Fluid power’s eyes will be on Germany this Spring


Keep watch on Europe this Spring, as fluid power luminaries will be focused on two big industry events being held there.

Europe has always been a manufacturing stronghold for fluid power, with many familiar company names originating from Germany, Italy and the U.K., and a strong reputation for R&D. The continent has had an excellent partnership between industry, government and universities that had been lacking in the U.S. prior to the CCEFP’s founding about a decade ago.

This Spring, two important events on the fluid power calendar hit Germany, a mere five weeks apart. From March 19-21, the 11th International Fluid Power Conference will be held at RTWH Aachen University, not far from Cologne. And from April 23-27, the annual Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial trade show, will be held in Hannover, a little more than 200 miles to the east. Following is a preview of both events.

11th IFK, Aachen
The International Fluid Power Conference (IFK) in Germany is held in even numbered years, alternating between Aachen and Dresden. This 11th iteration promises to be something special, as it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Institute for Fluid Power Drives and Controls (IFAS), the fluid power center at RWTH Aachen University, the conference host. Additionally, longtime IFAS director Prof. Hubertus Murrenhoff will be retiring, and his successor, Prof. Katharina Schmitz, will be introduced.

Plenary lectures will cover a range of topics. Dr. Steffen Haack, SVP of Industrial Hydraulics for Bosch Rexroth in Lohr, Germany will be discussing whether industrial hydraulics is really on track with regards to Industry 4.0. Dr. Shimpei Miyakawa from the Japan Fluid Power Association in Tokyo will talk about his three decades of research into water hydraulics applications, which started with a stay at RWTH University. He’ll also discuss the launch of the ADS (Aqua Drive System: New Water Hydraulics), which uses tap water (additive free) as a working fluid. The technology development is suitable for markets such as healthcare/medicine, semiconductors, packaging, and food/beverage.

Other planned plenary lectures are:

Digitization in Pneumatics for Increasing Automation Efficiency
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Post, VP Applied Research, Festo AG, Esslingen, Germany
Recent developments in automation technology including pneumatics have to be evaluated in the context of Industry 4.0. Four main areas of activities need to be covered when discussing Industry 4.0: Horizontal integration, vertical integration, lifecycle management/engineering and people. In all of these fields, modern pneumatic developments are offering solutions, which will be addressed in this presentation.

Building the World’s Most Dynamic Humanoid Robot
Aaron Saunders, VP Engineering, Boston Dynamics, Waltham, Mass.
A key to high performance mobile robotics is maximizing strength to weight. Powerful, low-inertia limbs with high bandwidth actuation enable robots to take on elements of dynamic balance that make them move more like people and animals. Atlas, weighing in at 80 kg and standing 1.5-m tall, is the latest in a line of advanced battery powered humanoid robots being developed at Boston Dynamics to push progress in these key areas. This talk will cover recent developments on the Atlas program along with lessons learned and some of the obstacles we face in building advanced robots. We will show how the combination of Direct Metal Manufacturing, or 3D printing, and advances in human scale hydraulic actuation have let us create a compact robot with high strength-to-weight ratio. These designs along with advances in whole-body balance, give Atlas the ability to manipulate objects in its environment, travel on rough terrain, and perform dynamic tasks approaching what an average person can do.

Breakout sessions will cover a wide variety of areas, including: mobile hydraulics, energy management, systems, components, the design process, tribology, fluids, pneumatics, industrial hydraulics, and applications.

The conference will also include an exhibition, where companies dealing with instrumentation, controls or simulation tools have the opportunity to display and demonstrate their novel products and developments. There will be a full spouse/guest program, as well, and plenty of opportunities for networking. Registration for the 11th IFK is at ifk2018.com.


Hannover Messe
Hannover Messe (or Hannover Fair, as many Americans tend to call it) claims to be the world’s largest industrial trade show, and if you know someone who’s ever attended the massive event, you probably won’t hear them argue against that claim. Fluid power and power transmission technologies have historically been relegated to shows held in odd-numbered years. But after the 2017 event, show organizers announced a change in that thinking. Starting in 2018, fluid power and power transmission would be focuses every year, music to the ears of many manufacturers.

According to officials at Deutsche Messe, the show’s organizer, IoT and Industry 4.0 are increasingly blurring the lines between the various sectors of industry, while innovation cycles continue to get shorter. These are trends that manufacturers around the world cannot afford to ignore and, as a result, the Hannover Fair is adapting to this new reality.

