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AI: the key to a competitive and sustainable industry

AI: the key to a competitive and sustainable industry

Boosting competitiveness, protecting the climate, promoting prosperity – these are the major tasks facing industry today. Innovative technologies are the key to mastering these challenges. But how can companies make efficient use of automation, artificial intelligence, renewable energies, and hydrogen? And what steps can be taken to counteract the impending de-industrialization of Europe? HANNOVER MESSE 2024 will provide answers.

Hannover. “Geopolitical tensions, climate change, stagnating growth, high prices for energy and a shortage of skilled workers mean that cost discipline and efficiency are currently the dominant themes in companies. At the same time, artificial intelligence is leading to profound changes in the worlds of work in industry. In addition, business leaders and trade associations are warning of a de-industrialization of Europe,” says Dr. Jochen Köckler, CEO of Deutsche Messe AG, describing the environment in which this year’s HANNOVER MESSE takes place.

“HANNOVER MESSE is more important than ever this year, because the economic environment has rarely been so volatile. In Hannover, technologies and solutions will be presented to enable industry to produce on a competitive and sustainable basis. The trade fair will be all about intelligent and carbon-neutral production, AI, hydrogen, and cross-sector energy solutions. For European companies in particular, HANNOVER MESSE will thus create a bulwark against the impending de-industrialization of Europe,” says Köckler. “Our exhibitors will show that competitive industrial production is possible in Europe. However, this will require a regulatory framework that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship.”

The solution lies in the interplay of automation, digitalization and electrification, broad cross-industry and cross-border cooperation, and a clear political course. Köckler: “With the lead theme ‘Energizing a Sustainable Industry’, 4,000 exhibitors, high-caliber representatives from politics and industry, and with Norway as the partner country, HANNOVER MESSE 2024 is the ideal platform for this.”

More than 300 economic delegations are expected to attend the trade fair, first and foremost the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, who will open HANNOVER MESSE together with the Prime Minister of Norway, Jonas Gahr Støre. In addition, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the German Minister of Economics, Robert Habeck, will use the world’s leading trade fair for industry to exchange ideas with representatives of the industrial sector. “If Europe is to retain substantial and sustainable production and investment, then the amount of red tape must be urgently reduced, for example through faster planning and authorization procedures,” Köckler appeals.

“Visitors to HANNOVER MESSE are looking for guidance on how they can use automation, artificial intelligence, renewable energies or hydrogen in a meaningful way. This is precisely the expertise that the exhibitors at HANNOVER MESSE can provide,” says Köckler.

The exhibiting companies include global tech giants such as Accenture, AWS, Bosch, DELL Technologies, Google, Microsoft, SAP, ServiceNow, Schneider Electric and Siemens as well as SME technology leaders such as Beckhoff, GP Joule, ebm-papst, Ericsson, Festo, Turck, Harting, ifm, igus, LAPP, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, Rittal, Schunk, SEW-Eurodrive, Wago, WIBU and Ziehl-Abegg plus renowned research organizations such as the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and more than 300 industrial startups.

Artificial intelligence: the next level of industrial digitalization

For more than a decade now, HANNOVER MESSE has been the most important trade fair for the digitalization of industry. Artificial intelligence is now taking industrial digitalization to the next level by revolutionizing industry, making processes more efficient and adding value. By using AI, companies will be able to shorten development times while saving resources and energy.

“The speed at which AI solutions are finding their way into industry is breathtaking. Companies need to invest now and, above all, introduce their employees to the opportunities offered by AI, otherwise they will get left behind by the competition,” emphasizes Köckler. “AI is the key to competitiveness and sustainability in industry.”

Specific applications will be on show at HANNOVER MESSE: robots that can be controlled by voice, machines that automatically recognize defects; or systems that cut downtimes through predictive maintenance. Köckler: “In the near future, generative AI will be able to design machines. This will lead to fundamental changes in engineers’ job profiles – a subject that will also be discussed at HANNOVER MESSE.”

When will the hydrogen economy arrive?

With the increasing use of unpredictable renewable energy sources, hydrogen is increasingly coming to the fore as a suitable energy carrier for an emission-free economy. Around 500 exhibitors from the hydrogen and fuel cell industry will be showcasing their solutions in Hannover. This makes HANNOVER MESSE the world’s largest and most important trade fair for the topic of hydrogen.

Köckler: “Hydrogen offers enormous opportunities as the green energy carrier. However, the current pace of roll-out and scaling up is too slow.” Developing a hydrogen economy now requires bold political decisions to be taken in the regulatory area, intensive research and development for rapid implementation, and the development of the necessary infrastructure for scaling up. This is the only way that viable business models will be able to become established. “At HANNOVER MESSE, we will be demonstrating what is technologically feasible, and creating the framework for discussions between representatives of politics and industry, hopefully allowing decisions to be taken on a specific road map towards a functioning hydrogen economy,” says Köckler.

Partner Country Norway: a powerhouse for energy and digitalization

Norway is using the global stage offered by HANNOVER MESSE to present itself as an innovative and reliable energy partner, among other things. The motto of the partner country is “Norway 2024: Pioneering the Green Industrial Transition”. This underscores Norway’s ambition to play a key role in the development of solutions in the fields of renewable energies, carbon-neutral production, carbon capture and the digitalization of industry.

At the “North Sea Energy Hub” conference on 23 April, politicians and experts from Norway and Germany will discuss the transition in energy policy, with a focus on general political conditions as well as technological developments and applications. Köckler: “In Europe, Norway is a powerhouse for energy and digitalization. Which means it fits in perfectly with HANNOVER MESSE.”

European Union: strong economic alliance

Two months before the European elections, the European Union will be presenting itself as a strong economic alliance at HANNOVER MESSE. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, will get the program started with a speech at the opening ceremony on 21 April. The EU program during the trade fair includes the “Investing in European Industry” conference on 22 April, at which representatives of industry will be able to discuss with EU politicians topics such as the Green Deal.


HANNOVER MESSE is the world’s leading trade fair for industrial technology. Its lead theme “Energizing a Sustainable Industry” brings together exhibiting companies from mechanical and electrical engineering, the digital industry and the energy sector to present solutions for the future of manufacturing and energy supply. Leading topics include Industrie 4.0/Manufacturing-X, energy for industry, digitalization/artificial intelligence and machine learning, carbon-neutral production, and hydrogen and fuel cells. Conferences and forums complement the program. The next edition runs from 22 to 26 April 2024 in Hannover, Germany. Norway is Partner Country.