The automation sector meets in Nuremberg every year, at the peak of the gingerbread season a Nuremberg specialty. While Nuremberg’s Central Market metamorphoses into the ‘Christkindlesmarkt’ (Christmas market) in frosty temperatures, a goods market of a totally different type and dimension takes place seven kilometers away at the Trade Fair Center: SPS IPC Drives.
The specialist trade fair for control systems, industrial PCs and drive technology has developed as quickly during the last 25 years as SICK and the entire automation sector. When the first SPS took place in Sindelfingen in 1990, 63 exhibitors displayed their products for electrical automation to about 3,400 visitors in a small specialist trade fair – and America’s National Science Foundation had just decided to make the internet available for commercial use, whereby it was initially only publicly accessible via the universities.
Rapid development: Industry 4.0
The internet has developed rapidly since then and offers, among other things, undreamed-of opportunities through network-supported applications that replace local applications – also for industrial production, which is facing major challenges. Thus at its forum »Zukunftsvision Industrie 4.0« (Vision Industry 4.0) the Fraunhofer IAO (Institute for Work Management and Organization) stated that, “New products are coming onto the market at ever-shorter intervals. Whereby the number of variants is rising: because the customers are increasingly combining articles as required. At the same time, more goods must be produced with dwindling resources, as efficiently and ecologically as possible. Research and industry are exploiting flexible and intelligent automation in order to master these demands. The idea is that machines, workpieces, transport systems and semi-finished products not only obtain embedded systems (i.e. tiny computers, sensors and actuators), but are also networked with one another and, to some extent, with the internet. They can thus autonomously exchange information and interact with each other and with humans. This creates cyber-physical systems (CPSs) that connect real objects (physical) with the virtual world (cyber). This permits the next leap in industrial production, Industry 4.0. The internet of things and services moves into the factory hall.”
Not without intelligent sensors
“In principle, we are grateful for the discussion about Industry 4.0,” Dr. Thomas Höfling, General Manager of SICK Vertriebs-GmbH, told reporters at SICK’s press conference in Nuremberg. “Smart sensors that are fully integrated in the automation network can support the most rapid machine processes in situ, and provide important process information for the control and management levels, e.g. for the needs-oriented maintenance of machinery or simply information on the sensor itself. This far exceeds the standard tasks of a sensor, and smart sensors enable rapid and highly flexible machine conversions. We assume that Industry 4.0 will further increase the level of automation. And we are ideally positioned for this.”
1,000,000 solutions for applications which you have not yet thought of
Visitors to SICK’s modern and generously proportioned stand can not only expect new products and innovative solutions, but also a well-organized and friendly team. Although the size of the stand has been increased by 30 percent compared to last year, the visitors again crammed into the exhibit and discussion areas. Every year, the organization and implementation of the trade fair presence at SPS is a massive undertaking for the team from SICK Vertriebs-GmbH who, however, are pleased to take it on and appreciate the support from SICK AG personnel. At the fair, one could clearly feel the motivation and enthusiasm with which the entire team completed the tight program – thus differentiating it from the competition, and not just through products and solutions.
This year the focus on product presentation is the LECTOR®65x image-based code reader and vision sensor, the new Flexi Loop and Flexi Line safety controllers and the DeltaPac MultiTask photoelectric sensor. The PLR flexible automation system demonstrated the robotized de-racking of stamped body parts.
SPS IPC Drives has always been a trade fair with a competent specialist public. And because at SICK it is not only the employees, but even the sensors, that are capable of communication, interesting ideas and solutions repeatedly cropped up in exchanges with visitors, leaving one curious about what will develop from these conversations – and looking forward to the next SPS IPC Drives.
- SICK-Products at SPS: LECTOR®65x, Flexi Loop und Flexi Line, DeltaPac, PLR
- Trade fair information: SPS IPC Drives 2013
- All articles: SPS 2013
Photo gallery: SICK stand at SPS IPC Drives 2013
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