Onwards to Europe’s Industrial Powerhouse: Welcome to Germany
The ER&D Hackathon & Bus Tour now moves to Germany, the industrial powerhouse of Europe. As we bid adieu to the Parisian skyline, dominated by one of the most easily recognized engineering masterpieces – the Eiffel Tower, we take a moment to remember the eclectic blend of culture and industry that was Paris. Germany beckons us with the promise that was evident in Paris – that of a resurgent continent on the upswing.
Crossing the Mighty Rhine
We head towards Leverkusen, a charming town on the eastern banks of the mighty Rhine. Later in the day, we will be moving to Dusseldorf, the capital of the region.
As the bus takes a northerly route from Cologne, and we finally catch a glimpse of the mighty Rhine, I am reminded of how this majestic river once formed the extreme reaches of the mighty Roman Empire. The Rhine is still a vital part of the European saga and is harnessed at several places downstream for generating hydro-electricity that fulfills the needs of one of the most industrially advanced nations of the world today.
Leverkusen is well-known for its historical association with the chemicals and pharma industry and is home to one of the largest names in the field – Bayer AG. The company is also closely associated with the local football club – the Bayer 04 Leverkusen, founded by its employees in 1904.
Dusseldorf, our next stop later in the day, is the seventh largest city in Germany, and a major telecommunication hub. Located at the confluence of the Rhine and its tributary the Dussel, it is a major hub of the Ruhr region – the historical industrial heartland of Germany.
Updates from the Ground
It is a bright and sunny day here at Leverkusen as we get set to initiate the day’s proceedings. We start early, as the later part of the day is dedicated for activities at Dusseldorf. We begin the event proceedings by inaugurating Walter Grüner, CIO, Covestro, Stephan Krebber, Program Director Digitalization Production & Technology (OSI 2020 Program), Covestro, Ferry Feldbrugge, Head of Global Technical Contracting, Covestro and Amit Chadha, President, Sales and Business Development, Whole-time Director, L&T Technology Services. Addressing the gathering, Amit Chadha said, “This is momentous for us, we thank Covestro for hosting us today and giving us a day. The whole idea of this tour is for our customers to visit us and see and experience what we do, not just for them but our other customers in different verticals. Customers are always at the center of our existence."
Activities and Events
The activities at Leverkusen focused on our robust partnership with Covestro, the material solutions leader and a world-leading polymer company. Senior leadership from both the firms joined us here for the inaugural event and the subsequent demonstrations.
A master class was organized on ICM and was followed by a roundtable led by Stefanie Naujoks, Research Director, Manufacturing, PAC Germany. The discussion, on ‘How to enable the smart factory of the future?’ touched on aspects like the degree and extent of the adoption of Industry 4.0 and automation in the factories, and the technologies that would be the prime movers for the smart factories of the future.
The speakers and participants also touched upon the importance of flexibility and transparency on the factory floor, and on the importance of integrating the ecosystem comprising of suppliers, partners and customers.
In the latter half of the day, we went to Dusseldorf to welcome the members of Indian Consulate and to showcase and share our vision for business in Europe.
The Road Ahead
We head over to Hamburg next. The city, third-largest in Germany with a population of about five million, is located on the Elbe river and is one of the busiest ports in Europe. A member of the medieval Hanseatic League, it has always played a major role in European trade and commerce.
Hamburg also ranks as a key industrial center, and is home to the major shipbuilders Blohm+Voss, besides being the site for a major Airbus SE assembly plant.
The city also has historically close connections with London and the UK, as is evident from a popular Hamburg saying, which goes, “Wenn es in London anfängt zu regnen, spannen die Hamburger den Schirm auf." (Translation: "When it starts raining in London, people in Hamburg open their umbrellas.").
Look forward to meeting you at the Deichtorhallen Museum, as we continue onwards to the fourth phase of our journey.