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SPS 2022 Show Exclusive Report

07 February, 2023

After a three-year absence, the SPS automation exhibition returned to its Nuremberg venue last November. It might have been slightly smaller than before but it still generated a lot of enthusiasm.

There was an almost palpable sense of relief when the SPS (Smart Production Solutions) exhibition re-opened its doors in Nuremberg, Germany for three days last November, following a Covid-enforced absence of three years.

This was particularly so because of the drama of the previous year when the exhibition had to be cancelled on the Friday before it was due to open because of a surge of Covid cases in Bavaria. By that stage, most of the stands – some of them occupying complete halls – had been built, and thousands of people had already descended on Nuremberg to man the stands.

In 2022, the organisers moved the event a few weeks earlier to avoid the risk of another winter surge of Covid. The shadow of the pandemic still loomed large over the show, however, with around 100 Chinese exhibitors who had been at the 2019 exhibition not being able to attend the 2022 show.

In the end, there were just short of 1,000 exhibitors (compared to 1,585 in 2019) and 44,000 visitors (down from 63,708). The percentage of visitors from outside Germany actually rose from 26% in 2019 to 29%. Non-German exhibitors also represented 29% of the total. In China’s absence, the top five countries were Italy, the US, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands. Fewer than 10 UK exhibitors attended (down from 17 in 2019), while more US companies were attracted because the retimed event no longer clashed with Thanksgiving.

During the pandemic, the show’s organisers had launched an online version of SPS and, in 2022, people who could not attend the event in person were offered an “SPS on air” facility which allowed them to watch presentations online. More than 4,000 people watched the 120 forum talks either in-person or online.

Although SPS might have been slightly smaller in 2022, a survey of visitors revealed a high level of satisfaction with the event, with 95% of visitors saying they planned to return in future, and 91% reporting that they would recommend SPS to their colleagues and customers.

The exhibitors also seem to have been happy. “It feels fantastic to be back,” said Steffen Winkler, chief sales officer of Bosch Rexroth’s automation business. “The trade fair visitors as well as our team, and the other exhibitors I’ve spoken to, are incredibly enthusiastic. You can really feel the energy in the halls and it’s just a great feeling to be back here live and physically with other people from the industry.”

Hs feelings are echoed by Marcus Bliesze, Siemens’ vice-president of marketing for factory automation: “It’s a terrific feeling being back at SPS. Participants have come from all over the world, some of whom we have not seen for the last three years.”

Martin Roschkowksi, president of the organiser Messago Messe Frankfurt, adds: “It was apparent just how much the SPS community had missed meeting up with one another and immersing themselves in the world of automation. This exhibition will provide a springboard for many automation projects of the future.”

On this Web site, we have reported on some of the products and technologies on show to visitors to SPS 2022. We have listed them below.

SPS is scheduled to return to Nuremberg from 14-16 November, 2023.

♦  Move away from control cabinets gathers pace

♦  Three partners develop deep learning for vision systems

♦  OS links IT to OT and frees users from proprietary limits

♦  Rexroth opens up real-time OS to third parties

♦  System promises installation time savings of up to 70%

♦  Drives with onboard condition-monitoring avoid sensors

♦  IO-Link Safety gets first live multi-vendor demo at SPS

♦  First 3D ToF camera opens up a new dimension in safety

♦  Open-source Arduino platform releases its first micro-PLC at SPS

♦  Kits provide a ‘recipe box’ for machine-builders

♦  Next-gen servodrives save space and deliver more power

♦  ‘First’ IO-Link smart incremental encoder opens up applications

♦  IT specialists can now access TIA Portal to tackle OT skills gap

♦  Floating production transport system gains flexibility

♦  Five compact drives save on space and resources

♦  Configurable safety controller looks like a safety relay

♦  Circular movers give levitating transport system a novel spin

♦  Inverter-only IE5 motors will maximise energy savings

♦  16-core ultra-compact IPCs set new benchmarks

♦  Compact machinery drives handle motors up to 22kW

♦  IE5 reluctance motors add liquid-cooled and hazardous area types

♦  Servodrives give machine-builders more flexibility

♦  Software guides technicians through cabinet assembly

♦  Vision hardware complements software in single platform

♦  UK-developed soft-starters can be set up in under 60 seconds

♦  AI-based app optimises energy use of drive systems

♦  Vision sensors identify objects without experts

SPS 2022 attracted 44,000 visitors to its Nuremberg venue

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