SPS/IPS/DRIVES show to cover process industries

While most automation shows in both Europe and North America have steadily declined or simply disappeared in recent years, SPS/IPC/DRIVES, focussed exclusively on discrete automation, has gone from strength to strength, with last November’s event in Nuremberg attracting nearly 1400 exhibitors and over 48,000 visitors. Now the word is that next year’s event may be extended to cover process automation. That would inevitably tread on the toes of Interkama, Germany’s leading process automation event, which has been steadily shrinking for years. Six years ago, it moved from its original home at Düsseldorf to run alongside the Hanover Fair on an annual basis, but that seems to have done little if anything to arrest the decline. SPS is claiming that it won’t compete with Interkama by saying that it would limit process involvement to “electrical” process automation, although nobody seems very clear what that means. Whether such a move would actually be to its advantage is open to question, although it would almost certainly put the final nail in the Interkama coffin. Certainly some vendors with a foot in both camps ― chiefly Siemens and Rockwell ― would see advantages in being able to show both aspects of their portfolio, but the other mainstream process automation vendors have long ago concluded that they can get far more mileage out of their own user conferences than they ever did competing for attention with their peers at a conventional show.

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