The fair used to run through Saturday, but ends mercifully on Friday these days. Fortunately for my feet, Day 4 (Thursday) is my last day on the fair. I think I stayed through Saturday only once. Saturday was family day and student day – lots of baby buggies, spouses, and kids (who were looking for all the booth giveaways). Thursday attendance seemed down from Wednesday’s high, although still busy.
The PI booth covered 220 square meters with participation by 62 companies. Here’s a video showing part of the vendor display area.
[Oops, look like the blog software does not like embedded YouTube videos. Go here for the videos.]
Here’s a better view of the display area from the Automation Lounge.
I had a still picture of the PROFINET wall earlier; here’s a video.
Behind the wall is the presentation theater and above the theater is the Automation Lounge.
The Automation Lounge is presented jointly with the Interbus Club whose booth is adjacent. Interbus is the world’s second most popular fieldbus (after PROFIBUS) and has joined PI in supporting PROFINET. They chose PROFINET rather than creating another variation of Industrial Ethernet.
Many PTO members were present and I had the opportunity to see some of their new products. I noticed prominent PROFIsafe displays in the Siemens and WAGO booths. WAGO had a unique theater attraction, too. Here’s part of the “warm-up”:
PTO members’ interesting stuff that I observed:
- WAGO – new PROFINET products
- Woodhead – new PROFINET development tools
- Phoenix Contact – Ethernet switches with the means to physically prevent removal or addition of connections unless you have a key
- Siemens – showing, but not shipping yet, a new PLC that uses IRT for much faster response times (sub-millisecond)
- Siemens – a wireless, PROFINET, PROFIsafe HMI panel with a prominent E-stop button above the touch screen display. It contains an RFID tag working in conjunction with a configurable transponder to ensure it is within sight of the machine it’s controlling.
We also enjoyed reconnecting with colleagues from HMS who were staying in a soccer park near our hotel. I discovered that an old friend now with Softing will be presenting Softing’s tools at our Detroit PROFINET Developer Workshop. Hilscher also had a display in the PI booth in addition to their own booth. ProSoft was displaying some of their wireless products in the PI booth. Speaking of wireless, I had the opportunity to chat with a member of the PI wireless Working Group. More on that in a later blog. Also got to sit down with John Morse of IMS to talk about trends and, yes, node counts. John authored a recent IMS Report on fieldbus nodes. Ran into Bill Tatum of FF who shared a great car analogy that favors choosing a fieldbus over point-to-point wiring. In his training presentation he has a picture of a 1985 Oldsmobile (do you remember points and plugs, carburetors and NO diagnostics?) and compares it to a new Honda hybrid with a computer connection for diagnostics. PROFIBUS and FF agree on a lot of things; we both think you should use a fieldbus. (We may differ slightly on which one you should choose.)
How big is this show? Big enough to need bus service between the halls (everything you can see (and much more) is part of the fair grounds):
Well, this barely scratches the surface of what I saw and I saw only a tiny fraction of the fair. And the train ride to Frankfurt is ending. I hope to resume my regular blogging on the plane trip home.