Hannover Messe 2023 clearly demonstrated that our present times have no shortage of challenges that need to be tackled in order to secure the future of Germany as an industrial location. The topics of sustainability and digitalization, supply chains and energy supply were a driving force for the 130,000 visitors and over 4,000 exhibitors from April 17th to 21st. However, the world's leading trade fair for industry proved one thing above all else: there are solutions. Therefore, at the closing press conference, Chairman of the Managing Board Deutsche Messe AG, Dr. Jochen Köckler, emphasized the spirit of optimism that was palpable at the trade fair.
The Manufacturing-X initiative promotes the setting up of a data room that will network small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular across industries, increasing their competitiveness and innovative strength. In the future, Henrik A. Schunk, Chairman of the Board of Directors of SCHUNK SE & Co. KG, will play an active role in this. At this year's Hannover Messe, he took over the chairmanship of the steering committee of the Industrie 4.0 platform for the next two years. What makes this new European data space special is that, unlike previous platforms, it is being set up by many companies with both a consolidated and grassroots approach. as Henrik A. Schunk explained at the Hannover Messe . Here, participating companies will be able to share their data across the entire manufacturing and supply chain without losing control over their data. Start-ups, SMEs and corporations can draw equally from this shared data pool to avoid supply chain shortages or reduce energy consumption in production, for example. The overarching goal: a resilient, sustainable and competitive industrial environment.
The question of what contribution digital ecosystems can make to resilience and sustainability was also addressed by leading minds from industry, politics and business at the Leaders' Dialogue at the trade fair. Henrik A. Schunk showed the way to developing the data ecosystem in the panel "Connecting industrial value-chains for competitiveness and sustainability". He explained, "Manufacturing-X is a change project. We need a cultural change and a new pioneering spirit. There must be a willingness on the part of the company's management and a commitment to actively sharing data beyond the company's own four walls. Only then can value-added digital services and data ecosystems truly emerge."
This pioneering spirit was in evidence at the Industry 4.0 platform booth at Hannover Messe 2023, where Henrik A. Schunk and Dr. Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, took the opportunity to exchange views on milestones in the future project in digitalization. Together with Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Federal Minister of Education and Research, Habeck is moderating the Industry 4.0 platform. He emphasized the crucial role of Manufacturing-X: "Industry is facing the mammoth task of digital and sustainable transformation in times that are challenging across the globe. Manufacturing-X is a key project that we want to advance together with our international partners over the next several years. We need cooperation and commitment from business, science and politics to exploit the opportunities of digitization quickly and jointly."