My first trip to Hannover Messe took place back in 2013 where 6,550 exhibitors took part in the show from 62+ nations. Roughly 225,000 attendees visited the show that year, a testament to the global reach and draw for industrial automation and drive technology.
Deutsche Messe is reporting 4,000 exhibitors in 2023 and 130,000+ attendees searching for the latest developments in electrification, sustainability, and digital solutions. While one might wonder if the show will ever reach pre-pandemic levels again, it was obvious there’s still a very focused global manufacturing network looking to solve climate, energy, and automation challenges in the coming years.
Individual Gearbox Solutions
Flender displayed the Flender One during Hannover Messe, a market response to the fact that most industrial gearboxes are oversized by 50 percent in the field.
“Flender One is not a series product, although it is manufactured in exactly the same way,” said Andreas Evertz, CEO of the Flender Group. “Customers and gearbox manufacturers did not want to take a risk and bought large designs. With Flender One, we no longer need this oversizing.”
Engineers developed the world's narrowest gear ratio range with 103 stages between 1 and 7.1 per size for applications that require particularly precise speed, such as pumps and paper machines. This allows the rotational speed to be set almost ideally for maximum efficiency in these applications. The deviation between the desired speed and the available technical solution is at the utmost of 1.5 percent. This gives customers the optimum speed for their plant.
Like its predecessor, Flender One will be available in all required sizes and attachments for the industry. This means it can be used in all applications and can replace an existing predecessor gearbox one-to-one and in plug & play without any modifications.
In the future, further expansion stages will make it possible to configure gearboxes tailored to the respective application and the associated requirements.
This is made possible by a real milestone in drive manufacturing: the complete digitization of the engineering process. It triggers the design precisely according to customer requirements and translates it into a fully automated manufacturing and delivery process.
“Efficiency is above all. Each gearbox is designed to meet individual requirements. The customer gets exactly what he needs - no less and especially no more,” said Rouven Daniel, president, industrial gears at Flender.
The result is massive savings in raw materials, energy consumption, delivery times and installation space. Any waste is eliminated, which benefits the environment and the costs.
Integrated Sensor Technology
R+W found it challenging in the past to collect data since rotating drive lines are so difficult to access with wiring and instrumentation. The Intelligent Coupling System serves as a wireless data source using on-board sensor technology to measure torque, speed, and acceleration in addition to special options for axial force and bending movement.
Scott Wojitas, technical inside sales, R+W America, noted that there was a huge interest in this monitoring technology during the show. Customers are continually searching for performance, wear, and durability data to avoid expensive failures and plant downtime.
Applications include pump packages, extruders, gearmotors, industrial transmissions, test stands, machine tools and more.
Hannover Messe is the perfect opportunity to look at new and upcoming technologies that could potentially change the face of the industry. Bosch Rexroth’s Hermes Award winner, the Smart Flex Effector is one example.
The Smart Flex Effector is designed for use on robots such as articulated robots or Cartesian linear systems and is based on a kinematic system with six degrees of freedom. Via Sensitive Touch, sensors detect the exact position of the workpieces to be gripped and report the actual position in real time to the controller, which adapts the gripper's motion sequence to the specific position.
At the 14th Innovation World Cup, Dryad Networks (Eberswalde, Germany) took the top prize for a sensor-based product that offers early detection for wildfires and promotes forest health and growth monitoring.
Additional highlights included Feelit technologies (Israel) that created a non-intrusive predictive maintenance solution using nano stickers on valves and pipes to calculate leakage. Sensemore (Istanbul, Turkey) provides a machine health platform that catches gradual faults in their earliest stages.
Finally, MantiSpectra (Eindhoven, Netherlands) won the Hermes Startup Award for a fully integrated near-infrared sensor. The sensor enables rapid, highly accurate analysis and is used directly on the production line, from where it delivers real-time data. This makes it possible for defects to be detected as soon as they occur and for savings to be made through immediate quality control on the spot, on the production line. The product is already in use in industry, agriculture, and food processing.
Growing Interest in IoT Technology
Big players like ABB, Festo, Siemens, Bosch Rexroth, Beckhoff Automation and Mitsubishi Electric are all-in on digital transformation and the utilization of the 5G Industrial Network. According to Siemens, in just a few short years many companies will have the ability to network their plants and factories completely wirelessly, creating more efficient, autonomous, and flexible production systems.
Today, it’s time for small to medium-sized companies in the drives, motion, and automation space to consider planning a roadmap to track production in real-time and utilize new mobile communication standards. Currently, more than 13,500 private networks will be available by 2026. The IoT market featured 13.2 billion connections in 2022 and this will increase to more than 30+ billion by 2027. The time is now to consider investing in mobile trackers, smart sensors, controllers, and new gateway devices for industrial communication, according to the 5G-ACIA – 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation.
Fun fact: The IoT and Industry 4.0 hall was, by far, the busiest area during the trade show.
Lighter, More Flexible Gear Units
Digital data models and the latest calculation methods lay the foundations for a further improvement in the performance of Generation X.e. SEW-Eurodrive continuously factors the findings of field/test stand trials and simulations into its own calculations, thereby improving their accuracy and reliability.
The mechanical and thermal design of the X.e series was once again precisely evaluated on this basis. In conjunction with the component optimizations already implemented in the past, this results in even higher thermal limit ratings, a much longer bearing service life, and higher nominal torques. Moreover, larger application angles are now permissible with the maximum overhung load.
One potential result of these optimizations for users is a smaller gear unit size. Besides reducing the oil volume, energy consumption and total cost of ownership (TCO), this also means these users' own designs are lighter and take up less space. Particularly in the case of drives that are subject to high loads, mechanical safety – and thus the potential for preventing damage – is also further improved. What's more, a lower oil-bath temperature and a higher bearing service life mean less frequent maintenance during operation.
With 23 finely graduated sizes, Generation X.e helical and bevel-helical gear units cover a torque range of 7,2 to 500 kNm. The comprehensive modular range, together with the large number of pre-defined accessories and options, delivers optimum flexibility for adapting to the application in question. System manufacturers and operators alike will find that Generation X.e offers the ideal solution for any requirement.
All possibilities and crossover influences were analyzed during the mechanical and thermal design process. This has resulted in a gear unit size saving, improved safety, and enhanced efficiency and sustainability.