Hannover Fair wraps up until 2000

The last Hannover Industrial Fair before 2000 concluded April 24 after drawing 7,510 exhibitors and about 300,000 visitors during its six-day run. Factory Automation, a new central theme for 1999, appeared to find favor, attracting 2,086 exhibitors.Web-based advantages, connectionsSchneider Electric (Paris) continued rolling out Transparent Factory, a toolset that ...


The last Hannover Industrial Fair before 2000 concluded April 24 after drawing 7,510 exhibitors and about 300,000 visitors during its six-day run. Factory Automation, a new central theme for 1999, appeared to find favor, attracting 2,086 exhibitors.

Web-based advantages, connections

Schneider Electric (Paris) continued rolling out Transparent Factory, a toolset that frees data "buried" in factory-floor devices. The program seeks to make PLCs real-time data hubs via OLE for process control (OPC) servers (compliant with OPC version V2) and built-in web servers using Java (version V2 in June '99; V3 in early '00). The company also launched a 150-member partnership program, Schneider Alliances, at Hannover Fair to help integrate diverse automation solutions. For more information, or visit www.controleng.com/freeinfo .

Web server connections were also in the air at ABB's exhibit following the recent merger of ABB (Zürich, Switzerland) and Elsag Bailey Process Automation , which included Hartmann & Braun . H&B's Freelance 2000 scalable process control system incorporates a new FieldController with web server capabilities. Commenting on the merger, Andreas Beauchamp, executive vp, ABB Automation Products (Mannheim, Germany), says changes in ABB's product portfolio include a wider scope of instrumentation and process systems, as well as broader application knowledge and a geographical presence in 140 countries.

Drives, networking exhibited

Rockwell Automation (Milwaukee, Wis.) showed a breadth of technologies, including MicroLogix architecture, motion control systems, I/O devices, and motor drives ranging from microdrive size to large medium-voltage units. Using the European Union's procedures may help the company engage in more centralized back office activities, according to Keith Nosbusch, president of Rockwell's Control Systems Operating Unit.

Siemens Automation & Drives Group (Erlangen, Germany) demonstrated more products incorporated into Siemens' Totally Integrated Automation concept. A&D's motion control division has two business units: machine tools, including special-purpose machines and robots; and all other applications with intelligent motion capabilities. Several products--Masterdrive MC systems, CPUs for the Simatic S7 family, and an M7 automation computer function module--debuted at the fair. An intelligent positioning drive, Simodrive Posmo A, was also launched.

Profibus in motion

The Profidrive technical committee of the Profibus users group (PNO) has implemented new motion control functions into Profibus-DP. These extend the network's applications into servo drives, electronic shafts, and multiaxis controls. A press conference by Profibus International (Karlsruhe, Germany) reinforced this bus technology's expansion into motion control. New features include synchronization between drives via software in the controller, drive, and bus system using a "heartbeat" pulse in each Profibus cycle. Profidrive profile will be available in 2Q99, with pilot projects introduced by end of 1999. Profibus International also heralded the September 1999 launch of ProfiSafe, an initiative to make Profibus applications "failsafe."

Other buses and communication networks, such as AS-interface, Interbus, and SERCOS were also highlighted at the show. CiA 's (Erlangen, Germany) 360-m2 stand contained the latest products, applications, and services of about 35 CAN in Automation members.

Pneumatics in the spotlight

Festo AG 's (Esslingen, Germany; Hauppauge, N.Y.) electropneumatic technology was displayed in two halls. Products included pneumatic valves, proportional valves (programmable in closed-loop version), operator interfaces, and valve manifolds with integrated sensors and PLCs.

Moeller Group 's (Bonn) exhibit included electric/electronic, power distribution, and automation products. The company also presented a twice-as-large pavilion devoted to "Man and Energy." The pavilion portrayed energy flows in all aspects of human life.

Software, drives, applications

Wonderware Corp. (Irvine, Calif; Munich, Germany) showed applications of its FactorySuite 2000 classified by industries and users. Third-party software partners were also prominent.

An even larger Microsoft (Redmond, Wa.) pavilion included approximately 55 partners' software offerings and services.

Vaasa Control Oy (Vaasa, Finland), a young, growing manufacturer of frequency converters (variable frequency drives), exhibited its newest product, Vacon CXR regenerative drive, with an unusually wide 2.2-1,500-kW power range. Notable features include 520,000-hour MTBF and an active input bridge using IGBTs that allows energy feedback to the grid with virtually no harmonic distortion.

SIG Positec Automation (Lahr, Germany; Plymouth, Michigan) exhibited IclA, a closed-loop positioning drive that integrates a brushless dc motor, power stage, gear box, microprocessor, encoder, and CAN bus in one package.

Z&B GmbH (Berlin) displayed its control products for brush dc, brushless dc, and servo motor systems, along with software to simplify startup and operation. Z&B's axis positioning and synchronization language, Aposs, serves as the PC interface and as the application program. Networking for multiaxis systems is done via CAN bus.

Among new products at the Kollmorgen-Seidel (Radford, Va.; Düsseldorf, Germany) stand were Goldline BH Series servo motors for up to 600 V service and ServoStar 600 digital controllers for higher currents (to 70 A nominal; 140 A peak for 5 sec duration).

Lenze 's (Hameln, Germany) offerings ranged widely over ac and dc variable-speed and servo technologies (including both electronics and motors). Circle 360

U.S. sector highlighted

Pacific Scientific (Rockford, Ill.) showed its SCE900 Series digital servo drives and PMA Series brushless servo motors. SERCOS communication interface is now available for SCE900 drives.

Baldor Electric 's (Fort Smith, Ark.) products included Flex+Drive that combines a single-axis servo amplifier and positioning software for various motion profiles. BSM Series matched-performance servo motors complement the package. LinDrive and linear motors were also exhibited.

Bayside Motion Group 's (Port Washington, N.Y.) sizable stand contained an expanded lineup of rotary and linear servo motors and controllers, along with positioning stages and systems.

A first-time exhibitor, Berkeley Process Controls (Richmond, Calif.), attracted attention with its machine and motion controller product line with an Ethernet connection.

Next year's Hannover Fair runs nearly a month earlier, during March 20-25, 2000.

For more information, contact Hannover Fairs USA, Fax: 609/987-1202; or Deutsche Messe AG, Fax: +49 511 89 3.

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