Once again, the SPS IPC Drives automation and motion engineering mega-show, held every November in Nuremberg, Germany, proved to be a bellwether for the state of the sector – especially in Germany – and an indicator of the trends that are driving the industry. One noticeable theme was the number of collaborative efforts being set up by companies and organisations that might normally be considered rivals.
The partner country for this year’s Hannover Fair was the US. This meant that the event was opened jointly by President Barack Obama and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. On the first day of the show, they did a walkabout of several halls, visiting a handful of carefully picked stands.
After dipping in 2014, there was a surge in visitor and exhibitor numbers at the 2015 SPS IPC Drives automation and motion engineering show, held recently in Nuremberg. There was plenty for the visitors to see and discuss, including an unusually large number of VSD launches, the latest developments in Industry 4.0, and lots of talk about using cloud platforms.
A key focus at the 2015 Hannover Fair, held from 13–17 April, was the integrated digital factory. On many stands there were demonstrations showing how Industry 4.0 is starting to progress from a theoretical concept to a practical reality.
The annual SPS IPC Drives show in Germany has been going for 25 years, and has grown almost every year. The 2014 event, held in November, set a new floorspace record, but the number of visitors slipped for the first time.
If the recent SPS IPC Drives show is an accurate indicator, the automation industry appears to be shaking off the effects of the recession and is investing in innovation.
With the introduction of the EU's ERP directive, fan manufacturers face the challenge of either improving the efficiency of their systems that don’t comply, or seeing them withdrawn from the market. As Frank Griffith, a consultant drives engineer with ABB in the UK, explains, there are technical difficulties in improving the efficiency of impellers and transmissions, so many are looking to use more efficient motors.
The theme of the 2013 Hannover Fair – the industrial mega-show held annually in northern Germany – was the "Fourth Industrial Revolution". The 2013 show included the biennial MDA (Motion, Drive and Automation) event. In this exclusive report, we look at some of the highlights of the Fair.
Martin Gadsby, director of Optimal Industrial Automation, looks at some of the challenges in “difficult” machine vision applications, and outlines ways to tackle them.
A study has shown that pneumatic actuators consume 10.3 times more energy than electromechanical devices. Piers Olsen, sales and marketing director for automation at Olsen Engineering in the UK, examines the energy-saving potential of electromechanical actuators.
Achieving reliable, accurate linear motion over distances of more than 10m poses several problems. Anders Trygg, a product manager in Thomson’s linear components group, examines these problems and suggests how they can be solved.
For more than 40 years, an agency of the Dutch government has been helping to set up links between manufacturers in developing countries and companies in Europe. Malcolm Sheryn, who is the agency’s external expert for the motion control sector, explains how the scheme operates.
There are many ways that controls projects can go wrong. Michael Hill, managing director of UK-based Optima Control Solutions, draws on his extensive experience to offer advice on how to manage projects effectively, to the satisfaction of both the supplier and the client.