The German view of the Hannover Fair 2014?

It does appear that the German organizers of the Hannover Fair 2014 and the German editors attending their press conference in advance of the event early in April have not quite understood the basic idea of hosting the “World’s leading trade fair” and thereby encouraging the overseas visitors to attend, and adopt German ideas into their factories. At least the press conference presentations, and then the questions, were dubbed into English for overseas on-line viewers: I have to admit to relying on the accuracy of this translation, which may explain some of the more extreme statements!

Dr Jochen Köckler, a Board member of Deutsche Messe, the organizers, gave the main presentation. The theme of the event this year is “Integrated Industry – Next Steps”, which shows the progress from last year’s motto, “Integrated Industry”. Dr Köckler was positive about the prospects for the coming year, with energy resources and re-industrialization progressing in all economies. He characterized the USA as benefiting from fracking, giving cheaper energy, and the possible result being re-shoring of production, with advanced manufacturing, making a very important market. China has moved into nuclear technology, and with the current increases in wages is seeking automation and high-tech opportunities – China was the Deutsche Messe partner in 2012. In Germany, there has been an energy turnaround, moving to a combination of renewables and conventional power sources. This is in line with the EU Commission requirement for 27% of power being from renewables by 2030. The Association of German Engineering Companies predict a growth in their output of +3% by value in the current year, after a very difficult time in the last two years. This is not necessarily the same as seen by the automation companies, regularly reported on by the INSIDER.

The four main exhibition areas in the 2014 show, which is forecast to exceed the 4872 stands seen at the 2013 show, will be Industrial Automation and IT; Energy and Environmental Technology; Industrial Supply; and Research & Technology. An entire Hall, #17, will be devoted to robots and the automated factory.

Partnered with the Netherlands

The Netherlands are the chosen partner country for the Hannover Fair this year, and so Monique van Daalen, the Ambassador from the Netherlands to Germany, explained that they represent the most important trade partner to Germany, in both directions. The Netherlands has many niche industry specialist suppliers used by German factories, and is a prime source of innovation in energy technology, such as renewable wind power. Van Daalen also reminded us that The Netherlands invented the microscope in the 16th Century. This year there would be 200 Dutch stands attending, compared to 120 last year: but there is certain to be a lot more orange evident in the banners at this year’s event.

Industry 4.0 and the SmartFactory

Prof Detlef Zühlke of the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence, and also Chairman of the Executive board of the SmartFactory KLeV, to be on display in Hall 8 at the Hannover Fair, explained that his project started some time ago (quoted as in 2005), but that as with any other major development, market pull was needed to get the idea implemented in practice. He explained the background thinking to “Industry 4.0”, which was interesting, in the way it was expressed:

Industry 1.0 was the harnessing of steam power in 1783

Industry 2.0 was the conveyor belt, as introduced by Henry Ford in 1913

Industry 3.0 was electric automation dating from 1954

Industry 4.0 is IT and the Internet of Things [presumably dated sometime between 2005 and 2014!]

Prof Zühlke also explained the time development profile of new technologies, looking like a tidal wave, the sharp rise at the leading edge being the rise to the ‘peak of inflated expectations’, and the trough behind that peak being the ‘trough of disillusionment’. At the moment the Industry 4.0 is on the steep slope up to the peak of inflated expectations. One aspect of the technology that he identified as a major priority for current work was the topic of ‘location awareness of mobile devices’, but there was no comment about any such topics known as to be shown at the 2014 Fair.

Questions from the German Editors

The first question seemed fairly pointed: it asked why Dr Köckler had even bothered to mention nuclear energy, when the German people and the Government had decided to drop all nuclear activity. He responded that ‘the industry needs to offer the technology to the people who wanted to still be involved with it’, that the German ‘policy does not stop us showing this technology’ [at the Fair]. A pragmatic business approach that seems not to have been appreciated by the press.

In the second question the editor asked why Dr Köckler had not mentioned 3D printers, when last year the show made a feature of them. The response was that they were still there, still would be on show. Full stop.

