio of innovations. Besides its PhoXi 3D Scanner range and AnyPick bin picking solution, the Slovakian company is showcasing its MotionCam-3D for rapid motion scanning, which was crowned the winner of the 2018 VISION Award.

A specialist in state-of-the-art 3D vision systems for advanced automation, Photoneo is in Hannover to exhibit its versatile and user-friendly product portfolio. Sure to steal the show is the MotionCam-3D camera, which its Bratislava-based developers hail as the world’s highest resolution and most accurate area-based 3D camera for scanning in rapid motion. Indeed, it was exactly these outstanding properties that secured their brainchild the VISION Award 2018.

The MotionCam-3D is based on Photoneo's patented Parallel Structured Light technology, which is implemented using a custom CMOS image sensor. Designed to inspect objects moving as fast as 40 meters per second, the camera is ideal for applications such as autonomous delivery systems, object sorting and even safety systems. The company's PhoXi 3D Scanner range, which is also being showcased in Hannover for the first time, captures large frames with high resolution and incredible speed, while efficiently suppressing background light. Another cutting-edge development on show is AnyPick - an end-to-end bin picking solution for e-commerce, warehouse management, logistics, the food industry and metallurgy. AI-based detection algorithms are said to enable this innovative robot to pick mixed objects of different shapes and sizes, without the need for CAD models or any other input.

Tomas Kovacovsky, Photoneo’s CTO, is keen to demonstrate how his company can drive forward industry at HANNOVER MESSE 2019: "We are delighted to help tackle the industry's most demanding challenges with our solutions. Every day, we work to explore the boundaries of physics and make the most out of every single photon. The result of our efforts is our new 3D camera technology, which is opening up unprecedented opportunities in the field of 3D vision."

Photoneo, s.r.o. (82109 Bratislava, Slovakia), Hall 17, Stand G18, 3D machine vision for automation (main stand)
Contact: Andrea Pufflerová
Tel.: +421 948 766 528
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The outlook's looking good!
As a leading provider of IT solutions for manufacturing, MPDV is at HANNOVER MESSE 2019 to showcase a new application designed to predict product quality based on process data.

With over 40 years of hands-on experience, MPDV helps production companies as they strive to become smart factories. Thank to products such as the HYDRA manufacturing execution system (MES) and the manufacturing integration platform (MIP), MPDV helps companies make their production processes more efficient so they can stay one step ahead of the competition. According to MPDV, its smart software solutions are used every day by over 800,000 people in more than 1,250 production companies around the world. The company is at HANNOVER MESSE 2019 to showcase its latest solution, which uses executable models to make predictions.

MPDV works on the principle that the basic assumption when predicting quality is that wastage and reworking can still occur, even if all process parameters remain within the applicable tolerances. MPDV believes there are three steps to achieving predictive quality: (1) collect process data and correlate it with reliable quality data, (2) develop predictive models, and (3) execute the models and predict the quality based on real-time data. In addition to actually predicting quality (i.e. pass or fail), the system is also designed to determine the probability of each prediction. At HANNOVER MESSE 2019, MPDV is giving live demonstrations to show how this new predictive quality application works and the different ways it can be integrated into MES systems, such as HYDRA.

MPDV Mikrolab GmbH (74821 Mosbach, Germany), Hall 7, Stand A12
Contact: Nadja Neubig
Tel.: +49 6261 9209-0
Mobile: +49 172 605 45 18
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Swift, silent and fully certified!
FAST LTA is making its grand debut at this year's HANNOVER MESSE. The specialist in high-volume data storage products and solutions is showcasing cutting-edge data backup and archiving applications at a shared stand with its sales partner GID.

As a former firm fixture at CEBIT, FAST LTA is now making its first appearance at HANNOVER MESSE. The data backup specialist is using the world's leading industrial trade fair as an opportunity to train the spotlight on its innovative backup and archiving solutions. FAST LTA sees its main objective as helping SMEs with digitization. To achieve this, the company has developed the Silent Brick system - a storage system designed to meet all the requirements for secondary data storage.

