Trip Report: Hannover Messe 2010

Contributed by Karen Lightman, Managing Director, MEMS Industry Group

Hello from Hannover Messe 2010. I am thankful to be here; as I think I was on one of the last flights to fly over the Atlantic on Thursday, April 15. Crazily enough my luggage (and that of my 9-year old daughter) is still at Charles du Gaulle Airport in Paris, but I am definitely making the most of my “volcation” as I am currently still stranded in Germany thanks to the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud.  Time will tell if we’ll be able to return home to Pittsburgh in a few days. So I will make the most of my time here!

As this is my first time at Hannover Messe, I had few expectations coming to the show, besides the knowledge that this is the biggest industrial show in Europe (if not the world). I am focusing my time in Hall 6 which houses the Micro and Nanotechnology exhibitors and presentations. IVAM, Germany’s premier MicroNano Forum has a center exhibit at Hannover Messe that impressively brings together over a hundred of its member companies, mainly from Germany but includes other nations. Interestingly, there are no North American – based companies exhibiting within the IVAM micro-nano pavilion. Clearly (at least to me) Hannover Messe offers a great opportunity for US and Canadian companies interested in promoting their services and wares to a European audience…

On Monday 19.April I had the privilege of presenting a keynote on the “MEMS market from a US perspective.” Clips from my keynote can be viewed on Youtube. Other keynotes on 19.April included and introduction by Matthais Kunzel of VDI/VDE Innovation+Technik of Berlin (who also acted as moderator); an interesting presentation by Oliver Schatz of Bosch Sensortec (who focused his presentation on Bosch’s MEMS Sensors); Takeshi Okamoto of Panasonic (who gave an overview of Panasonic Electric Works); Richard Dixon of iSuppli (who gave a great presentation on current and future MEMS trends); Lutz Aschke from LIMO Lissotschenko Mikrooptic (he’s got a great laser that will save you lots of money); and Karsten Dierksen of Bayer Material Sciences (uber-cool talk about polymer electronics).

Following the keynotes, I sat on a panel moderated by IVAM’s Uwe Kleinkes. Fellow panelists included Richard Dixon, Lutz Aschke and Karsten Dierksen.  The panel presented our different perspectives on what 2010 will bring for the MEMS industry. We all agreed that MEMS spans and represents a global supply chain and it’s critical that companies work through industry groups like IVAM and MIG to better link and connect the global making, buying and selling of MEMS. Clearly working together with international groups like IVAM is a great opportunity for MIG, as it’s our mission to connect and represent the global MEMS supply chain.

I enjoyed connecting with MIG members such as Fraunhofer IPMS and meeting with potential new members as well. I am overall impressed with the quality and ingenuity of many of the presenters and exhibitors of IVAM’s pavilion at Hannover Messe. For example, I learned a great deal about the use of accel-gyro applications for automotive from Peter Mertz of the MEMS Foundry Itzehow GmbH, which focuses on MEMS development and production in cooperation with Fraunhofer ISIT. I also met with Thomas Richter, head of MST.Factory Dortmund and learned about two of his successful startups – Innolume and Temicon. I also learned a great deal about the overall Fraunhofer Institute MEGA-OPOLIS in Germany. It’s a very unique mechanism for seeding R&D and commercial/technology development in Germany. But the trick is connecting that R&D to real products. Sound familiar?

I’m very pleased with my time here at Hannover Messe and look forward to increasing MIG’s programs and activities here in the future. I’m in talks with my colleagues at IVAM to do a US Forum as part of the “Innovations for Industry at MicroNanoTec” in 2011. So stay tuned – as the world gets smaller (even when there’s ash in the air), it’s critical that MIG remain a key part of the global MEMS supply chain.

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