I was able to get around the fair two ways this year. One, I took two guided tours offered by the Fair (Industry 4.0 and Industrial Automation and IT). Second, I always make it a point to visit PI North America members’ booths.
I took the tours to force visits to booths I would not have gone to. Each tour was led by two guides who previewed the booths to be visited as you were walking to them. All the tours were in English and each person on the tour had a wireless headset. At the booth they turned the microphone over to a speaker in the booth. Some of the stops provided thinly disguised product pitches and some were not thinly disguised. And a few were absolutely on-topic.
The Industry 4.0 tour stops at SAP, HARTING, and ABB were especially good. SAP had a simulated production line making customized parts and adding an engraved insert to personalize the product. SAP used OPC UA to bring information from the line into their MES system. The PROFI components were in the cabinets that actually controlled the line. Interesting observation: the MES screens were used instead of HMIs. I could not figure out how HARTING fit into Industry 4.0, but their presentation was spot on. They talked about their production line that made customized connectors. There were three separate machines coordinated by their MES system. Interesting observation: each machine’s PLC only controlled movements. Functions that had product recipes were not done in the PLCs, but in the MES system. The ABB presenter gave a very good introduction to Industry 4.0, the only one who did. See past post Hanover 2015: The Fair and Industry 4.0.
The Industrial automation and IT tour was less interesting, but I learned some interesting things about Phoenix Contact’s non-PROFI products at that stop. There was a cybersecurity stop that was very superficial. And I had already visited our friends at the ODVA booth.
Next up: visiting members’ booths.