Industry 4.0 – that is, the intelligent networking of industrial processes using self-steering
products - remains the Hannover Messe’s main focus. The fourth industrial revolution has
long since left the planning phase behind.
Siegfried Russwurm - Siemens CEO Industry Sector
“The digital world and the real world are coming together. All the products you can see
here exist as a digital model – optimization happens in the digital realm, flexibility happens
in the digital realm, it only becomes reality on the production line. This component here
behind us can make completely different car models on just one production line.”
But it all wouldn’t be possible without energy, and increasingly in Germany, that energy is
coming from renewable sources.
Uwe Krengel - Fraunhofer- Institute IWES
“Here’s an animation that shows you a vision of the future where all energy is renewable.“
Energy security is underpinned by a host of large and small energy sources. Network
stability could be guaranteed by using combined cycle power stations. Also part of industry
Uwe Krengel - Fraunhofer- Institute IWES
“In a combined cycle power station, several energy producers in a particular region come
together in a joint control centre and use forecasting systems which are able to precisely
predict the volume of energy that can be produced by wind, solar and biogas plants. If you
can do that reliably, you can also predict how much additional energy will be needed, you
can predict the required storage capacity, and you can guarantee network stability.“
It doesn’t come for free of course – but according to a Fraunhofer study, Germany’s
energy revolution will pay off.
Uwe Krengel – Fraunhofer-Institute IWES
“Of course renewable energy is initially expensive, and has to be funded. But running
costs are much lower than fossil-fuel power stations, which have to cope with the
fluctuating price of fuel. And over time those costs just disappear.“
In just 15 to 20 years, the savings made could add up to more than is being spent on new
plants. Of course, a lot of the ideas being played with at the Hannover Messe are far from
becoming reality. But overall, industry 4.0 and the energy revolution are far more than just
fine sounding words.