Notes from #SPS/IPC/DRIVES in Nuremberg #pauto #mfg

For the second straight year, I am attending the SPS/IPC/DRIVES show in Messe Nuremberg. I am here to tell you that automation trade shows in Europe appear to be alive and well. The Messe announced this morning that attendance is up 3% over last year, and there are a record number of exhibitors as well.

Press conferences are often done in German with simultaneous wear headphones and listen to the translator instead of the speaker. It is a little strange until you get used to it-- just as strange as this German keyboard I'm typing on...the biggest problem I have with it is that the position of the 'z' and 'y' keys are reversed. Since I touch type, this makes life interesting...

Siemens dominates the show, of course, with nearly an entire hall as their 'stand'. They have several new products, including new Scalance networking products (wired and wireless) and new S7 controllers, new motion products, and a real whoop-de-do announcement.

After nearly 150 years of building motors-- probably longer than anybody else-- Siemens has finally gotten around to naming the product line. So, introducing the brand new 'Simotics' brand. Siemens even introduced some new motors to go along with the name change. I don't think they asked any of the people whose last name is Simotics if they had a problem with this...when you google Simotics the first thing that comes up is Frank Simotics, Director of Construction at DirecPath telecommunications in Atlanta.

Siemens has come up with some spiffy additions to their TIA Portal engineering and design management software platform, including the ability to integrate more devices, especially safety, and direct support for AS-i bus, as well as more neat stuff.

The Profibus Nutzerorganisation gave out the 500th Profinet compliance certificate to GE for their Versamax Profinet I/O Scanner product, and announced new silicon that should make using Profibus and Profinet significantly less expensive than HART or Foundation Fieldbus.

Beckhoff also had a well-attended press conference where Hans Beckhoff revealed 2010 and 2011 revenue and profit figures. Like nearly all automation companies, whether process or discrete or networking, Beckhoff showed significant upside in both revenue and profit.

ODVA announced specification extensions, and like everybody else, announced that they were working on an energy efficiency add-on. The partnership between ODVA, the OPC Foundation and SERCOS appears to be working well, too.

It's a good thing that Messe Nuremberg is so huge, with 10 _halls_ of products and software displayed, and that Nuremberg is a 'walking town' because the food is wonderful, the beer is fantastic, and the quantities of both are, well, copious. I do not think I will lose any weight this trip.