Inner Workings of Industrial Automation

It's great to be in the right place at the right time. However, getting in position can be difficult, especially in uncertain and tumultuous times.To help engineers and other technical professionals maintain or regain optimum equilibrium, organizers of the National Industrial Automation Show (NIAS), part of National Manufacturing Week (NMW) 2002, have rearranged thousands of exhibits to b...


Control Engineering


  • Trade shows

  • Networks and communications

  • Embedded control

  • Software

  • Machine control and discrete sensors

  • Human-machine interface (HMI)

  • Motor control

Solutions shine at NIAS

It's great to be in the right place at the right time. However, getting in position can be difficult, especially in uncertain and tumultuous times.

To help engineers and other technical professionals maintain or regain optimum equilibrium, organizers of the National Industrial Automation Show (NIAS), part of National Manufacturing Week (NMW) 2002, have rearranged thousands of exhibits to better reflect how their respective fields have become more integrated, thus providing a more useful show layout. For example, because industries overlap in more areas than ever before, the National Industrial Automation Show and Enterprise IT Show will be situated next to each other, with the supply-chain and logistics pavilion between them at McCormick Place in Chicago.

"Visitors this year are going to see more of the big companies located closer together," says John Stuttard, Reed Exhibition Companies' (Norwalk, Conn.) new industry vp for NMW. "These fields have become a lot more intermeshed."

Though some exhibitors have scaled back due to the recent economic downturn and lingering concerns related to Sept. 11, Mr. Stuttard adds that many more appear anxious to get back to business. "There had been a 'take shelter' feeling, but most people seem to want to get back into the markets and see people again."

More demos, Career Fair

One indication of 2002's potential recovery is an increase in requests by visitors for more product demonstrations at NMW. Mr. Studdard says there should be 400-500 active, in-booth presentations at NMW 2002—a significant increase over 2001.

Likewise new for this year will be an Innovation Arena with 15 seminars presented in McCormick Place's South Hall during the show's first three days.

The keynote speaker for NMW 2002 will be James Truchard, president, ceo and co-founder, National Instruments (NI, Austin, Tex.). Dr. Truchard will speak about "The Impact of Smart Sensors and Next-Generation Networked Measurement Technologies" at 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on March 19 in the Grand Ballroom at McCormick Place. Also, the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) and the IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society's Technical Committee on Sensor Technology are co-sponsoring two technical sessions, "Smart Transducer Interfacing and Networking Standards," at 8:30-11 a.m. on Mar. 19 and at 9 a.m.-12 noon on Mar. 21.

In addition, though its conference schedule is smaller than in previous years, NMW 2002 will include more than 30 workshops.

For the second year, NMW will bring corporate recruiters and job seekers together at its Career Fair, located in the Grand Ballroom, also in the South Hall. The fair will be open from 12 noon to 5 p.m. on Mar. 18 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mar. 19.

Also, the day before NMW begins, winners of the Control Engineering 's Editors' Choice Awards will be announced, and receive their awards at an invitation-only ceremony on March 17 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Chicago (See the winners on March 18 at

Visit Control Engineering at Booth 5142.

Solutions shine at NIAS

Useful, innovative products and solutions are the main attraction at the National Industrial Automation Show during NMW 2002. [See web sites, booth numbers, and circle numbers at the end of this article's main text.]

Dolch Computer Systems (Fremont, Calif.) will exhibit its new FieldPAC rugged portable computer, which features what Dolch claims is an industry-first, six-hour battery life.

Baldor Electric (Fort Smith, Ark.) plans to introduce its new servo motion controls with new MintMT multi-tasking software, which reportedly operates 400% faster than prior models.

GE Fanuc Automation (Charlottesville, Va.) will introduce a new generation of QuickPanel operator interface displays that offer built-in Ethernet connectivity, 4 MB memory and backlight burnout detection. They'll be available in 7.5-, 10.5-, and 12.1-in. sizes.

Plant2Business from Ci Technologies (Charlotte, N.C.) is a middleware product that allows users to manage and transfer plant or industrial process data throughout their organizations using open-technologies and pre-integrated solutions.

Engineers can now use National Instruments' (NI, Austin, Tex.) LabView embedded on compact industrial measurement I/O nodes to build real-time distributed monitoring and control systems. Using these nodes, powered by NI's new FieldPoint 2000 family of network modules, engineers can create reliable, stand-alone measurement and control solutions.

Omron CJ1 from Omron Electronics (Schaumburg, Ill.) is a mid-sized PLC that requires only 40-60% of the panel space of traditional mid-sized PLCs. It has reported processor speeds of 20 nsec and up to 2,560 I/O points.

Phoenix Contact's (Harrisburg, Pa.) FL IL 24 BK inline Ethernet bus terminal allows users to take advantage of the Inline installation system in applications using Ethernet TCP/IP. Now, a combination of up to 63 modules, including standard analog and digital I/O, thermocouples and RTDs, safety relay modules, pneumatic valve manifolds from Burkert-USA (Irvine, Calif.), and machine mounted I/O devices (Loop 2 or AS-I) can all be integrated into an Ethernet TCP/IP network.


For more coverage of exhibits, events and solutions at NIAS and NMW—including breaking news onsite during the show—please visit

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