Artificial Intelligence as a Catalyst for Industrial Competitiveness and Sustainability

The HANNOVER MESSE 2024 event underscores the transformative potential of AI in revolutionizing industrial processes, enhancing efficiency, and driving innovation. With AI applications ranging from voice-controlled robots to predictive maintenance systems, the fair highlights the necessity for industries to embrace AI technologies and upskill their workforce to leverage these advancements. The impending influence of generative AI on machine design and engineering roles further exemplifies AI’s role in industrial digitalization.

Hannover Messe Preview 2024 [Photo: Deutsche Messe]
Hannover Messe Preview 2024 [Photo: Deutsche Messe]
“Geopolitical tensions, climate change, stagnating growth, high prices for energy and a shortage of skilled workers mean that cost discipline and efficiency are currently the dominant themes in companies. At the same time, artificial intelligence is leading to profound changes in the worlds of work in industry. In addition, business leaders and trade associations are warning of a de-industrialization of Europe,” says Dr. Jochen Köckler, CEO of Deutsche Messe AG, describing the environment in which this year’s HANNOVER MESSE takes place.

“HANNOVER MESSE is more important than ever this year, because the economic environment has rarely been so volatile. In Hannover, technologies and solutions will be presented to enable industry to produce on a competitive and sustainable basis. The trade fair will be all about intelligent and carbon-neutral production, AI, hydrogen, and cross-sector energy solutions. For European companies in particular, HANNOVER MESSE will thus create a bulwark against the impending de-industrialization of Europe,” says Köckler. “Our exhibitors will show that competitive industrial production is possible in Europe. However, this will require a regulatory framework that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship.”

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The solution lies in the interplay of automation, digitalization and electrification, broad cross-industry and cross-border cooperation, and a clear political course. Köckler: “With the lead theme ‘Energizing a Sustainable Industry’, 4,000 exhibitors, high-caliber representatives from politics and industry, and with Norway as the partner country, HANNOVER MESSE 2024 is the ideal platform for this.”

More than 300 economic delegations are expected to attend the trade fair, first and foremost the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, who will open HANNOVER MESSE together with the Prime Minister of Norway, Jonas Gahr Støre. In addition, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the German Minister of Economics, Robert Habeck, will use the world’s leading trade fair for industry to exchange ideas with representatives of the industrial sector. “If Europe is to retain substantial and sustainable production and investment, then the amount of red tape must be urgently reduced, for example through faster planning and authorization procedures,” Köckler appeals.

“Visitors to HANNOVER MESSE are looking for guidance on how they can use automation, artificial intelligence, renewable energies or hydrogen in a meaningful way. This is precisely the expertise that the exhibitors at HANNOVER MESSE can provide,” says Köckler.

The exhibiting companies include global tech giants such as Accenture, AWS, Bosch, DELL Technologies, Google, Microsoft, SAP, ServiceNow, Schneider Electric and Siemens as well as SME technology leaders such as Beckhoff, GP Joule, ebm-papst, Ericsson, Festo, Turck, Harting, ifm, igus, LAPP, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, Rittal, Schunk, SEW-Eurodrive, Wago, WIBU and Ziehl-Abegg plus renowned research organizations such as the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and more than 300 industrial startups.

Artificial intelligence: the next level of industrial digitalization

For more than a decade now, HANNOVER MESSE has been the most important trade fair for the digitalization of industry. Artificial intelligence is now taking industrial digitalization to the next level by revolutionizing industry, making processes more efficient and adding value. By using AI, companies will be able to shorten development times while saving resources and energy.

“The speed at which AI solutions are finding their way into industry is breathtaking. Companies need to invest now and, above all, introduce their employees to the opportunities offered by AI, otherwise they will get left behind by the competition,” emphasizes Köckler. “AI is the key to competitiveness and sustainability in industry.”

Specific applications will be on show at HANNOVER MESSE: robots that can be controlled by voice, machines that automatically recognize defects; or systems that cut downtimes through predictive maintenance. Köckler: “In the near future, generative AI will be able to design machines. This will lead to fundamental changes in engineers’ job profiles – a subject that will also be discussed at HANNOVER MESSE.”

The Primacy of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Industrial Evolution

AI emerges as a central theme of HANNOVER MESSE 2024, heralded as the linchpin for industrial competitiveness and sustainability. The fair showcases AI’s transformative potential in streamlining processes, enhancing efficiency, and fostering innovation. From voice-controlled robots and automated defect recognition to predictive maintenance systems, AI’s applications are vast and varied, offering a glimpse into a future where generative AI could redefine engineering roles and the design of machinery. This underscores a pivotal shift towards AI-driven digitalization in industry, necessitating immediate and substantial investment in AI technologies and workforce upskilling to maintain competitive advantage.

Hydrogen: Fueling the Clean Energy Transition

Another critical focus is the role of hydrogen as a key energy carrier in the transition towards a carbon-neutral economy. Despite its potential, the pace of hydrogen’s integration into the energy mix is slow, hindered by regulatory, infrastructural, and economic challenges. HANNOVER MESSE 2024, hosting the largest congregation of hydrogen and fuel cell industry stakeholders, aims to catalyze the hydrogen economy by showcasing technological capabilities, facilitating policy-industry dialogues, and advocating for decisive political action to expedite hydrogen infrastructure development and deployment.

Renewable Energies and the Drive Towards Sustainability

The fair also emphasizes the significance of renewable energies in achieving sustainable industrial production. Through the exhibition of cross-sector energy solutions, HANNOVER MESSE illustrates the synergies between automation, digitalization, and electrification in powering a sustainable industrial future. The presence of Norway as the partner country, renowned for its advancements in renewable energy and digitalization, further highlights the global efforts towards the green industrial transition.

A Call for Regulatory Reform and International Cooperation

A recurring theme in the press release is the necessity for a supportive regulatory framework and international cooperation to foster innovation and sustainability in industry. The fair serves as a call to action for reducing bureaucratic hurdles, such as streamlining planning and authorization processes, to facilitate a more agile and responsive industrial sector. The inclusion of high-profile political and industry leaders underscores the event’s role as a critical forum for dialogue and decision-making, aimed at shaping policies that bolster industrial growth and sustainability.

HANNOVER MESSE 2024 as a Catalyst for Change

HANNOVER MESSE 2024 encapsulates the urgent need for industrial transformation in the face of environmental, economic, and geopolitical challenges. By centering on AI, hydrogen, and renewable energies, the event not only showcases the technological innovations driving industrial progress but also fosters a collaborative ecosystem of policymakers, industry leaders, and innovators. This collective endeavor is crucial for navigating the complexities of modern industrialization, ensuring Europe and the global community can achieve a competitive, sustainable, and prosperous industrial future.

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