National Industrial Automation Show shines at National Manufacturing Week

Expected to draw more than 21,000 visitors and about 215 exhibitors, this year's National Industrial Automation Show (NIAS) may have eclipsed its own expectations. Final attendance figures aren't available yet, but many aisles were jammed during much of the event, especially on March 17 and 18 when control and automation professionals swarmed the south building at McCormick Place, Chicago.

04/01/1998


Expected to draw more than 21,000 visitors and about 215 exhibitors, this year's National Industrial Automation Show (NIAS) may have eclipsed its own expectations. Final attendance figures aren't available yet, but many aisles were jammed during much of the event, especially on March 17 and 18 when control and automation professionals swarmed the south building at McCormick Place, Chicago.

Visitors viewed numerous products and took in many presentations, including a dazzling Cutler-Hammer/Eaton display featuring an all-in-black, Madonna-style chorus line that sang and danced throughout the show. This marked a distinct style change from previous company displays.

Part of the overall National Manufacturing Week (NMW) event, other NIAS highlights included press events and product releases from some of the field's biggest names [See this issue's Up Front section, as well as the May issue of Control Engineering , for some of the most significant releases].

In addition, one of the awards recognizing the best new products at NMW's four shows was presented March 17 to Or Industrial Computers (Fairfax, Va.) for its PC Compact, which includes a DIN-rail-mounted industrial PC with a full complement of PC functions. [For more information, see the Control Engineering 1997 Automation Hardware Guide , pg. 22]

During one press conference, Deloitte & Touche Consulting (New York, N.Y.) released its 1998 Visions in Manufacturing report. This study found that electronic commerce—including Internet purchases—has led to an era in which manufacturers can gain or lose "virtual customers" at any moment with the click of a mouse button.

To successfully adapt and stay in business in this new environment, Deloitte & Touche found that manufacturers must build information technology networks to help gather data on customers' desires, and then quickly convert them into new products and services. The study added that these networks will likely resemble the human body's nervous system, and that it's blood will consist of information pushed through the organization via sales force automation, computer-aided design, enterprise resource planning, and other software applications.





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