Innovation and collaboration highlight National Industrial Automation Show, National Manufacturing Week

Everything may be everywhere, but the National Industrial Automation Show and National Manufacturing Week, Mar. 13-16, also featured innovations and cooperative efforts in many other manufacturing disciplines. Examples of e-commerce, web-based, software, hardware, and other groundbreaking products, services, and events at NIAS and NMW included:


Everything may be everywhere, but the National Industrial Automation Show and National Manufacturing Week, Mar. 13-16, also featured innovations and cooperative efforts in many other manufacturing disciplines. Examples of e-commerce, web-based, software, hardware, and other groundbreaking products, services, and events at NIAS and NMW included:

  • Advantech Automation 's (Cincinnati, O.) slim PC HMI display featured all-in-one 486x PC board, VGA, two COM ports, 10/100baseT Ethernet, CompactFlash adapter, external expansion slot for 16-bit PC/104 card, and 6-in. touchscreen display.

  • ABB Automation Inc. (New Berlin, Wis) displayed products in the PLC and DCS arenas, among them Advant Control (200 Series and Freelance 2000. The latter is a hybrid system for either PLC- or PC-based control of large and small applications.

  • The Control Zone, a web site where engineers can research and compare product attributes, was shown by efficientZ (Horsham, Pa.). It is located at .

  • Iconics (Foxborough, Mass.) assembled a Jump Start Tool Kit for development of Microsoft Windows CE-based automation solutions. The kit includes CE ToolWorX rapid development, Pocket Genesis runtime, and Pocket Modbus OPC Server.

  • InduSoft Ltd. (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) announced a cooperative relationship with Software Toolbox Inc. (Matthews, N.C.) to expand Indusoft's factory automation connectivity by combining its HMI and SCADA products with Software Toolbox's In-Gear OPC Servers. Software Toolbox will also join Indusoft's VIP Business-Solutions initiative for forging partnerships to provide customer solutions.

  • , a business-to-business (B2B) e-marketplace for MRO products and services, previewed its new web site, which features a comprehensive product SuperCatalog, advanced keyword search capabilities, and single button purchasing power. The new site is located at .

  • Mitsubishi Electric Automation (Vernon Hills, Ill.) announced two small PLCs that have two-axis motion control, position sensing at 100,000 pps, three communication ports, and embedded PID instructions. Other introductions included new programming for Q Series PLCs reducing programming time and a "super-micro" PLC.

  • Lord Corp. (Cary, N.C.) offered an update on its magnetorheological (MR) fluid technology for motion control. Teaming up with leading hardware suppliers is a key part of this initiative (see following example). Benefits of MR fluid come from its change of state to a semi-solid material that provides force or torque control when under an applied magnetic field.

  • In Parker-Hannifin 's (Cleveland, O.) implementation (beta site), MR fluid replaces a linear brake in parallel with a standard pneumatic cylinder, the 2MA. The new unit is programmable for speed cycles and an infinite number of positions.

  • Phoenix Contact 's (Harrisburg, Pa.) DIN-rail-mountable serial data isolators and converters offer conversion and isolation of RS-232, RS-422, RS-485, and TTY (digital current loop) communications.

  • Besides wireless and Microsoft Windows CE technology, Rockwell Automation (Milwaukee, Wis.) exhibited small operator interfaces intended for limited spaces (PanelView 300 and 600), Process Logix starter kit for entry-level process control users, and new redundancy for SLC 500 controllers via a back-up scanner module.

  • SST (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), part of Woodhead Connectivity , released PICS Simulation 4.0, a 32-bit version of its I/O simulation software. PICS Simulation 4.0 provides added functionality to both end-users and system integrators for testing their logic control programs via simulation. The company also introduced the addition of PC Card bus format to its DeviceNet family of "Pro" interface cards. SST DeviceNet PC Card interface card is software compatible with all other SST DeviceNet interface cards (PCI, ISA, and PC/104), and provides an upgrade path from the Standard DN family of interface cards.

  • Wonderware Corp. (Irvine, Calif.) and Day & Zimmermann International Inc . (DZII, Philadelphia, Pa.) announced a partnership that will result in implementation of intelligent maintenance systems and consulting services for their mutual customers. DZII will support and use Avantis software as a preferred asset management implementation application within its Asset Productivity Services SM business.

  • Yaskawa Electric (Waukegan, Ill.) introduced MP940, a one and one-half axis motion controller providing integral mounting with all its Sigma II servo drives.

  • North East Electronics Controls Inc. (Maumee, O.) showed its motion controllers and support software (setup, tuning, and operator interface) intended for machine builders. Completing the product offering were dc and brushless servo motors in the 0.1-20 Nm range, as well as complementary servo amplifiers from the company's European partner, Axor Industries (Vicenza, Italy).

  • Magnequench Inc. (An erson, Ind.), said to be the world's largest producer of neodymium magnetic powders and magnets, showed its resources and processing capabilities. In particular, neodymium-iron-boron (N-Fe-B) magnets provide the highest energy content available from a magnet. Magnequench currently offers the NeoMag brand of magnets in three compression-molded product classes of increasing energy content.

  • WEG Motors & Drives (Atlanta, Ga.), the large Brazilian motors and drives manufacturer, has added servo drives to its North American product line. These were shown alongside its ac motors and drives.

  • Among MagneTek Drives (New Berlin, Wis.) products was GPD 515 ac drive. A new enhancement provides the ability to "flash" custom programs into the drive that tailor it for specific applications—such as electronic gearing control.

  • Pacific Scientific (Rockford, Ill.) emphasized servo products with unusually short, five-day delivery time, such as its PC800 Series. The latest in the family, PC832 Digital Brushless drive, was among products shown. PacSci held a novel press conference focusing on "users' view" of its servo products. Three companies with diverse applications gave presentations. They were Bell & Howell (Chicago) for high-speed sorters and feeders, Machine Builders & Design Inc. (Shelby, N.C.) for cookie and cake processing machines, and Wright Industries Inc. (Nashville, Tenn.), a robotics integrator and machinery builder that used an optical lens forming process as one of example applications. Servo technology provided tangible benefits to all these users.

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