U.S. Manufacturing at Hannover Messe 2016

Hannover Messe is one of the world’s most predominant, independent industrial events. In 2016, the U.S. will play a highly visible role as the event’s partner country.

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For several years now, I have been a frequent visitor to the annual Hannover Messe event in Hannover, Germany. The reason for my frequent visits to this event are two-fold: 1) it’s one of the largest, if not the largest, manufacturing and industrial automation related events in the world; and 2) with the demise of the large independent manufacturing and automation trade shows in North America, Hannover Messe is one of the key events I feel compelled to attend to stay on top of global industry technology trends.

The 2016 Hannover Messe event, in particular, is shaping up to be an event that holds significant potential for drawing more attendees from the U.S. than usual. The reason: The United States is the partner country for the 2016 event, which will be held April 25-29. Each year Hannover Messe partners with a different country to showcase that country’s industrial technology and overall manufacturing capabilities. This is the first time the United States has been Hannover Messe's partner country. Some 250 U.S. companies are expected to exhibit at the 2016 event. With the resurgence in U.S. manufacturing over the past decade, this year’s event is well timed to further boost the United States’ position in the global manufacturing market.

One of Hannover Messe’s many appeals for visitors, including myself, is the way the event combines five trade shows into one, via the Digital Factory, Energy, Industrial Automation, Industrial Supply, and Research and Technology pavilions. At such a large show, this division helps attendees map out a plan for which companies and exhibit areas to visit based on specific interests.

The two principal areas I tend to focus on are Industrial Automation and the Digital Factory.

Given Hannover Messe’s German location, Industry 4.0 is, of course, a major theme of the event—and many examples of its application are on display in the Industrial Automation pavilion. And with Industry 4.0’s numerous similarities to the Industrial Internet of the Things, there is much to be learned about the future direction of manufacturing at this event. Apparently, many other event attendees concur with this assessment, as this pavilion attracted nearly 125,000 visitors in 2014, according to Hannover Messe.

Much like the Industrial Automation pavilion with its Industry 4.0 focus, the Digital Factory pavilion also focuses on the factory of the future. The major differentiator here is that companies in this pavilion tend to focus more heavily on IT-related products and digital process integration.

If you have not visited Hannover Messe before, this year’s event with the U.S. as the partner country is a great reason for your first visit. And if you’ve been before, you know that there are few other events at which you can take in this broad a scope of industrial technology ideas. Plus, if you’re thinking of exhibiting at Hannover Messe, the U.S. Department of Commerce has been taking an active role in the planning of this year’s event to “ensure that any American company exhibiting at the 2016 Hannover Messe gains as much benefit as possible from the show.”

You can learn more about the particular products and sectors that fit into each pavilion from an exhibitor's point-of-view at export.gov/hannovermesse. If you are interested in visiting or exhibiting at Hannover Messe but have some questions, contact the U.S. Hannover Messe team directly at hannovermesse@trade.gov.

As usual, I’ll be at Hannover Messe again gathering information on the latest industrial automation developments. I hope to see you there!

UPDATE: Since this article was originally published, The White House has announced that President Barack Obama will join German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Hannover Messe. President Obama will appear at the fair’s official opening ceremony on Sunday, April 24, 2016, and is also scheduled for the traditional opening tour of the event with Chancellor Merkel the following morning, Monday, April 25.

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