How to survive the Hannover Fair

Dave Wilson keeps his wits about him when negotiating the biggest fair in the world

The displays at the Hannover Fair this year will occupy 25 exhibition halls plus an open-air site. That makes it possibly the largest show in the world where you can peruse OEM products.

If you are visiting the show for the first time, it is best to get a game plan together before you go. To help out, we have provided a map highlighting the Fairground and the halls. It is best just to target a few aspects of technology, rather than play the journalist and try to cover it all. It is just not possible in a few days.

For the convenience of the visitor, the show itself has been divided up into several technologies that can be found in individual halls around the fairground. These include: electric automation technology, power transmission and control, factory equipment, tools and compressed air technology, production equipment for electrical engineering and electronics, lighting technology with the world light show, subcontracting and industrial materials, rail transport technology and research and technology.

Despite the organisational excellence, the sheer size of the whole exhibition can be pretty daunting. This is certainly no show for those that get tired spending one day at Birmingham’s Manufacturing Week.

The keynote category at this year’s Fair is electric automation technology. So it is a good place to visit with the 1500 companies that will present components and systems for electric automation technology (in Halls 11, 12, 14,15, 16 and 17). The range on display will cover sensors and sensor systems to industrial communications and quality assurance.

Production equipment for electrical engineering and electronics is also featured as a display category in its own right. 200 exhibiting firms will present production lines for the manufacture of electronic circuits, cable-making machinery, cable-winding machines and systems, automatic component insertion machines, soldering stations and test equipment. Located in Hall 7, they will display their products in close proximity to the 800 exhibitors in the lighting technology arena and the 700 exhibitors in the factory equipment, tools and compressed air business.

Hannover `97 is a good place to go if you like riding the rails. Many exhibiting firms will be presenting various forms of rail-borne transportation, railway infrastructure, components, installations and equipment, signalling and traffic control systems. What is more, a special presentation entitled `Mobility 21′, will show examples of environmental solutions to traffic problems devised by local and regional authorities.

This year, the UK is the Partner Country. Over 100 UK firms will take part in a display under the motto `British Excellence’ in the Partner Country pavilion in Hall 26. Companies to be seen at the show include Rolls Royce, British Aerospace, Burmah Castrol, Varity Perkins, GEC, British Petroleum, Zeneca, Vickers, Smithkline Beecham, GKN as well as Marks and Spencer! In addition, the Patent Office and the Invest in Britain Bureau have also `claimed major roles’.

For its part, members of BEAMA, the Federation of British Electrical and Allied Manufacturers’ Associations will also be exhibiting in number throughout the show. They will be exhibiting a wide variety of products from batteries through seals, displays, cables and connectors. A listing of BEAMA members and where to find them is displayed in the Table below.

For new technology, one hall that is always worth a visit is the research and technology Hall 18. Here, the organisers have grouped together many universities that are working on developing projects in conjunction with their partners in industry. These research projects cover a variety of industries, but there is always a lot to see on sensors particularly.

Enjoy it if you can. And remember. Even if the enormity of the show feels as if it might kill you, you can relax in the evening over dinner safe in the knowledge that at least the German or Argentinean steak cannot do the same.