Here's some random impressions after two days at the Hannover Fair in Germany where 6,000 companies from 70 companies are exhibiting a range of industrial technologies and products.
– Role reversal: The weather has been better here than in U.S. and especially the Northeast. It's been in seventies and sunny in Germany since Sunday. A bit cooler today, but still quite pleasant.
– The German love for machine tools and industrial technoloigies is very evident. Lamenated one American ball bearing maker. "We just don't have a machine tool industry, anymore. It just went away." Stay tuned for my fascinating podcast with Dirak founder Dieter Ramsauer, a genius in developing fastening systems for enclosures. He embodies the German love for designing in metal and bending it for useful purposes.
– Industrial Ethernet is everywhere in the control space and American companies were not excluded from the party. Indeed, Rockwell and Woodhead to name a couple were here in force.
– No attendance figures have been released yet, but should be shortly. Day two was much busier than day one and many exhibit hall ailses were crowded. The robotics exhibits were eye castching and Kuka robots - often with the looks of a dinosaur and the touch of a human - dominated (Kuka is a leader in Europe). They showed their range. One demo has a robot deftly moving a box from within a box and putting it back again as well as other movement involving 360 degree rotations. Another was a large auto manufacturing as an Audi car body moved down the line.
– The Hannover Fair is gigantic and many of the 27 exhibition halls are, in a word, huge. The feet get mighty tired, but the German ability to handle the unflux of people is quite amazing. Food is everywhere — cookie plates and coffee bars in booths are standard.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.