National Manufacturing Week

At National Manufacturing Week today.  Well, the conference actually.  I participated in an all-day session moderated by Control Engineering’s Mark Hoske: a round-up of 7 Industrial Ethernet technologies.  Each technology was presented and the session concluded with a round table panel discussion.  Modbus and Ethernet/IP sent slides but no representative.  Mark went through the slides for the attendees.  This was disappointing – not Mark, the fact that these organizations didn’t send anyone.  Actually the only organizational staff present were Dave Glanzer from FF and me from the PTO.  Each of the representatives of the other technologies did a good job though.  I came away with a new respect for the other technologies and their organizations… for the ones who were there, that is.

During the panel discussion the technologies representatives all took exception to one of the Ethernet/IP slides.  It made some claims that were just not right.  Like Ethernet/IP was the only technology that used standards while all the rest were “standards-based.”  Of course all the technologies are based on open standards (although some are still in process of formal acceptance).  The slide also said Ethernet/IP was the only technology that uses standard Ethernet switches.  Don’t even get me started on this topic.  For now let’s just say it’s not the case at all.

The evening was refreshing as I watched PROFINET get a Control Engineering Editors’ Choice Award at the Control Engineering award ceremony.  It was a good chance to visit with the editors and fellow awardees, including some old friends from my Wonder years.