A K-fair summary from the two guys who just showed up.
So the story here was PET club has a tradition of going to the K-fair the largest trade fair for all plastics-and polymer industry. How does two energy- and environmental engineering students find themselves on a trip to Germany? Well in our case you help out at a kid’s science fair and carry a few chairs, apparently you sometimes get cool opportunities when you just volunteer for stuff.
After our flight to Düsseldorf we got to the fair ground where we had a coffee and a bite to eat, and there was one question that popped in to our heads; “what would one get out from this fair when you don’t even study plastics?”. The fast answer was, well the machines are cool and it seems that we have some knowledge about how they work. After a quick browse through the fair guide we found something that applies really well to our studies into energy engineering; the next step in the industrial revolution. “Industry 4.0”
“Industry 4.0, Industrie 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution, is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things and cloud computing.
Industry 4.0 creates what has been called a “smart factory”. Within the modular structured smart factories, cyber-physical systems monitor physical processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world and make decentralized decisions. Over the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems communicate and cooperate with each other and with humans in real time, and via the Internet of Services, both internal and cross-organizational services are offered and used by participants of the value chain”
In layman’s terms the aim of industry 4.0 is to reduce energy usage by integrating more systems to one and thus having fewer sources draining power.
In practice e.g. the Company Engel GmbH, an injection molding company, has in their Injection 4.0 solution achieved a tool that can modify the parameters of each single injection in their machines. The demo they had on the fair reduced the energy used in the initial injection to a later injection by up to 20%. Since one of the Engel plants in 2015 had an energy consumption of 23200 MWh this can potentially lead to substantial savings in both money and energy.
When studying engineering your main area of studies is not the most important thing, your specialized skills are needed all around the technical field. So finding yourself at an injection molding company at some point in your career is not impossible to imagine. Therefore getting to know the industry at a place like K-fair is quite an opportunity.
Now when all the technical data and more tedious information regarding our travels are out of the way, let us go into what we actually did at the fair!
To begin with, we walked A LOT (over 60km during our stay) because the fair ground had 17 fair halls all the size of Messukeskus. So even if we spent four days at the fair, we didn’t see nearly all it had to offer. We saw everything from the implementation of the industry 4.0 ideology to robots that were programmed to play basketball and even entered a virtual reality rendition of a machine and its production line at the ABB booth.
Outside the fair we got to explore Cologne, due to our hostel being there. An integral part in exploring Cologne is “Kölsch” (their locally brewed type of beer), besides the obvious visit to the “Kölner Dom”. And while in Düsseldorf we visited the old town where we sampled the local beer type “Altbier”, along with some roasted pork called Eisbein, a local favorite.
Moral of the story: Volunteer and occasionally say YES!
Lukas and Roni the two energy guys