So, this April, the Fair’s annual Industrial Automation (IA) fair will merge with the biennial Motion, Drive & Automation (MDA) event. The new, combined flagship tradeshow will be called Integrated Automation, Motion & Drives (IAMD) and will feature a full range of industrial automation, power transmission and fluid-power components and systems.

“From a technology standpoint, the Industrial Automation and MDA shows have been converging for a number of years,” said Deutsche Messe Managing Board member Jochen Köckler. “This merger reflects the reality of today’s market environment, which increasingly favors cross-sector and cross-platform solutions as well as digitally integrated products. It also further bolsters Hannover Messe’s position as the world’s number-one Industry 4.0 tradeshow.”

That’s because it will showcase a complete range of IoT offerings: everything from smart components to cloud-based data management, not just the individual building blocks, he said.

The merger was driven by requests from leading companies and major industry associations. Power-transmission and fluid-power systems play a key role in machine performance, said Christian Kienzle, chairman of the Fluid Power Association within VDMA (the German Engineering Federation) and CEO of the Argo-Hytos Group.

“With digitalization, these systems have now also become important data sources. Two years are an eternity in the age of digitalization. That’s why it’s important that we have the opportunity to put our latest solutions in front of customers without undue delay,” Kienzle said. “With digitalization, these systems have now also become important data sources. Two years are an eternity in the age of digitalization. That’s why it’s important that we have the opportunity to put our latest solutions in front of customers without undue delay.”

“The automation industry’s sensor, control and networking products and systems are the ‘enablers’ of the fourth industrial revolution. And by bringing them together with electronic and mechanical drive systems under the Integrated Automation, Motion & Drives umbrella, Deutsche Messe has created a flagship fair that covers the entire factory shop floor and shows how it can be integrated into the Industry 4.0 environment,” said Gunther Kegel, the head of German industry association ZVEI’s measurement technology and process automation division and Managing Director of Pepperl + Fuchs.

The new IAMD show will comprise everything from pneumatic and hydraulic components to bearings, gears, motors, linear technology and sealing systems. It will also include robotics, industrial IT, and production and automation systems.

“We do expect the new IAMD to increase business prospects for exhibitors because the annual cycle better suits their innovation/product development cycles,” said Hannover Messe spokesman Brock McCormack.

Another advantage for IAMD exhibitors and visitors will be the show’s co-location with the CeMAT, which features mobile machines such as truck-mounted cranes, forklift trucks and driverless transport systems—a key target market for power transmission and fluid-power technology.

Deutsche Messe plans to roll out the IAMD brand to key markets around the globe. This will open up further opportunities for companies wishing to export to emerging and fast-growing economies with an enhanced need for automation, such as China. Deutsche Messe also organizes IA/MDA events at IMTS in cooperation with AMT in the U.S. and has similar events in Canada, China and Turkey.

Each year, the fair selects an overarching theme. This year’s theme is “Integrated Industry” and there promises to be a continued focus on Industry 4.0—Hannover Messe officials insist the world prefers their spelling of “Industrie 4.0” and that the term has become synonymous with “made in Germany.” Integrated energy is another core focus, and there will be six parallel show areas, as in the past: Industrial Automation, Motion & Drives, Digital Factory, Energy, Industrial Supply and Research & Technology.

Mexico is set to shine as this year’s official Partner Country of the fair.

“With an EBT of $1.3 trillion, Mexico ranks as the second economy within Latin America. In 2017, our economic growth was 2.2% and the estimation for 2018 is 2.4%. This number is considerably higher than the average growth of Latin America,” said S. E. Rogelio Granguillhome, Ambassador of the United Mexican States, Berlin.

Granguillhome proudly noted that his country was the first-ever Spanish speaking nation honored as Partner Country. And with a $1.3 trillion GDP, Mexico is aggressively looking for new trading partners.

Robotics will also be in the mix at Hannover Messe, of course. With advances in machine learning, robots are increasingly able to make autonomous decisions. And with the rise of so-called soft robotics, pneumatics may play a larger and larger role in robotics in the future.

“Hannover Messe is the place to go to experience the rapid rise of Industry 4.0 and its benefits first-hand,” said Köckler. “The world’s leading manufacturers of automation technology, big-name robotics providers and global IT and software corporations will all be there, making the show an absolute global hotspot for Industry 4.0.”




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