FAST LTA's more than ten years of experience working on thousands of installations designed for compliant archiving has helped lay the foundation for its secure storage systems. Certified by KPMG, the company's solutions ensure compliance with legal archiving regulations, while also meeting the requirements regarding data integrity and the "right to be forgotten" set out in the EU General Data Protection Regulation. What’s more, by working in close collaboration with leading solution providers in the public and health care sectors as well as the document management and backup & recovery industries, the company promises to deliver smooth and straightforward integration. And as if that wasn't enough evidence of its collaborative credentials, FAST LTA has more than 100 certifications in the "approved solutions" program, too. In addition to traditional backups, the Silent Brick system on display in Hannover also allows for everything from permanent storage right through to compliant archiving with WORM sealing. Available in a variety of configurations with SSDs or hard drives, the Silent Brick storage container boasts offline capabilities, which means users can satisfy legal regulations and use the "air gap" method to protect data from unauthorized access.

FAST LTA AG (80686 Munich, Germany), Hall 6, Stand A54
Contact: Hannes Heckel
Tel.: +49 89 89047-850
Mobile: +49 172 8645 025 850
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Taking printing into the next dimension!
Researchers from the University of Kaiserslautern are at HANNOVER MESSE 2019 to demonstrate how plastic parts for lightweight construction can be produced using 3D printers.

As keen readers of the HANNOVER MESSE portal will no doubt have noticed - 3D printers are becoming more and more important. After all, they offer a speedy means of manufacturing products. A team of researchers from the University of Kaiserslautern (TUK) looked into the conditions needed to achieve the best possible results when printing plastics. The composition of the material also plays a role here, and so, when producing their fiber-reinforced plastic, they used fibers that are completely integrated into the plastic like a string. The researchers believe this method could, for example, be useful for lightweight construction in the automotive industry.

"Our goal is to be able to manufacture plastic products using 3D printing in such a way that produces ideal results for the intended use," says Miaozi Huang, PhD student at the Institute for Composite Engineering, who is being supervised by Professor Alois Schlarb in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering. When producing their fiber-reinforced plastics, the TUK team uses "continuous fibers", which are integrated into the plastic as a whole - similar to a string. In other processes, these fibers are not added in one piece, but are instead mixed in as individual microparticles. The plastics produced with continuous fibers have a clear advantage, as the PhD student explains: "The continuous fibers make the finished product much more stable and rigid."

University of Kaiserslautern (67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany), Hall 2, Stand B40, Rhineland-Palatinate Research and Innovation
Contact: Cornelia Blau
Tel.: +49 631 205-3204
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Cutting-edge – down to the very last fiber
The University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HAWK) in Göttingen is at HANNOVER MESSE 2019 to unveil a process that uses plasma treatment to make natural fibers more durable.

The new optimized plasma treatment process for natural fibers, developed under the leadership of Dr. Bernd Schieche and Martin Bellmann (M.Eng.), is designed to increase the service life of biohybrid fiber composites when exposed to fluctuating temperatures, humidity or UV radiation, for example. This new procedure is currently being developed as part of a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) project for the state of Lower Saxony, which is being run at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology at HAWK. The team of researchers is at HANNOVER MESSE 2019 to show that the materials they’ve developed are ideal for use in the automotive industry because, unlike plastics reinforced with carbon or glass fibers, their materials tend not to shatter when damaged, thus significantly increasing safety.

These biohybrid fiber composites, produced by combining natural fibers and conventional carbon fibers, are said to bring together the advantages of both fiber types in a way that best suits the intended purpose. However, until now, the inadequate durability of biohybrid fiber composites has made them unsuitable for use under critical climate conditions. Targeted plasma functionalization is set to change all that - by reportedly helping improve the properties of both the matrix polymers themselves and the fiber components, thus compensating for missing or inadequate material properties. According to HAWK, the aim of the current R&D project is to develop a cost-effective and environmentally friendly fabric and matrix treatment process that can be integrated into existing process chains and will significantly improve the material's service life and mechanical properties. By treating biohybrid fiber composites with plasma, the research team is looking to achieve a homogeneous fiber surface, which will help reduce or prevent air pockets and thereby dramatically lower the number of flaws that occur. It is anticipated this will ultimately have a significant impact on the materials' service life.

University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HAWK), Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology (37085 Göttingen, Germany), Hall 2, Stand A08, Innovative Lower Saxony
Contact: Dr. Bernd Schieche
Tel.: +49 551 3705-219
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