Great Expectations

Nobody has time to fool around these days. Control and automation professionals need useful ideas now and demand practical solutions immediately. To provide these crucial innovations, the National Industrial Automation Show (NIAS) at National Manufacturing Week (NMW) 2003, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 3-6 at McCormick Place in Chicago, has been reinvented and reorganized.




  • Trade shows

  • Machine control and discrete sensors

  • Motors and motion control

  • Embedded control

  • Software

  • Networks and communications

  • Human-machine interface

Innovations anticipated at NMW 2003


For more coverage of exhibits, events and solutions at NIAS and NMW 2003, including breaking news and photos onsite during the shows, please visit .

Nobody has time to fool around these days. Control and automation professionals need useful ideas now and demand practical solutions immediately.

To provide these crucial innovations, the National Industrial Automation Show (NIAS) at National Manufacturing Week (NMW) 2003, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 3-6 at McCormick Place in Chicago, has been reinvented and reorganized. NMW 2003 will include more than 1,100 exhibitors and special events in approximately 310,000 ft2of exhibition space, and feature more than 100 sessions in a newly expanded technical conference with six tracks designed to parallel four of NMW's six shows. Organizers hope the event will attract about 30,000 visitors during its four-day run.

'Content is the big difference this year. There will be a lot for attendees to do and sink their teeth into,' says John Stuttard, industry vp for NMW, Reed Exhibition Cos. (Norwalk, CT). 'We need to give attendees good reasons to some to the show, and that's what we're doing. Sure, we have all our exhibitors, but we're going beyond that to give them access to industry leaders, who can also provide useful information and intelligence.

'Each of the six shows will have its own state-of-the-industry address. For example, Bill Swanton of AMR Research will moderate the automation show's free session, 'Consulting, Outsourcing, and Integration Professional Services: Industrial Automation Vendors Move Far Beyond Hardware,' [at 9-10 a.m.] on March 4. We're gathering customers and vendors on the platform to look at the coming year.'

Mr. Stuttard adds that NMW 2003 will also have a new layout, which will sandwich the Motion Technology Area's exhibitors between NIAS and the National Design Engineering Show (NDES). This area offers a comprehensive collection of pneumatic, electromechanical, motors, power transmission, linear motion components and hydraulic components, and control systems.

New shows and pavilions

Besides its traditional four shows, NIAS, NDES, National Plant Engineering and Facilties Management show, and National Enterprise IT (NEIT) show, NMW 2003 will host two more shows. The first will be the Technology Transfer Conference and Expo, which will be a forum for buyers and sellers of technology licensing. The second will be the co-located CleanTech International Cleaning Technology Exposition.

NMW 2003 will also include several special pavilions, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Fluid Handling, Contract Manufacturing, Material Handling, and Large Equipment. Located at the NEIT show, CRM will gather products and solutions for manufacturing and IT executives seeking to improve supplier and customer relations, while cutting costs, generating revenue, and retaining customers.

In addition, a new E-learning pavilion at NEIT will showcase education, e-learning, and training for manufacturers, and will also include exhibits, educational forums and keynote presentations. Finally, a new International pavilion at NDES will include numerous international manufacturers, suppliers, and vendors.

Keynotes and conference

This year's expanded technical conference will be headlined by Frederick Gregory, NASA's deputy administrator, who will deliver NMW 2003's keynote address, 'Bringing Space Technology Back Down to Earth,' at 1:15-2 p.m., March 5, in Room S101. Mr. Gregory will outline the space agency's vision and mission objectives, its plans for future space exploration, and its efforts to transfer cutting-edge technologies to the manufacturing sector.

Besides its automation industry address, the NIAS-based conference track will include another panel, 'Dick Morley and the Technology of Business: Asking the Tough Questions,' at 2-3:15 p.m. on March 4 in Room S101. Mr. Morley's panel of insiders will probe the operations, technology and ethics of today's enterprise.

Some other notable conference sessions will include: 'Lean Manufacturing and Mass Customization,' 10:15-11;30 a.m., March 3, by Richard Lebovitz, Factory Logic Software; and 'Network Convergence in Manufacturing,' free session at 1-2:15 p.m., March 3, by Kathy Hill, Cisco Systems' vp and Desktop Switching business gm, who will chart Ethernet's move onto the factory floor.

Innovations anticipated at NMW 2003

Numerous innovative and useful products, technologies, solutions, and services will be showcased at NIAS and NMW 2003. [See Web sites, booth numbers, and free information numbers at the end of this article's main text.]

Christensen Display Products (Seattle, WA) will exhibit a major extension of its of industrial flat-panel monitors. Near-Field Imaging (NFI) touchscreen technology components from 3M/Dynapro now can be integrated into most of the Christensen product family. This includes all bezel configurations and the recently released Class I Division 2-rated products. The line extension includes 28 new part numbers. Available in clear and antiglare finish, these NFI-based touchscreen monitors are mechanically identical to standard and resistive touchscreen-based products.

PosiDrive pre-programmed servo systems, from Force Control Industries (Fairfield, OH), simplify conversion to a servo drive by eliminating complexity, integrator costs, and programming code. UL- and CE-approved, plug-and-play PosiDrive packages combine a 460-V servo motor and digital amplifier/controller with a pre-programmed touchscreen interface (TSI). Machine set-up, tuning, and troubleshooting are easily performed through TSI menus, without having to learn complex servo programming, write code, or run proprietary software on a PC. PosiDrive servo systems are available in fractional to 20-hp packages covering a wide spectrum of industrial applications.

GE Fanuc Automation's (Charlottesville, VA) Cimplicity Machine Edition Logic Developer PDA software allows users to interface a Palm handheld device to any GE Fanuc Series 90 and VersaMax PLC. With Logic Developer PDA, users can perform PLC monitoring, diagnostics, and maintenance quickly and easily at any PLC location in the manufacturing facility, which can save time and increase productivity.

Phoenix Contact 's (Harrisburg, PA) new line of thin-client terminals are designed for use in harsh industrial environments. Thin Clients are embedded PCs without any rotating media, which increases immunity against mechanical vibration or shock. Thin clients feature a rugged cast-aluminum housing in IP54/65 protection, high-quality color TFT displays with touchscreen option, powerful 750 MHz CPUs, built-in Ethernet interface and choice of embedded operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows CE or XP. Thin clients can be used as Web panels with integrated browsers or as remote operating stations.

PCE800 series servo drives, from Pacific Scientific (Rockford, IL), part of Danaher Motion, are DSP-based, featuring 480-V ac operation, which makes the drives powerful enough for big jobs and compatible with European voltage requirements. They feature a footprint reportedly 40% smaller than comparable drives, and can fit into a 10-in. cabinet. These features suit new installations, or a retrofit drive option in applications, such as electronic assembly, semiconductor manufacturing, robotics, packaging, printing, and material handling, among others.

MTS Systems Corp.'s (Cary, NC) Temposonics L Series LD4 position sensor has what is reported to be the shortest installed height available. Its short sensing element and overlapping electronics module allows mounting the complete assembly inside an actuator cylinder endcap. For compact smart cylinder applications, the LD4 position sensor has a small operating envelope for easy installation; simply fasten it to the connector. The sensor's design also allows users to install and maintain it without disassembling the complete cylinder.

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