HPE takes on the role of digital enabler at Hannover Messe

At this year's fair, HPE's focus is on enabling industrial companies to leverage new ideas and technologies to compete, grow, and prosper. Check out the demonstrations of manufacturing equipment, sensors, and other components and how cutting-edge IT and operational technology can create new opportunities.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has long been a fixture at Hannover Messe, the sprawling global trade fair held each spring in Hannover, Germany. At this year's fair, the tech giant will be focused on enabling industrial companies to leverage new ideas and new technologies to compete, grow, and prosper in the coming decades. In addition to demonstrating manufacturing equipment, sensors, and other components connected to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the HPE booth in Hall 8 will provide a forum for attendees to determine how cutting-edge IT and operational technology (OT) can create new opportunities for their companies.

"Everything that can be digitized will be digitized in the future," says Matthias Roese, domain executive for Global Industry Manufacturing & Distribution at HPE. However, there is uncertainty about how to proceed. "Lots of customers believe they need digitization," says Roese. "But they don't know where to start."

To that end, HPE's presence at Hannover Messe 2017 will go beyond standard product demonstrations. HPE has positioned itself as "your digital enabler," helping all kinds of companies enable business cases that support innovation, high-tech product development, streamlined industrial processes and supply chains, and increased efficiency. In addition, there will be a strong partner presence at the HPE booth, including GE Digital, PTC, ABB Robotics, and The Unbelievable Machine Company.

Discuss your ideas! Get one-on-one time with a HPE IIoT expert at Hannover Messe

HPE's R&D strengths and decades-long presence in global IT, its growing IIoT business, and its tight partnerships with vendors in manufacturing, energy, and transportation make HPE a natural choice for industrial companies seeking insights and product solutions. Roese notes, "As one of our customers said, we are the ideal company to work with them because we know the operational technology side and have enough understanding of manufacturing."

According to Roese, some 80 percent of visitors to the booth have business line and operational responsibilities, including engineers and executives with responsibility for purchasing. They can be further segmented according to their outlook on IIoT and other new technologies, he explains. While one customer group may come to the booth seeking solutions to specific problems, there is a large contingent of "futurists" who are aware of potential opportunities but are not sure how digitization can be leveraged. This contingent might include product managers and executives thinking about new markets and innovation at their companies.

"We can work with them to generate ideas and from there develop business cases," Roese says. "If we can help a customer identify a business case, then it is possible for us to help realize it."

HPE Workshop Series

Roese says product demonstrations will be helpful in terms of illustrating the possibilities. But just as important is an optional workshop series to help attendees develop new ideas they can bring back to their companies. The goal of the three-in-a-row workshop series is to help industrial firms think big about the future and identify specific opportunities to leverage new technologies.

The series starts with the Ideation Workshop. This workshop begins in the Transformation Gate, a long tunnel where visitors are prompted to "Imagine if you can ...." This is a space to ideate around future possibilities via visual inspiration, discussions with peers, and tools to quickly capture thoughts for further consideration.

The next workshop covers the Business Model Canvas, a tool designed to help visitors drill down to the most promising ideas and develop business cases around them. The canvas, developed by Alexander Osterwalder, is frequently leveraged by tech startups to think through internal capabilities, external partnerships, competitive forces and other factors. For workshop participants at Hannover Messe, the sessions will be facilitated by HPE's own experts.

After completing the canvas exercise, attendees will be able to take their best ideas and consider potential design and technology approaches in HPE's Transformation Workshop. This is where product demonstrations, exhibits, and other booth displays—including several by HPE partners--can help further the discussion.

"It's about finding the right technology, even if it's not from HPE," Roese says. "We really want to help the customer find what he or she needs."

The HPE booth includes four showcases grouped around development, prototyping & design, production, and maintenance & services. There are additional demonstrations of product solutions developed by HPE and its partners. Here is a brief overview of what will be on display:

Development

Next-generation engineering and analytics are front and center in this area of the booth. There will be a mock factory infrastructure based on the same data model that company engineers might use. As many industrial environments have third-party engineers visiting on site with limited access, even that scenario has been built into the simulation.

HPE partner PTC will demonstrate a CAD application to attendees, highlighting next-generation design and engineering capabilities. There will also be demos of high-performance computing applications.

Prototyping & Design

The focus here is on DevOps, Docker, and container technologies for rapid software development, to make design decisions easier and to help companies make better use of equipment and other resources.

Unbelievable Machine, a Berlin-based service provider specializing in cloud and big data applications, will demonstrate its deep learning engine. The demo will gather data from virtual test cases and run it through the deep learning system to optimize development.

