Hanover Fair 2008: The Fair

I’m finally able to sit down and blog about this year’s Hanover Fair (starting on the train from Hanover to Frankfurt).  The sitting part feels really, really good after four very full days at the fair plus evening meetings.  Over the next several posts, I’ll tell you (and show you) what I saw.  I’ll start with a little about the fair itself.  In upcoming posts I’ll fill you in on the PI press conference, some details of what was in the PI booth, new products discovered, and my general impression of the fair.  I might even offer an opinion or two about the fair and the news emanating there from.

Hanover Fair (officially Hannover Messe) runs for five days, April 21 – 25.  It encompasses multiple shows including Industrial Automation.  The fairgrounds has 27 halls and the industrial automation show filled 9 of them.

Our booth consisted of a display area of 330 square meters (3,500 sq ft) plus a theater presentation area of 120 m2 (1,300 sq ft) and the Automation Lounge of 90 m2 (1,000 sq ft).  The theater and lounge were shared with the Interbus Club.  [Wait a minute, you’re thinking – doesn’t Interbus compete with PROFIBUS?  Yes, but the Interbus folks decided to not create their own Industrial Ethernet version of Interbus, but to adopt PROFINET as their Industrial Ethernet implementation instead. So, now we’re friends.]  Oh, and if you’re wondering what an Automation Lounge is, I blogged about that from last year’s show.


Overlooking the Booth

In the display area


Presentation in progress

Our display area featured a PROFIBUS wall, an IO-link wall, a TCI wall, a PROFIsafe wall, and a PROFINET performance wall.  The floor space was filled with displays from member companies.  Sixty nine members participated in the show.  In the presentation area was a large PROFINET wall.  This wall featured 109 products from 19 companies.

Hanover Fair may be held in Germany, but it is very much an international show.  More than 30% of the visitors are international visitors, mostly from the Americas.  This is in contrast to the three-day November SPS/IPC/Drives Show in Nuremberg which draws a primarily German and European crowd.  I was able to visit with quite a few US-based PTO members during the week.  And as a pleasant surprise I ran into s few friends from my Wonder years.  How international is the show?  I even visited the booth of Akron, Ohio, home of my alma mater.

My general impression was that the fair was not quite as well attended as last year.  (Of course I only visited 3 of the halls, so we’ll wait for the final numbers from the show organizer.)  This year though, PROFINET was absolutely pervasive.  Even companies that you associate with other protocols showed comprehensive PROFINET offerings.  Secondarily, IO-Link has matured into a widely-adopted standard with products and tools in many booths, especially the sensor makers.

Next time: the big news from the show.