Hannover Fair MLC Report, March 31, 2019 — The Hannover Fair, the world’s largest industrial exhibition, opened last night in Germany as political and industrial leaders, including a delegation of Manufacturing Leadership Council members, gathered in the Hannover Congress Centrum to kick off five days of technology demonstrations and conference sessions devoted to making industrial systems more intelligent, including using artificial intelligence.

This year’s Hannover Fair, organized under the theme of Integrated Industry-Industrial Intelligence, has 6,500 exhibits from 75 countries and is expected to attract more than 200,000 visitors. A delegation of more than 20 MLC members, including representatives from Merck, Protolabs, Praxair, Air Liquide, Raymond Corp., MxD (formerly the DMDII), Dotson Iron Castings, and Sargento Foods, attended the opening ceremonies (see photo above). In addition, Jay Timmons, the president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, the parent of the MLC, and Linda Dempsey, vice president of international economic affairs at the NAM, joined the MLC delegation.

German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and Stefan Lofven, the Prime Minister of Sweden, the Fair’s partner country for 2019, spoke at the opening ceremonies. Lofven called for an ethical approach to the use of AI and for greater efforts on sustainability. He also pushed back against nationalistic trends.

“The globalization of the economy can be of benefit to all of our citizens – when it is not based on the lowest wages,” Lofven said.

Merkel said Germany remains a champion of open markets and she called for both lower tariffs and review of the rules of global competition. She also said that countries need to develop rules for competition in the digital world or what she called the “platform economy.”

The German Chancellor also emphasized the Fair’s special focus this year on 5G networks and raised the question of what security requirements should attend the higher speed network.

A highlight of the evening was the announcement of the annual Hermes Award, an innovation prize presented by an independent panel of judges. The 2019 award went to Gernsheim, Germany-based Nanowired, for its new KlettWelding Tape product, which uses two specially-treated components coated with Velcro-like layers of metal wires, that can be pressed together at room temperature to interlock and form a stable and electrically and thermally conductive connection, potentially replacing traditional soldering and bonding techniques.

Tomorrow, the MLC delegation will tour the SmartFactory exhibit, hosted by MLC Board of Governors member Dr. Detlef Zuhlke; the Industrial Internet Consortium; and Siemens, Bosch, and ABB booths at the Fair.

Executive Editor Paul Tate contributed to this article.