Interview Germany: EMO Hannover as one of the leading fairs

Author / Editor: Ahlam Rais, Associate Editor / Franziska Breunig

The brain behind the celebrated EMO Hannover trade fair, Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, Executive Director of VDW shares his views on the numerous business opportunities in store for the exhibitors.

Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, Executive Director of VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association), Frankfurt am Main.
Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, Executive Director of VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association), Frankfurt am Main.
(Source: VDW)

The theme for EMO Hannover 2017 is ‘Connecting systems for intelligent production’. What is the significance of this theme?

Dr. Wilfried Schäfer: Digitisation and networking in production operations are the mega-topics nowadays. Experts are confident that Industry 4.0 will revolutionise industrial production and the world of industrial workplaces, or at least change it radically. In a holistically networked production line, the production operation is rendered more flexible with optimised procedural options, so that even rush orders in small batch sizes can be handled.

Complete networking of the entire production line, with real-time communication and control, creates the greatest added value for companies when all production steps are included, from receipt of an order to final delivery. Inside the value added chain, moreover, it’s imperative to network with not only the component suppliers, but also the logistical partners and customers concerned, so as to achieve maximised productivity, flexibility and efficiency.

It’s these aspects that are addressed by the EMO’s motto of ‘Connecting systems for intelligent production’. We anticipate that about 2,000 EMO exhibitors will be premiering numerous new solutions designed to generate maximised customer benefits from digitisation and networking.

Against the background of the ‘Make in India’ campaign, how do you view the participation of Indian companies at the mega-show? Has the number of Indian participants increased?

Indian manufacturers of machine tools have always been very active at the EMO Hannover event. We are particularly gratified to note that 33 Indian exhibitors have registered for the 2017 event.

At the previous event in 2013, there were only 25 firms. Manifestly, more Indian manufacturers are now internationally active, and seizing the opportunity to show the flag on the global machine tool market at the EMO Hannover exhibition. In terms of visitors, too, Indians are well represented. With more than 1,300 trade visitors, India in 2013 provided the third-largest visitor group from Asia.

What are the numerous attractions that visitors can expect at this year’s event?

The EMO Hannover, as the world’s premier trade fair for the metalworking sector, is traditionally the innovation forum for the machine tool industry. We know from our own analyses that around half the exhibitors unveil their innovations for the first time at an EMO event, and that numerous technical innovations began their triumphal progress there.

This is also reflected in the supporting programme for EMO Hannover 2017, which features a veritable cornucopia of different topics. In a variety of different formats, like conferences, special shows, symposia or seminars, the subjects discussed will include Industry 4.0, additive manufacturing, production for tomorrow, machine safety or aircraft production.

The fair will also focus on attractive markets for the international machine tool industry, specifically in half-day events on India and the USA. Finally, youth recruitment, particularly in regard to new requirements for staff qualifications entailed by digitisation and networking, is a recurrent theme at EMO Hannover.