automatica 2016 (June 21 to 24) exceeded all expectations: around 45,000 visitors (+30 percent) and 839 exhibitors from 47 countries (+16 percent). One-third of the visitors came from foreign countries. Managing Director Falk Senger: “automatica has reached a new dimension. It showed the future of production with deep insights into the possibilities of digitalization, human-robot collaboration and professional service robotics.”
Patrick Schwarzkopf, Managing Director of VDMA Robotik + Automation: “automatica 2016 has broken all records. In particular, the number of international visitors has increased enormously. The increase was significantly above 50 percent!”
Automation and robotics make Industry 4.0 possible in the first place. Tremendous energy could be felt at the trade fair thanks to the topic. Dr. Norbert Stein, Chairperson of VDMA Robotics + Automation and Managing Partner of VITRONIC GmbH, explained: “The quality of visitors at automatica increased once again, and they were able to meet top-rate technology experts at the booths. The high level on both sides is unique.”
Automation and IT are going to join forces in the future. IT2Industry provides a unique platform for this. Ilse Aigner, Bavarian State Minister for Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology, got an impression of the situation during a visit to the trade fair and said: “We want to be a leading supplier and leading market for Industry 4.0. To this end, an international marketplace is critical to ascertain the current state of developments and establish international contacts at regular intervals. Consequently, I very much welcome the fact that Messe München provides the platform IT2Industry at automatica and makes digitalization a focal topic with it. As a result, AUTOMATICA has great importance for the establishment of Germany as the leading Industry 4.0 nation.”
Service robotics recorded a big increase at automatica and provided a fascinating insight into the everyday life of tomorrow: the care car in a hospital or the inventory robot for department stores, service robots as driverless transport systems or assistants for people. Andra Keay, Managing Director at Silicon Valley Robotics, is impressed: “automatica is a wonderful gathering of professionals from the field of robotics. I was very surprised by the great efforts in the area of service robotics and start-ups.”
automatica is becoming the market place for start-ups. Newcomers from around the world exhibited on the START-UP World area. Falk Senger is convinced: “The exchange between start-ups and established companies is a trend-setting development. Messe München supports and promotes this valuable communication platform.”
Peter Guse, Managing Director at Robert Bosch Start-up GmbH, confirmed: “The mixture between major robotics companies, small firms and the start-ups—that makes the trade fair so exciting. I clearly consider automatica to be the leading trade fair for automation in Europe.”
Interest from China was never so great. The number of visitors and exhibitors has more than tripled. The Chinese automation boom is becoming increasingly noticeable at automatica. A total of 13 delegations came just from China. Song Xiaogang, General Secretary of the China Robotics Industry Alliance (CRIA): “automatica is absolutely one of the leading trade fairs for Automation and Robotics, which gives a very strong impression to the Chinese visitors and exhibitors. Through communication and exchange, CRIA delegation believe, there is a bright future of Sino-German cooperation in automation and robotics.”
New production methods—new work processes: Work 4.0 is a main topic at AUTOMATICA. Man and machine will work together in the team in the future. People are the focus with their emotional intelligence, and robots assist them. Dr. Horst Neumann, longtime Group Head of Human Resources at Volkswagen AG and founder of the Institute for the History and Future of Work, explained: “Work in factories is becoming increasingly more demanding. As a result, workers need to become more qualified. We need to work on this. A trade fair such as automatica can open people’s eyes in this process and thus make a contribution.”
Full halls and a great atmosphere: 96 percent of the exhibitors and 98 percent of visitors evaluate the trade fair as excellent, very good or good. Sixty-eight percent of visitors believe that the trade fair will increase in importance in the future. Eighty percent of exhibitors plan to come back.
automatica is covering the needs of new target groups with the new event format “Makeathon”. More than 140 participants, most of them students working in teams from the fields of computer science, robotics and mechatronics, developed functional hardware prototypes within 24 hours. The prototypes ranged from an automated shoe for senior citizens to a complete digital factory as a production line and all the way to the production of power bars that are adapted to the individual needs of consumers, e.g., weight or activity level.
The next automatica will take place In Munich from June 19 to 22, 2018.