Group of entrepreneurs watches a presentation at Hannover Messe
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'School trip' Hannover Messe: valuable day

Some came for electrotechnical innovations, others wanted above all to be inspired, a third signed up for the mutual connection. They all learned a lot, the participants in the organized trip of NOM, EDIH NN, SIH and Top Dutch to the Hannover Messe.

Ten thousand steps were counted on the participants' smart watches afterwards. Ten thousand steps to gain lots of inspiration, accumulate tons of knowledge, and simply be amazed. The Hannover Messe showcases the latest in industrial technology on an incredible surface.

,,For me, what matters is where there is a gap commercially. Industry 4.0 you cannot buy, you will have to gather the parts yourself. I am here mainly to know what promises the industry makes and what I can promise my customers.'' Frank van Sleen is manager of business development and sales at Demcon. He just put on his headphones to begin a four-hour tour of the immense trade show.

Pure inspiration was the main reason for most group trip participants (from business, education and government) to take the bus to Hanover. And inspiration they got in abundance. ,,This is where it happens. This is where you see what awaits us in the short term,'' says Chris Postma. He is co-owner of secondment of technical personnel Part Techniek in Grou.

Autodesk with dot on one

Postma also visited the previous edition of the Messe (because of corona four years ago). ,,Compared to then, there is now a much greater practical applicability of the innovations. It all already works and is for sale. I am particularly interested in the ever-increasing role of data. Where is it going?''

As highlights of the fair, participants unanimously named a few innovations. Generative Design from the German company Autodesk (known for Autocad) is right at the top of the list. Sophisticated software, equipped with clever algorithms, reverses the process of product engineering. Simply put: you enter into the program what dimensions you're looking for, what strengths in what places, what specifications, and the tool, in seconds, engineers several products that meet all your requirements. All you have to do is choose.

''That has a lot of future, it seems to me,'' says director of Cooperation North Wijnand Aalderink. He is in Hanover together with honorary chairman Fred Hassert. ''Everything revolves around technology at this fair, but also in the industry. There are all these plugs and we are more of the needs behind them. Cooperation North connects organizations and people who work strategically with IT. There are all kinds of challenges for them, also because of the technology that is developing so rapidly. That's why this fair is interesting to me.''

Valuable ideas

Financial director of De Vries Stairs Jan Middel also sees a lot in Generative Design. ,,Stairs are now designed from A to Z by our specialists. They are very good, but such a tool could save them a lot of time. I made a bill of developments at the fair that I want to investigate further. There are more of them than I had thought beforehand.''

Ralph Steenbergen likes to think big. The multi-entrepreneur, opportunity-seeker and real estate expert sees many valuable ideas at the fair. Or rather: opportunities to grow valuable ideas into projects. ,,An example? STW (German technology giant) showed trolleys that work together and can perform various tasks. Up to and including jointly setting up and maintaining complete production lines. Such modular factories would fit well, for example on the land of Groningen.

,,Perhaps eventually you will have halls, or converted existing buildings, in which production sites run almost entirely autonomously. Those are modular, so they can switch quickly if the market demands it. That is an opportunity for the North, where there is more space. And so there are many more great things to think of based on technology and the smart use of data. Next time I'm going to the fair for two days to get even more good ideas.''