Then another German Editor asked about the interest level in Industry 4.0. The response was that Germany invented Industry 4.0, so “we should implement it!” The follow up sentence explained that the threat was that the USA was waking up, with the implication that if Germany did not implement the ideas then the USA would do it first. This rumbled on with a comment that obviously implied the UK was not a threat in terms of moving forward with these ideas, because “The UK is closed-down”. So obviously the opinion would seem to be that there is not much point in attracting UK visitors to the Hannover Fair!

Finally a sensible question came from an Intech Editor, asking about cyber security with Industry 4.0. Prof Zühlke said this was a very important question, and there is a need for answers: ‘We have to create trust’.

Before that trust there needs to be confidence in our colleagues across the industry…. But the Hannover Fair is one of the world’s leading trade fairs, still.

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Measurement of particle size in drilling muds

A new application note from Malvern Instruments explores the role of particle size and the importance of particle size measurement in optimizing the formulation of drilling muds used in oil extraction processes.

The particle size of drilling mud components exerts a significant influence on the performance of the final drilling mud product. Rapid, reliable measurement and control of particle size is especially important when tailoring drilling mud formulations for individual geological situations and drilling operations. This new publication focuses on the use of laser diffraction particle sizing for this application, exploring the steps involved and providing examples of typical data generated. Delivering specialist information and advice, this application note adds to Malvern’s extensive range of expert resources and is downloadable from the company website.

Malvern’s highly robust Mastersizer 3000 system is widely used in drilling mud analysis. With a dynamic range spanning 0.01 to 3500 microns and exceptional sample dispersion capabilities, the Mastersizer 3000 delivers precise, particle size measurements for both water- and oil- based muds. Its small footprint compared with previous Mastersizer models enables its use in many different environments.

Powerful Mastersizer software provides automatic data quality checks that guide the user towards good measurements, particularly important in routine QC where rapid, robust measurement is essential and where the system may be used by multiple operators. The software includes support for method transfer from other particle sizing instruments, whether older Malvern systems or those from other manufacturers, and Malvern specialists will provide comprehensive applications support to limit the need for any specification changes.

In a recent extension to the Mastersizer family, Malvern has added the new Mastersizer 3000E, an entry level laser diffraction particle sizing system. It has a measurement range of 0.1 to 1000 microns and is offered with semi-automated wet dispersion units. The performance of the Mastersizer 3000E can be extended over time, with add-on software packages providing users with access to automated dispersion units and the advanced analysis and method development support capabilities of the Mastersizer 3000.

New deal with RheoSense over low viscosity measurement

Malvern Instruments has announced an exclusive global distribution agreement with RheoSense, Inc. (San Ramon, CA, USA) to promote, market, sell and support the VROC product range into industrial applications. The agreement enables Malvern to add the mVROCi, microfluidic Viscometer/Rheometer On a Chip, to its existing portfolio of rotational and capillary rheometers, extending the company’s offering to industrial customers across the globe. Delivering accurate, robust, fully enclosed viscosity measurement, at high shear rates, the m-VROCi addresses an established need to measure low viscosity fluids under process relevant conditions. The results have proven application for the characterization and enhancement of inkjet inks, coatings, rechargeable batteries, lubricants, chemical and food additives, and drink formulations.

Steve Carrington, Product Manager for Malvern Instruments. “The m-VROCi is highly complementary to the existing Malvern rheological portfolio, extending robust, fully enclosed (no solvent loss) flow curve measurement into areas that simply aren’t accessible with alternative rheological instrumentation.” The m-VROCi is a hybrid microfluidic and MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical-system) sensor-based instrument. It determines viscosity by controlling sample volume flow rate and measuring changes in pressure as the sample passes along a microfluidic scale flow channel with embedded MEMS pressure sensors.

India’s Engine of Innovation

This is actually a press release from Trelleborg (seals), but it gives an interesting view of India and background to Nirmalya Kumar, Professor of Marketing at the London Business School.

