Industrial Automation Drives Innovation
By Patrick Waurzyniak
Bringing together many of the key players in industrial automation, the inaugural Industrial Automation North America (IANA) pavilion is an international trade fair for process, production and industrial building automation that debuts at IMTS this year. Sponsored by Deutsche Messe of Germany and its subsidiary, Hannover Fairs USA, the IANA expo co-locates at IMTS, featuring major industrial automation systems, microsystems, electrical and industrial IT and software companies showcasing their wares at IMTS.
The IANA will also feature the IFPE Fluid Power Zone, hosted by the National Fluid Power Association, in addition to the Global Automation and Manufacturing Summit and the Motion, Drives and Automation Conference. Key trends today driving industrial automation include energy savings, advanced wireless technologies, and integration of software to improve automation systems, according to Larry Turner, CEO of Hannover Fairs USA (Princeton, NJ).
"The first is not really specific to automation, it’s really plant-specific, and that’s the overall need to reduce energy consumption," Turner observes. "We’re seeing that in automation controls for the buildings, but also as it relates to the equipment that manufacturers are delivering at this point."
Improvements in wireless technologies also are spurring industrial automation innovations, he adds. "Wireless technology is really driving a lot of activity in the plant, improving the business productivity, connecting front-end systems to the back-end systems, and really acting as a facilitator for improved automation."
Manufacturers are making gains in the retrofitting and migration of older technology, Turner notes. "This also ties into the ability to bring in new control software and control systems into some of those older technologies, and be able to interface with the legacy equipment."
Another key trend is that companies are leveraging software and support consultations to standardize engineering, reduce the amount of manual functions, and capture information earlier in the process, he says. "Over the last 10 years, we’re seeing that automation in our manufacturing lines is helping companies be much more effective, which is also driving some more onshoring activity. As labor costs in China are rising, the delivery cycles, the improvement in the automation and delivery and efficiency in the plants here, we’re seeing, it’s not a deluge, but we’re seeing improvements in more onshoring activity."
The Global Automation and Manufacturing Summit on September 12–13 is for senior-level global automation and manufacturing executives. Speakers from companies such as Beckhoff, B&R Automation, Lenze, Schneider Electric, and Siemens will talk about topics ranging from data security, energy management, and mobility to process optimization, sustainability manufacturing and workforce development. The keynote speakers are Billy Taylor, plant manager, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company; Karen Kurek, head of McGladrey’s National Manufacturing & Distribution Practice; and Douglas Woods, president and CEO, AMT—The Association for Manufacturing Technology. The Summit will also feature case studies on plant automation for profitability, asset-performance improvement, and maintenance costs reduction.
The Motion, Drives and Automation Conference on September 10–11 features two tracks—Motion Control in Automation and Hydraulics and Pneumatics in Automation—that explain how to improve the efficiency, performance, productivity, lifespan and environmental footprint of manufacturing equipment and industrial automation systems. Topics include energy efficiency, equipment monitoring, machine efficiency, noise reduction, safety and security. Attendees can expect to see innovations in electrical, mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic motion systems, as well as in condition-monitoring, electronic control, sensing, and vision.
In addition, the International Society of Automation will sponsor ISA Inside training, September 13–14, with one-day courses on such topics as Control Using ANSI/ISA Standards, Industrial Wireless Systems, Measurement and Control Fundamentals, Manufacturing Execution Systems and Safety Instrumented Systems. ME
This article was first published in the August 2012 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Click here for PDF.