2019 Hannover Messe Wrap Up - The Growing Realization of Industry 4.0 & Digitalization

  • April 30, 2019
  • Feature
2019 Hannover Messe  Wrap Up -  The Growing Realization of Industry 4.0 & Digitalization
2019 Hannover Messe Wrap Up - The Growing Realization of Industry 4.0 & Digitalization

By Bill Lydon, Contributing Editor, Automation.com

Surrounded by a bustling fair, all illuminating the theme of ‘Integrated Industry - Industrial Intelligence’, the excitement and energy overflowed at the 2019 Hannover Messe (Fair). With 6,500 exhibitors from 75 countries and 215,000 attendees from 95 nations, the event featured Sweden as the partner country and hosted over 80 forums and conferences which highlighted a host of new digitalization trends and technologies. As I roamed the busy halls of this year’s event, I gleaned several insights to share in our annual wrap-up of the Hannover Messe show.

Hannover Fair Grounds includes 29 halls & pavilions,  466,100 square meters of covered indoor space, 58,000 square meters of open-air space.


2019 Hannover Messe Sees Industry 4.0 & Digitalization Continue to Blossom

My macro takeaways & impressions from the 2019 Hannover Messe were dominated by Industry 4.0 and Digitalization.  

Once just a concept that drove excitement, I am seeing Industry 4.0 & Digitalization becoming more practical and tangible before my eyes, with a large volume of innovative new products for users to drive value while achieving greater manufacturing and production efficiencies. This year’s event found a number of organizations which are focused on providing standards and information to assist the modernization and digital transformation of manufacturers.


Open Industry 4.0 Alliance:

Some of the biggest news to come out of Hannover Messe 2019 was the announcement of The Open Industry 4.0 Alliance, a collaboration with the goal of overcoming proprietary solutions. The charter of the newly formed Open Industry 4.0 Alliance is to create customer value through holistic interoperable Industry 4.0 solutions and services in a common framework powered by an alliance of industry partners to drive the digitization of the factory, plant & warehouse.  Founders and members endorse an open ecosystem and commit to using an Open Industry 4.0 Alliance Framework to achieve interoperability that provides attractive opportunities for companies of all sizes.  A major end goal is to have machines in a given smart factory to speak the same language.


5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation (5G-ACIA)  

The 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation (5G-ACIA) is a global forum for addressing, discussing, and evaluating technical, regulatory, and business aspects of 5G for industrial applications.  Prominent throughout Hannover Messe 2019, the dominant objective of 5G-ACIA is to ensure the best possible applicability of 5G technology for connected industries, in particular the manufacturing and process industries. 5G-ACIA works to ensure that the interests and particular aspects of the industrial domain are adequately considered in 5G standardization and regulation.  It encompasses the entire ecosystem, including: all relevant stakeholder groups from:

  • OT (operational technology) such as industrial automation, machine builders or end users
  • ICT (information and communication technology) such as chip manufacturers, network infrastructure providers or mobile network operators
  • Academia (such as universities or research institutes) and other relevant groups (such as authorities or associations).

Hannover Messe 2019 featured the latest 5G developments, products and solutions for the industry at a 5G Arena testbed in Hall 16.


RAMI 4.0 - Reference Architectural Model for Industrie 4.0

The RAMI 4.0, Reference Architecture Model Industrie 4.0 (better known in the US as Industry 4.0), was developed by the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (ZVEI) to support Industry 4.0 initiatives, which are gaining broad acceptance throughout the world. Industry 4.0 is a holistic view of manufacturing enterprises, started in Germany, with many worldwide cooperative efforts including China, Japan, and India. Industry 4.0 concepts, structure, and methods are being adopted worldwide to modernize manufacturing.

RAMI 4.0, Reference Architecture Model Industrie 4.0 (Industry 4.0)

Administrative Shell for Industry 4.0

One of ZVEI's message at Hannover Messe 2019 defined the organization's Administrative Shell efforts, with the goal to provide a standard semantic digital representation of all information (and services) about physical manufacturing components.  The Administrative Shell is a standardized digital representation of the asset to insure interoperability between the applications managing the manufacturing systems. It holds digital models of various aspects and describes technical functionality exposed by the Administrative Shell.  An example of the Administrative Shell has a machine which is completely described semantically, so applications and other machines can be informed about its capabilities and other attributes.