As India strives to become the next big innovation hub, it faces challenges ranging from bewildering regulations to educational shortcomings and inadequate infrastructure. But the country’s indomitable entrepreneurial spirit may well overcome the hurdles.

“The thought that there are not enough people in India may sound strange for a country whose population is more than 1 billion,” Nirmalya Kumar says. “But when you are doing R&D and product development work, you need scientists, you need engineers, you need Ph.D.s – and in India these people are in a very small group. The country has been unable to ramp up its educational infrastructure so as to get enough of them in the pipeline.”
Kumar, originally from Calcutta, is a professor of marketing at the London Business School, the author of six books and an internationally known authority on doing business in India. He sees both strengths and weaknesses in India’s efforts to become a global innovation hub.
India has succeeded brilliantly in the past 20 years in breaking up operations that formerly had to be done in the same place, he says. Indians figured out how parts of tasks could be done in India, taking advantage of low costs and high expertise, and then reintegrated. For example, he says, “You may need to cook your hamburger in New York, but your table reservation can be made through India, and your bill processed in Bengaluru.”
When it comes to innovation, India is taking advantage of a similar partition of labor. “In the old days,” he says, “global innovation always took place in the developed world, where the company headquarters were located, such as in the U.K., the U.S. or Europe. Today, global companies typically divide the development of a major project into distinct pieces. One part might be given to China to develop, another part to India. For the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the technology for landing in zero visibility was designed in India.”
This approach has been a boon for India, where innovation centers in the past typically focused on creating products for the Indian market. These days, India boasts 750 R&D and innovation centers where designers and engineers are working on global projects. “That’s a big change,” Kumar says.
Historically, India has displayed great energy for commercial ventures, despite many roadblocks. “India has always been a highly entrepreneurial nation,” Kumar says. “Indians are naturally inclined to start businesses.”
Under the British Raj, however, Indians faced oppressive restrictions on owning their own businesses. While independence in 1947 lifted some of them, India was left with such a rigidly controlled economy that many of its entrepreneurs chose to go abroad. Eventually, Kumar says, “practically every motel in the U.S. and every little mom-and-pop store in the U.K. was owned by Indians.”
Today, while India has seen a remarkable economic rise, many hurdles remain before it can become a top world center for innovation. For one thing, Kumar says, “there are too many regulations. In some states, it can take as long as 180 days to register a company. That’s unacceptable.” Other challenges include poverty, educational deficits, and infrastructure shortages.
Kumar spent his childhood in Calcutta free from the distractions of TV and telephone. “I was a voracious reader,” he says. “I read anything that came into the house, including the paper wrappers that the vegetables came in.”
When he was 15, he picked up his father’s copy of Philip Kotler’s classic textbook Marketing Management. “I loved this book, and from that moment on, I wanted to do something in marketing.” Ultimately, Kumar moved to the U.S. for a decade, writing his Ph.D. with Kotler himself at Northwestern University in Chicago. “It was a dream come true for me.”
Kumar has gone on to write three books on marketing and two on doing business in India. His newly published sixth book, Brand Breakout: How Emerging Market Brands Will Go Global, combines both of his main themes. “Why is it that all the brands we know come from the developed world?” he asks. “My book shows eight different pathways that emerging market brands can follow to take their brands global.”
What makes Kumar tick? “I have very clear objectives, and I’m driven to achieve them,” he explains. In this, perhaps he serves as a role model for India itself.

Trelleborg in India
Trelleborg has manufacturing facilities in Bengaluru. These facilities manufacture a broad range of Trelleborg’s products and solutions based on polymer technology, such as precision seals for aircrafts, off highway equipment, trucks, passenger cars, as well as for industrial applications. They also develop, manufacture and supply industrial antivibration systems with a focus on rail and molded components for a variety of industry segments. In Ahmedabad, Trelleborg has a center of excellence for engineering and design focusing on marine fender operations. Trelleborg provides a complete cradle to grave service within this area. The center makes a positive contribution to the future renewal and build of harbors in India and across the world. In addition, there are several sales offices to effectively cultivate the local market.