Hannover Industrial Fair: a week of partnerships

This week, Krones is venturing onto relatively unfamiliar ground: at the Hannover Industrial Fair – the “global hotspot for Industry 4.02” – we’re mixing with digital- experts like SAP, Telekom or Amazon. Atypical for Krones? Yes. Out of place? Actually, no – for a variety of reasons.

For a start, the Hanover Fair is the world’s premier trade fair for the industrial sector – and thus more or less a home game for Krones. Moreover, digitalisation has long since been playing a meaningful role for classical machinery manufacturers like us as well, as a look at Krones’ latest innovations goes to show: the intelligent valve from Evoguard “talks” to the line operator, the Bottling on Demand concept study sets new standards in terms of flexibility and customisability, and our colleagues at the Krones subsidiary Syskron have signed up in full to the added value provided by digital solutions.

 

What’s more, Krones is not venturing alone onto new territory in Hanover, but at the side of can-do partners – namely together with those whom I mentioned as authentic experts in the field of Industry 4.0. And so in Hall 6 you will find Syskron and Amazon Web Services on a shared stand, while just a bit further on Telekom is demonstrating a typical application at Krones. In Hall 7, visitors will find Krones and SAP on a single stand – and experience live what a digitalised line in the beverage industry might actually look like.

This typical application can be found not only in the shape of Bottling on Demand, but throughout the entire SAP stand: it’s particularly striking how SAP guides visitors to the subject of a “digital twin”, before then the experts at the stand begin to advise them on the various specialisms involved. Using four gaming-style interactive animations, visitors like me can here create, improve and maintain their own production lines. At each of the four stations, there are two levels: one for basic comprehension of the task involved and one where everything gets a little more complicated.

First of all, I use various elements to set up my own beverage production operation, and then store my data in memory on a small white cube – the illustrated digital twin of my line that now exists. With this cube, I then proceed to the second of the four stations, to deal with my production logistics and to produce a valve. I’m assisted in this by driverless transport systems, which (fortunately for me) observe rights of way. And once again all data from my valve production operation are incorporated in the digital twin. This accompanies me to the next station: at Level 1 the correct product distribution still runs quite smoothly, and I have the logistics under control. Then it starts to get stressful, and I could do with some automated assistance in operating gates. The last of the stations is devoted to the maintenance of my kit: minor and major problems repeatedly crop up, which I can solve with the aid of suitable and timely action. Mission accomplished – with the aid of the digital twin my production process and I have successfully completed the first cycle. And almost in passing I’ve seen what the partnership between SAP and Krones can look like in practice for the client.