More detail:


OPC Foundation

The OPC Foundation launched the 1st World Interoperability Conference at Hannover Fair 2019 with 353 registered attendees.  The official hosts of the event were Hannover Messe, OPC Foundation, VDMA, FieldCommGroup.  This event was considered very successful and the OPC Foundation plans to replicate the event in other regions including North America and Asia. 

The OPC Foundation vision is to provide technology standards to achieve secure, reliable vendor, platform, and domain agnostic interoperability from sensor to enterprise and beyond with OPC UA (IEC62541).

Also at this year’s fair, the OPC Foundation announced industry veteran Peter Lutz as the new Director of the organization’s Field Level Communications initiative.  Lutz will coordinate the established and working initiative Field Level communications including TSN.  The goal of this initiative is to deliver an open, cohesive approach to implement OPC UA including TSN and associated application profiles. This initiative will work to advance the OPC Foundation’s effort to provide vendor independent end-to-end interoperability in field level devices across all relevant industry automation use-cases. Thus, the OPC Foundation will work to advance their vision of becoming the worldwide industrial interoperability standard by integrating field devices and the shop floor.

Stefan Hoppe, President and Executive Director of the OPC Foundation welcomes Peter Lutz as Director Field Level Communications initiative. 

Finally, the OPC Foundation announced that The Open Group Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF) based its new O-PAS standard on OPC UA. The OPAF goal is to standardize fully federated process automation systems can be built using open and interoperable reference architectures.



Yet another organization bringing innovation to Hannover Messe 2019 was ODVA, which released its first round of specification enhancements to its technologies for 2019. These included specific enhancements to The EtherNet/IP Specification, with key updates to the CIP Security technology.

The goal of these cybersecurity enhancements to EtherNet/IP is to extend a defense-in-depth architecture to network communications with and between ICS systems – and with and between ICS systems and edge devices. ODVA’s realization of this goal will be the enhancement of the potential defensive capability of ICS systems and devices which use EtherNet/IP through the production of cybersecurity mechanisms that are native to EtherNet/IP and the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP). The initial CIP Security specification was published in 2015, which is intended to provide vendors the ability to improve the security of EtherNet/IP-connected devices by adding support for device authentication, data integrity, and data confidentiality.


Edge Intelligence is Everywhere - Control Embedded in Sensors & End Devices

One trend that was evident throughout the week was that a whole new wave of devices and sensors, which had been passive in the past, now have embedded PLC & other control functions as well as industrial networking capabilities.  Along with this trend, many devices are also adding OPC-UA and MQTT to communicate directly from the factory floor to the enterprise and the cloud, including embedded code for Amazon Web Services and Azure. Some devices even include embedded analytics to improve performance and predictive maintenance. This additional functionality has been made possible through powerful single-chip solutions which have been embedded in motors, motor controls, pneumatic valves, position sensors, valves, pumps, sensors, motor control centers, video cameras, and a host of other devices.  Essentially any end device has become a candidate for embedding this technology.   Manufacturing examples have seen PLCs and programming logic embedded in end devices by companies such as Turck, SICK, Parker, Aventics, Endress+Hauser and FESTO.

This trend will continue to diminish the functionality and requirement to have interposing PLC and DCS controllers.


An Influx of Traditional & New Wave Suppliers

Microsoft Booth Featured Customer & Partner Demonstrations

Since the Industry 4.0 topic was first explored at Hannover Messe 2011, there has been an influx of new wave exhibitors and presenters who are reflecting the transition to digitalization. Many are applying more powerful new technologies and are improving manufacturing efficiency, profitability, and competitiveness as a result.  Hannover Messe 2019 continued to see the traditional industrial suppliers exhibit and show off new products. Yet we see a growing change reflect more and more each year, as the increasing large size and high technology content of exhibitor stands of high profile companies including Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, IBM, Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei, Dassault Systèmes, CISCO, and PTC continues to impact the industry. Further, a range of new high-tech companies, either upstarts or crossing over from computer/IoT applications, are expanding their business to bring value to manufacturing, yet another indicator of the change. 8 years later, Hannover Messe 2019 saw the promised value of Industry 4.0 becoming even more tangible.

Amazon Web Services & Partners Exhibit & Demonstrations

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