With all the squabbles over policy, territory, and debt payments, the
United Nations, despite its lofty goals, doesn't look much like a model for
international cooperation. But there is another model, and it has a more direct
and immediate impact on engineers. It's Germany's Hannover Fair.
Fifty years old this year, the Fair will run from April 14-19 in the former German city-state. Some 7,000 exhibitors from 60 countries will showcase their products and services to an expected 300,000 attendees. It takes about 26 buildings to house all the exhibits at the Fair. The technologies to be on display: materials, power transmission, motion control, electrical and electronics equipment, machine tools, and more.
It's the meeting place of choice for so many companies who want to do business outside their own borders. Design News will cover the show and have a booth, where we will distribute copies of Global Design News.
"At last year's Fair, we worked on business opportunities with other exhibitors, and showed others how they could better apply the computer to their automotive needs to be more productive," National Instrument's Tim Dehne recently told Design News editor Marne Turk.
Others say that the Fair facilitates meetings between engineers and business leaders from different cultures who would have a hard time getting together otherwise.
That was among the goals when the first Fair opened in August 1947 in post-war Germany. Conceived by the British, who occupied Hannover at the time, it took place in five empty factories where everything from heavy machinery to patented trouser buttons was on display. Many Germans referred to it as "the fish sandwich fair" in honor of the only food available there--and available only to those with a ration card.
Its history parallels the history of technology in the second half of the 20th century. The Fair heralded "high tech" before it was fashionable, withered a bit with the early-seventies oil crisis, and represents the vitality of international partnering and trading today.
You've heard of the "Global Village?" This is it. Happy birthday, Hannover.