Power transmission engineering and fluid power companies drive digital transformation forward  

With around 4,000 exhibitors, HANNOVER MESSE 2023 will showcase how different industrial ecosystems interlock to provide solutions for resource-efficient, climate-neutral and resilient production under the keynote theme “Industrial Transformation – Making the Difference”.

High energy costs, disrupted supply chains and rising raw material prices are constantly posing new challenges to the economy. At the same time, the goal is to advance the industrial transformation toward climate-neutral production and a circular economy. To remain competitive in this environment, companies must take measures to increase efficiency and conserve resources, which in turn leads to a reduction in their carbon footprint. High-tech solutions for this will be presented at HANNOVER MESSE. The world’s leading trade fair for industry is the only event where the interplay of leading companies from the mechanical engineering, electrical and digital industries and the energy sector can be experienced.

“At the upcoming HANNOVER MESSE, we will experience the new products and substantial innovations with which our exhibitors are confronting the multiple crises. In April, they will be presenting very specific solutions for greater efficiency to counter climate change and enable CO2-neutral production in the foreseeable future. Digitization, artificial intelligence and hydrogen play a prominent role here,” says Dr. Jochen Köckler, Chairman of the Board of Management of Deutsche Messe AG. “With their high level of innovation, companies from the drive and fluid technology sectors have traditionally been among the biggest and most sustainable drivers of innovation at HANNOVER MESSE.”

In this context, the transformation of drive technology and fluid power is running at full speed. Despite many global challenges, the two sectors can boast excellent economic development. The ability to innovate and the competence to provide solutions are placing drive and fluid technology at the heart of Industry 4.0. Added to this are the issues of climate protection and resource efficiency, which require cutting-edge technologies as solutions. Here in particular, digitalization offers new efficient and sustainable approaches to solutions for customers in both industries.

“Drive and fluid technology components are the central building blocks of machines for power and motion, but they are also a source of data for digital value-added services and crucial to the performance of customer products – this is what we will be demonstrating at HANNOVER MESSE,” emphasizes Hartmut Rauen, Deputy Managing Director of VDMA and responsible for drive and fluid technology at VDMA. Numerous VDMA member companies will be presenting practical examples in the context of digitalization and sustainability.

Industry sales up in 2022
The companies of the Drive Technology and Fluid Power trade associations can look back on a successful 2022. A long-lasting good order situation and high order backlogs have led to industry sales of around 9.5 billion euros in fluid power and just under 18 billion euros in drive technology, which are record figures. Despite the difficult conditions, sales in hydraulics rose by more than 10 percent in nominal terms to around 6.5 billion euros compared with the already very good previous year. In pneumatics, sales are a good 3 billion euros, which also represents a nominal increase of around 10 percent compared to 2021. Drive technology is recording a provisional nominal increase in sales of just under 12 percent.

Slight increase expected in 2023
It is difficult to forecast developments for 2023. Order intake did weaken somewhat towards the end of last year. However, the base effect of the very good previous year also plays a role here, and some customers’ warehouses are full. Overall, the Executive Board of the Fluid Power Association anticipates nominal sales growth of 2 percent for the industry this year (hydraulics and pneumatics both up 2 percent). The board of the drive technology sector expects a nominal increase of 3 percent.

Supply chains and shortage of skilled workers as challenges
The supply of raw materials and energy, rising costs, inflation, supply chain problems and a shortage of skilled workers continue to be a burden. Even though the dramatic picture emerging from the VDMA flash surveys seems to be gradually easing with regard to upstream supply chains, it will remain a defining issue. In terms of challenges, this is only surpassed by the shortage of skilled workers, which more than 80 percent of companies see as an existential issue for the future. The VDMA is committed to this with initiatives such as the Young Talent Foundation, Talent Machine, the Tech Talents young talent fair, research projects (for example, in the Fluid Power Research Fund or the Drive Technology Research Association) and numerous trade association-specific activities.

