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More digital, more flexible and safer: Trends of the 2018 INTERNATIONAL HARDWARE FAIR

Digitalization changes production processes as well as workflows in trade, logistics and service. Megatrends such as Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things are also driving the development of our industry and affect all areas of competence. But flexible multifunctional transport aids and new safety requirements are also topics that are burning issues to many companies in our industry. Here you can find out all about the most important trends at the International Hardware Fair 2018.

“Intelligent networking” is the magic word of the digital age. In the automated factory, machines, components, tools as well as transport and conveying equipment are equipped with sensors and communication systems – and are therefore able to exchange and evaluate enormous amounts of data in real time to produce goods at unprecedented speed and efficiency. The flow of information and data is not limited to production: Trade, logistics, service and even customers become part of the process chain.

This development requires intelligent technology: from complex control and monitoring solutions to tools. An example: Integration-ready torque wrenches with radio modules and sensor technology ensure safety in networked production as well as in service, since the precise measurement data can be graphically displayed, evaluated and used in various documentation systems.

From industry to smart home: no process without data

No processes without data: This applies not only to production, but also to global logistics and trade. Here, too, products and data go hand in hand. Optimally processed product data and innovative sensor technology form the basis for a smooth flow of goods and information from manufacturer to retailer – and back. After all, the production of a new part is already triggered by the purchase of a product. In addition to intelligent tools, machines and software for production control and monitoring, there is a growing need for solutions for fully automated and networked logistics and merchandise management systems as well as for online shops that offer customers an optimal digital shopping experience.

In the course of digitalization, the Smart Home area is also gaining in importance. Studies indicate that this market will reach a volume of around 4.3 billion euros by 2022. The intelligent networking of various house functions such as heating, air-conditioning and lighting calls for increasingly powerful, compact and convenient electronic components. How far technology has already been developed in the meantime is demonstrated, for example, by radio switches with self-learning coding, which are increasingly adapting to the individual needs of users.

Multifunctional transport aids make work easier

Not everything in our industry can be brought as a data package. Flexible solutions for the simple, fast transport of workshop equipment are therefore still in demand. Especially when they are as versatile as multifunctional workshop trolleys, which simultaneously serve as transport containers and mobile workbenches, or as special suitcase trolleys that simply offer everything that professionals need for their on-site operations. Those who often have to haul heavy equipment or components during their work will be pleased about trolleys, with which even stair treads can be easily and above all safely overcome.

Stricter safety requirements through new standards

Safety is also the focus of several new standards, which present new challenges for suppliers of tools and workshop equipment. For example, the new version of DIN EN ISO 6789:2017 requires more complexity in the calibration of torque tools, as a large number of possible uncertainty parameters must now be recorded in addition to the deviation. Higher requirements also apply to VDE torque specifications.

The supplier of access technology is concerned with the new DIN EN 131 for portable ladders: single ladders with a length of at least 3 metres will have to a command a stand extension in the future. Stricter requirements are also expected in terms of slip resistance and joint stiffness.

When the INTERNATIONAL HARDWARE FAIR in Cologne starts on March 4, you will be able to find out which innovations and solutions manufacturers and retailer will present the industry and which developments they will initiate. One thing is already certain: It will be exciting again.

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