Showcasing safety at world's biggest industrial show

Hannover Fair is putting safety on show for the first time in its 61-year history, starting April 16 in Germany.

Having a safe workplace "has considerable potential for saving money," say Hannover Fair organizers, and they're putting their money where their mouth is.

The five-day show's new Safety & Security Competence Center will demonstrate the importance of "vigilance on the factory floor" with dozens of international exhibitors showcasing their safety engineering innovations.

"Safety gets more important every year as regulations get tighter," says Jürgen Roth, the American president, based in Dayton, NJ, of Heron Robotunits, one of the companies that will be participating in the Safety and Security Center. This company manufactures automated safety fences.

A different kind of safety fence is made by Canton, MI-based Pilz USA, also exhibiting within the Safety Center at Hannover Fair. Pilz will display a new "virtual protective fence" - think of it as a high-tech, digital version of machine guarding

Pilz describes the new product, called SafetyEYE, as being made of "bits and bytes." (In fact, it uses three high-performance cameras to produce a 3D picture of a working space.)

"Using the new SafetyEYE system that we've created with…DaimlerChrysler, robots can work side-by-side with employees without safety fences," says Pilz's Horst-Dieter Kraus.

(How's your German? Click on the image to the right to see a cool blueprint of how SafetyEye works!)

With the SafetyEYE installed on a robot arm, an alarm sounds if a person steps into a danger area near the robot; the robot comes to a halt if he/she doesn't get out the way in time.

As well as Pilz and Heron Robotunits, there will be more than 25 exhibitors at the Safety and Security Center, located in Hall 16 of the factory automation component of Hannover Fair.

Other Safety Center exhibitors with an American presence include:

  • SICK, with U.S. headquarters in Minneapolis, manufactures sensors, safety systems and automatic identification products.
  • ASN Safety Solutions of Rockaway, New Jersey, produces Safety contact edges, Safety contact mats, Safety bumpers and safety relays.
  • Narda Safety Test Solutions, of Hauppauge, NY, produces measuring equipment for electric, magnetic, and electromagnetic fields.
  • TUV NORD of Salem, New Hampshire, is a provider of a full range of safety testing and certification procedures.

Visitors to this year's Hannover Fair will have the opportunity in several safety-themed presentations and discussions, including:

  • New Safety Standards - Stumbling Block or Engine of Innovation?
  • Digital Video Sensors - New Opportunities for the Sector?
  • Secure 3D Technology, New Approaches for Secure Automation
  • Dynamic Deployment of Modern Plant Technology in Fire Protection
  • Innovative Fire Protection in an Industrial Setting
  • Safety: New Directives and Standards - Boon or Bane of Machine Construction?

For more information about Hannover Fair, check out their official website,

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