Indonesia – potential for the future
Due to the global crises, many companies are currently focusing their strategy on China and the ASEAN markets. The partner country Indonesia has so far played a rather minor role as a trading partner for the two industries. In the fluid power sector, exports amount to 20 million euros (40th place in the export ranking) and in drive technology to 39 million euros (44th place in the export ranking).

However, there is potential, especially since Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world and is rich in raw materials. Both industries plan to open up new markets outside China in the future. This is mainly dependent on how Indonesia manages to develop an independent mechanical engineering sector in the future, in addition to the agricultural industry, construction and raw materials market.

Extensive VDMA digitization activities
In terms of digitalization, the Fluid Power Association is a pioneer with the digital twin created in the management shell. Data and information across the entire lifecycle are available in a standardized, structured form that is compatible with other formats across manufacturers. Submodels containing data for specific use cases enable new business models. The results, which have been published at fluidtechnik40.de, are the result of years of standardization activities, which have been and are still being driven forward by the employees of fluid power member companies with great commitment.

The Power Transmission Engineering Association, with the participation of leading drive technology manufacturers, is developing OPC UA Companion Specifications for the industry in an international Joint Working Group. The first OPC UA Specification 40400-1 describes a uniform information model for the vertical integration of drive systems with the application area of asset management. In addition, the contents of the second part of the OPC UA Companion Specification Powertrain (40400-2) are already defined.

The fluid power and drive technology activities are flanked by several VDMA initiatives, for example on the OPC UA interface standard, the “Industrial Digital Twin Association e.V.” (IDTA) alliance co-initiated by the VDMA, the “Wireless Communications for Machines” working group, and the “Industrial Security” Competence Center, which is also exhibiting at the show. With Manufacturing-X, the federative data room ecosystem for the manufacturing industry, the platform gap is now also closing. In this way, the VDMA is helping to realize the interoperable system landscape of intelligently networked Industrie 4.0 production.

Sustainability as another key topic for the industry
In a survey of VDMA members, the number of companies addressing climate goals tripled in 2022 compared to 2019. In addition, 71 percent of the companies surveyed said they are creating resources to address the challenges of climate change. Power transmission and fluid power companies are actively contributing to climate protection with performance modules and smart, efficient components and systems. The sustainability activities of the trade associations, including on the topics of carbon footprint, digital product passport or circular economy, will be flanked in Hanover by two new guides for member companies on circular economy and climate-neutral production. The aim is to provide members with handouts for analyzing and implementing the topics in their companies. In addition, the VDMA’s “Carbon Busters Award” initiative – a competition in which ideas for reducing CO2 consumption can be submitted by young employees – will present and award the winning proposals at HANNOVER MESSE.

Companies exhibit digital and sustainable solutionsa
The companies of the VDMA Power Transmission Engineering and Fluid Power trade associations offer core components and systems that help their customers implement issues surrounding sustainability and digitization. The examples at the trade fair show that the supplier industry is an important source of data and offers services that make future, efficient and sustainable machines possible in the first place.
The structured and continuous generation and processing of data are essential here. Software and hardware go hand in hand. Only this makes automated and predictive maintenance as well as the efficient operation of machines and plants possible. Digitalization is leading mechanical engineering into the future and enabling sustainability – drive technology and fluid power, as supplier industries, are the enablers at the base.

VDMA Power Transmission Engineering and Fluid Power at HANNOVER MESSE:

Hall 6, A48 and A52, together with the European associations CETOP and EUROTRANS.
Hall 6, B57: At the joint company stand, eight member companies from the power
transmission and fluid power sectors will be presenting innovative products, innovations and

The companies from the power transmission and fluid power sectors exhibiting at HANNOVER MESSE include well-known names such as Baumüller, Bosch Rexroth, Camozzi, Emerson, Festo, Flender, HAWE, mayr Antriebstechnik, Neugart, RINGSPANN, R W Antriebstechnik, Seal Concept, SEW Eurodrive, SUCO, Sumitomo and Wittenstein.