After all the hype about e-business, Interkama is still the world's premier show for controllers and instrumentation
T he fifteenth edition of Interkama will open its doors to the public on Monday, 24 September. Europe's largest trade fair for process automation will be smaller than previous years, with a net exhibition space of 35,000 square meters for its nearly 900 exhibitors in five exhibition halls (Interkama 1999 had 1,255 exhibitors in 53,000 square meters). But fair organisers are determined to improve the quality and have added an "Innovation Marketplace" forum that is free to all fair visitors.
Dr. Uwe Martens, president of Interkama 2001, who is also president and ceo of the Krohne Group in Duisburg, says the supply and demand side of the industry are actively involved in bringing about a complete shift in the automation industry, and this trend will be reflected at Interkama.
Interkama 2001 at a glance
"Today, automation technology must play its part in adding value to our customers' companies and be judged according to how successfully it does so," says Dr. Martens. "This means that the entire value chain has to be kept in mind. This includes upstream processes of production, for purchasing to storage of intermediate products as well as downstream processes such as assembly, packaging, finished goods inventory, sales and shipping.
"The basic nature of this big industrial shift is the following: the focus in the past was cost-`cost of ownership.' The focus in future automation will be performance-`value of ownership.' Our goals are all based on the benefit of knowledge and we must make a considerable contribution to adding value for our customers' companies. This is a big challenge to a leading fair like the new Interkama."
But Dr. Martens is quick to make this point: "To avoid any misunderstandings: Interkama will remain the world's leading place for device and instrument manufacturers."
Five technology trends
Dr. Martens sees five major technology trends that will be evident at Interkama:
1. Online all the time: process control systems will provide complete life cycle data about plant equipment to allow optimisation of day-to-day operations.
2. The new vertical orientation of production systems: operational and logistic levels are being integrated with the management level.
3. Decentralisation of intelligence into the field level, and the integration of plant equipment not previously included in automation. All of this is made possible by modern fieldbus technology.
4. The emergence of "soft components": software, engineering, and services. Five years ago, 80% of expenditures went to hardware; today this number is about 50% and in another five years the product price will be related to only 20% for the hardware.
5. A full, corporate-wide asset optimisation initiative to manufacture products "in quantity, in quality, in time, in price, and in place."
"As a representative of the industry, I do not intend to measure Interkama's future success by how many more visitors will come," says Dr. Martens. "Of greater significance is whether we are able to reach new target groups, new companies and new industries with their decision makers who are key to these new concepts and business models. The foundation has been laid with our improved Interkama concept and the new scope."
INTERKAMA Innovation Marketplace (Hall 13)
Remote monitoring and diagnosis
Human machine systems
Supply chain integration
Software is pacesetter
Students discover innovations
Public funding for research
Students discover innovations
Tips for planning
Intelligent field devices
Field devices and control systems
Strategies and methods
'Open source' software
Simulation and process methods
Special forum programme at the INTERKAMA Innovation Marketplace
Replacing the classic trade fair congress, the "Innovation Marketplace" is centrally located in Hall 13. There will be four or five presentations each day; the forum programme, say show organisers, will add the finishing touch to exhibitors' presentations. The Marketplace will feature news on the automation-related themes of e-business (including e-procurement, e-fulfilment, supply chain integration, web application