Most end-user-style tradeshows have many useful elements, but visitors can't time travel or go to Sweden during the event. Well, this year's ABB Automation & Power World (APW, www.abb.com) will seek to remedy all that by transporting attendees to a control room of the future in its Automation Arena space.
This futuristic facility will be a portable reproduction of the "Future Operations Center" that ABB designed and built with its partner, CGM AG (www.cgm.se) and opened in September 2009 in Boras, Sweden, near Göteborg. The center is a permanent installation demonstrating different operator effectiveness methods and workforce solutions to enable users to design solutions for their individual control room challenges.
The 2012 edition of the annual, four-day event will be held on April 23-26 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. APW's conference program will include hundreds of educational workshops, technical training sessions, customer case studies, application workshops and panel discussions. The Automation Arena will be located adjacent to the show's 130,000-square-foot Technology and Solutions Center, which highlights the latest products and services from by ABB and its partners. Keynote speakers will include Joseph Hogan, ABB Group's CEO, and Enrique Santacana, region manager for ABB North America.
APW's exhibits will feature control systems and products, software applications, instrumentation, robots, transformers, power products, circuit protection devices, wire management, power factor and harmonic correction, machine safety, drives, motors, generators, power electronic systems and performance services.
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Besides attending conference sessions and checking out the exhibits, visitors will also be able to interact with some of the more than 4000 other technicians, engineers, managers and executives expected to attend.
The Automation Arena will offer continuous video and live presentations depicting what could happen if certain control room challenges aren't corrected, and demonstrating technologies than can help solve those problems. Likewise, the exhibit area will feature an interactive future-operator area where visitors will be able to test drive futuristic HMIs being researched by ABB's Corporate Research Center, including eye-tracking, 3D visualization of plant systems, 3D collaboration interfaces and the use of social media approaches to improve collaboration in operations.
CGM also will be available to help attendees learn about the potential of user-centered control centers and how addressing human-factors in their environments can positively impact operator effectiveness. "There are lots of abstract concepts and many pieces that go into creating an effective control room," says Per Lundmark, ABB's business developer for operator effectiveness and a CGM managing partner. "So our Future Operations Center helps designers and operators see all of these aspects at once and discuss and better understand their specific requirements."