Hannover Messe 2024: Safe Cobots and Swift Containers

Robot in the laboratory

Beyond the major players that annually dominate the Hannover Messe’s thematic landscape, the early days of the international industrial fair in 2024 reveal numerous exciting developments among companies that less frequently find themselves in the spotlight. Among these are technology providers for secure collaborative robotics and software companies introducing container technology into manufacturing.

Nexcobot: Leading the Charge in Functional Safety Innovation

Nexcobot made a grand entrance to the Hannover Messe. The expert in developing open and modular systems for intelligent robots and motion control received a crucial functional safety certification from TÜV Rheinland (IEC 61508 and ISO 13849-1). The solution “Robasafe” was developed in an international project in collaboration with Fraunhofer IWU from Chemnitz and Intel.

Elevating Safety Standards in Manufacturing: Insights from Industry Leaders

“Due to increasingly diversified market demands, manufacturing has evolved from rapid mass production to customer-specific adaptations, autonomous machines, and human-robot collaboration. Particularly in scenarios where humans and machines are jointly involved in the production process, the safety requirements of intelligent manufacturing have significantly increased. With the functional safety certification of the SCB100 safety control platform, we can make collaboration between humans and robots safer and significantly improve production efficiency,” explains Jenny Shern, General Manager at Nexcobot. “Our company is committed to continuous product development in functional safety, offering companies safer and more reliable products, with which they can realize secure solutions such as Cobots and other systems. We look forward to collaborating with industry partners to establish an open ecosystem for functional safety.

Nikolai Ensslen, CEO and co-founder of Synapticon GmbH, also emphasizes the security aspect in connection with collaborative robotics. “While at the Hannover Messe, many exhibitors this year focus primarily on the keyword AI or artificial intelligence in capital letters, looking behind the scenes quickly reveals that many manufacturers are mainly working on making their robots and autonomous transport systems safer. The keyword here is ‘Functional Safety.’ Only when this can be implemented in practice can AI be used in robotics on a large scale. I would even go so far as to say that the requirements for functional safety will increase once robot manufacturers increasingly equip their products with AI.”

Containers Marching into the OT World

Containers were primarily a term known to IT (information technology) experts but are now gaining immense importance in the OT (operational technology) world. Software containers describe a technology with which companies can package and isolate software with their entire application environment—meaning all elements necessary for operation. This allows the respective software or application to be easily and fully functionally moved into individual environments.

People networking at the Hannover Messe conference

Photo Credits: #CampusOS Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI

Sebastian Scheele, CEO and Co-founder of the Hamburg-based IT company Kubermatic reports a rapid increase in inquiries about container technology from companies in the manufacturing industry and mechanical engineering. Kubermatic, together with Fraunhofer HHI, is exhibiting at the Hannover Messe to demonstrate the use of container technology for the operation of 5G campus networks.

“The topic of containers and Kubernetes has gained tremendous momentum in recent months and is now increasingly crossing over from classical IT into the OT sector. An example of this is Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). These will increasingly be made available by the respective manufacturers as containers. All companies that want to use such systems must adapt to this. Likewise, we see that data exchange with PLC systems will increasingly be done via containers, which brings many advantages. We expect much more attention to this topic in the coming months in an industry under tremendous pressure for efficiency.”

Sebastian Scheele
Co-founder and CEO at Kubermatic

Sebastian Scheele

Sebastian Scheele

Co-founder and CEO