Production

This area of the HPE booth has some of the most interesting demonstrations. They include an advanced supply chain visualization tool created with partner GE Digital and its Predix operating system, as well as a demonstration of some of the newest HPE infrastructure products powering an industrial robot.

Last year in Las Vegas, HPE and GE Digital announced the Predix partnership, which strengthens both companies' offerings—GE Digital's cloud-based operating system for processing IIoT data, and HPE's storage and infrastructure services. The question on many people's minds has been what sorts of new products, services, or synergies might result from co-innovation between HPE, GE Digital, and clients? At Hannover Messe, visitors will see some fruits of the collaboration, including industrial-grade facial recognition technology that's capable of identifying and tracking individual parts moving through the supply chain.

The demonstration uses sensors in the form of cameras deployed around the HPE booth at Hannover Messe. The cameras will capture individual visitors and follow their progress through the Transformation Tunnel and workshop sessions. Predix running on HPE Edgeline IoT systems will process the imagery and take note of the displays or topics that specific visitors are interested in. Data will also flow between Predix and the partner demonstration by PTC. After visiting the HPE booth, those visitors can receive customized information that reflect their interests. The purpose of the demonstration is to show how technology can be used to track parts or components in a manufacturing environment.

Roese notes that the technology is already being used by a major aircraft manufacturer. "Sensor technologies, including cameras, can detect if carbon fiber layering is correctly positioned on the wings," he says. "Data will be available for the lifetime of the aircraft. So if something happens to the carbon element in five years, you can track it back to that process." He adds that manufacturers will be able to do much more with Predix and related technologies than would be possible with older technologies. 

Another cool demonstration in the Production area is YuMi, a dual-armed robot developed by HPE partner ABB. At the HPE booth, YuMi will make USB drives. This is not particularly hard to do, but what's interesting about the demonstration is YuMi is powered by HPE's Micro Datacenter, a self-contained miniature data center on wheels that comes loaded with compute resources, UPS, and even built-in cooling. Designed for remote sites or industrial facilities that cannot afford downtime caused by central IT outages or WAN latency, the Micro Datacenter "creates a private cloud on the shop floor," Roese says. "It could power a robot, a conveyer belt, or even an entire assembly line."

Addressing the latency issue with on-site compute and cloud capabilities is crucial to many types of factory environments. "In pharmaceutical manufacturing, if you stop one process, the whole batch may be ruined," Roese explains. "And in a metal foundry, you cannot restart the oven if something goes wrong." With the stackable Micro Datacenter, location-based services powered by Aruba Beacons, and other IIoT resources situated at the edge of the network, operations can continue with minimal delays and latency.

Maintenance & Services

One of the most promising uses of IIoT technologies is for remote guidance. This is especially useful in industrial settings where it is expensive or impractical to service remote equipment or facilities, such as a wind turbine, an offshore oil rig, or a mine. The idea is data from cameras, temperature and humidity gauges, and sensors measuring various mechanical processes can be correlated and used to identify specific problems before a shutdown occurs or a crew is sent out to investigate what's going on.

Another important application is preventative maintenance. IIoT-connected sensors and other advanced applications can help identify failing parts or components and apply maintenance as needed.

Partner PTC Flowserve, which makes pumps, valves, seals, and the tools to manage and maintain them, will have a demonstration of its augmented reality monitoring application. PTC Flowserve gear is typically installed at a refinery, hydroelectric facility, or chemical plant. The equipment has to be constantly monitored to ensure optimum performance and identify problems before things start to break. The Flowserve augmented reality system, running on an Edgeline server on the shop floor and using data from National Instruments' sensors, can visualize pump equipment, pipes, valves, and mechanical seals with screen-based diagnostic tools and even augmented reality apps accessed through tablet computers.

In many cases, sending the data to the cloud or a corporate server back at HQ isn't practical. Therefore the processing and analysis of this data has to take place at the remote location, so technicians and staff can keep the facility running at optimum performance and take immediate action should the system identify a failing impeller or misconfigured valve. Such edge-based IIoT applications provide real value to companies engaged in energy and other verticals.

Ask the HPE experts

A number of high-profile HPE executives and engineers will be on hand to talk with attendees, including Heiko Meyer, general manager of HPE Germany; Volkhard Bregulla, a VP who leads HPE Global Industries MDI; and Pete Murray, the VP in charge of HPE's OEM and IoT sales group. If you have a question about HPE or its partnerships with some of the world's top technology and manufacturing companies, or want to discuss ideas that can transform the way your company does business, all you need to do is ask. 

Discuss ways to transform how your company does business

Related reading: Your guide to Hannover Messe 2017: What to see and do in the Industrial Internet of Things

This article/content was written by the individual writer identified and does not necessarily reflect the view of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.