ISA 2002: Status report on Interkama 2004

Chicago, IL - During the ISA show, on Oct. 22, 2002, organizers of Interkama-''the world's No. 1 trade fair for the process industries''-reviewed the status and progress on staging the next Interkama fair, slated for early 2004 in Düsseldorf, Germany.


Chicago, IL - During the ISA show, on Oct. 22, 2002, organizers of Interkama-''the world's No. 1 trade fair for the process industries''-reviewed the status and progress on staging the next Interkama fair, slated for early 2004 in Düsseldorf, Germany. If proper planning is any measure of a trade fair's ultimate success, then Interkama 2004 is right on course.

How is this topic related to an ISA show? It's due to a business connection between Interkama and ISA -the Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society. Both are members of an international partnership of 16 trade fairs associated with instruments, measurement, and automation, called World-F.I.M.A.

Core exhibits unchanged

Interkama 2004 (Feb. 16-20, 2004) intends to remain steadfast to its core areas and exhibit categories-from measurement equipment to integrated solutions-but ''the scope of the show has been enlarged to include certain aspects of automation technology in manufacturing as well as new service issues,'' according to Wilhelm Niedergöker, managing director of Messe Düsseldorf, the show organizer.

Automation at Interkama includes the seamless linking of numerous technologies: sensors, mechatronics, software, communications, systems engineering, and information technology (IT). ''Automation is also a reflection of and the engine for the user industries, which develop according to new technologies,'' said Mr. Niedergöker

More than 800 exhibitors and 40,000 visitors from around the world are expected to take part in Interkama 2004. The show's international scope reflects from results of the 2001 event, when exhibitors from 33 nations and visitors from 66 countries participated, with 44% of visitors coming from outside of European Union countries.

Exhibits for Interkama 2004 will focus on four major areas:

  • Automation and IT solutions-including tools for management of assets, logistics, and manufacturing, along with e-business and Internet-based products

  • Control systems-comprising process control, SCADA, image processing, and communications. Drive systems, HMI, industrial PCs, and analyzer systems round out the sector

  • Instrumentation-focusing on various types of controllers, sensors/measuring equipment, drives (for actuators, servos, motion), switchgear, auxiliary power supplies, etc.

  • Engineering, maintenance, services-including services for a wide range of engineering projects, system integration, IT, and the Internet.

A Forum Program will again be part of Interkama, as was the case at the previous show in 2001. The bilingual German/English program will give visitors added information on the latest automation topics and issues-by means of expert panel discussions, lectures, and other delivery formats. Free to all visitors, this open forum will be held on the exhibit floor of Interkama's halls.

Automation technology outlook

A realistic outlook on issues facing manufacturers of automation technology was also part of the presentations. Anton S. Huber, president of Interkama 2004, who also is group vice president of Siemens Automation and Drives (Nuremberg, Germany), delivered a five-point presentation of these near-future issues:

  • Developments in global automation markets

  • Customer requirements

  • Trends in automation technology

  • Asset management

  • E-business.

Some excerpts from Mr. Huber's comments follow.

''The weakness of the economy has lasted longer and has been more pronounced than we had initially expected. Projected trends .show that we are moving past the turning point this year, but also that we can expect only slight growth in 2003,'' stated Mr. Huber relative to global automation market developments . ''As a result, sales forecasts for automation in the coming year need to be very conservative.''

He went on to explain that, based on recent surveys, the global economy is recovering, but at a slower pace than previously expected. Major automation markets, such as the European Union and the U.S. are weak. ''It seems they are even slowing down again before the recovery can really take hold. Only Asia is experiencing ongoing growth,'' he said. Still, Interkama regards automation as a major industrial growth sector, projecting an average annual growth rate of about 3% for the medium term.

Remarking on trends in automation technology , Mr. Huber sees profound changes that ''virtually amount to a paradigm shift.'' In contrast to prior, fragmented automation solutions having ''few links to the rest of a company's communications network,'' he noted, '', and with increasing significance in the future, automation technology relies on distributed intelligence and networking....Worldwide communications via the Internet, such as remote diagnostics and tele-service, are increasingly included in advanced automation concepts.''

Also vital to automation is state-of-the-art information technology and vertical data integration within an enterprise-that is, two-way data flow reaching to all levels of activity in the workplace. ''Vertical IT integration enables, and indeed demands, automation of the automation. In other words, entire sub-processes can be modularized and standardized,'' continued Mr. Huber. This leads to lower costs for engineering and investments, together with higher productivity.

Mr. Huber further regards asset management as directly affecting today's automation strategies. For example, data consistency coming from vertical IT integration now allows companies to perform asset management on a much larger scale than before-and make the management more location-specific. More companies operate worldwide and have global manufacturing networks, which require the latest management tools to process and provide up-to-date information. This is where an appropriate Enterprise Asset Management system, quite likely Web-based, can come into play.

''The progressive convergence of automation and information technology will continue to create great opportunities for future productivity improvement and is far from over. In fact, the age of automation has only just begun,'' concluded Mr. Huber.

Looking ahead

Between now and Interkama 2004, several World-F.I.M.A. shows will take place.

Just around the corner is BIAS (30th International Automation, Instrumentation, and Microelectronics Conference and Exhibition) on Nov. 19-23, 2002, in Milan, Italy. (For more information, visit By the way, Control Engineering and CE-Europe will be among the exhibitors at BIAS 2002.

Other notable events are the premiere staging of Interkama shows in China and India, sheduled for 2003. Interkama China will run during March 18-21, 2003 at the new Pudong/Shanghai Exhibition Center, while Interkama India debuts on September 24-27 at the new Hitex Exhibition Center in Hyderabad. ( Click here to read more news about these shows.)

Indicating a more expanded role for Interkama-style trade fairs in the future, Mr. Niedergöker of Messe Düsseldorf mentioned that his organization was thinking about such potential venues as Interkama East Europe and Interkama Russia.

For more information on visiting or exhibiting at Interkama 2004, contact Messe Düsseldorf North America or tel: 312/781-5180; fax: 312/781-5188.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Frank J, Bartos, executive editor

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