Siemens Automation Summit widens its scope


Las Vegas, NV —With around 700 end-users out of more than 900 total attendees, the 2nd annual Siemens Automation Summit, held here June 5-8, 2006, lived up to its billing as a “users conference.” Expanding substantially on last year’s process-oriented conference, the 2006 Summit highlighted all company divisions—discrete manufacturing as well as process industries. Some 190 technology presentations, including breakout sessions and training classes helped to hold attendees’ interest amidst other attractions of Las Vegas. A Solution Showcase area displayed Siemens’ across-the-board technologies, while 31 key Siemens Automation Partners exhibited products and services in the Solution Partners Pavilion.

Aubert Martin, president & CEO of Siemens Energy & Automation Inc.,

Aubert Martin, president & CEO of Siemens Energy & Automation Inc., reviewed the company’s giant footprint on the automation and technology scene worldwide, as well as in the U.S. He cited special emphasis on research and development: $6.6 billion spent on R&D in fiscal 2005; 30,000 software engineers in its employ; 53,000 active patents—making it number one in Germany, second in Europe, and tenth in the U.S.

In the U.S., Siemens employs 70,000, with one in ten people and $900 million dedicated to R&D. “Of Siemens’total sales, 75% come from products new in the last five years,” said Martin. As for Siemens E&A, it comprises 9,000 people, 28 manufacturing, assembly, and distribution sites, and three R&D facilities. Martin regards the U.S. as still the largest single automation market in the world. “For Siemens, the U.S. represents 20% of worldwide sales, and we’re‘shooting’ for 30%,” added Martin.

‘Winning together’

Under the theme of “Winning Together,” the summit sought to share innovative ideas and best practices among the attendees. Thomas Kopanski, vice president, Automation and Motion Div., Siemens E&A, stated that today’s automation and technology environment calls for “radical innovation”—rather than the more familiar incremental innovation. “It’s a high-risk and high-reward environment,” said Kopanski. One way to address the environment of radical innovation is by cooperative partners working together. “Technology is only an enabler. Partnership and collaboration with Siemens mitigates the risk,” he explained, reminding the audience that Siemens is only as successful as its customers, partners, and integrators.

Goal of conference was to immerse attendees in educational opportunities about the breadth of automation and related technologies available from Siemens and its partners. Some 250 customers received training during the summit, according to Kopanski. An underlying conference theme was the lower total cost of ownership over an application’s lifetime espoused by use of Siemens automation solutions. Meanwhile, breakout sessions covered a gamut of topics, of which a small sampling follows.

In “Food & Beverage Strategy Overview,” Siegfried Oblasser, vice president of Siemens E&A Food & Beverage Competence Center, remarked that the arena represents a huge automation potential for discrete controls. The “market is resilient to recession” and among its drivers are low-margin products, which link into supply chain management, he stated. “Siemens provides leadership to pursue new automation strategies in cooperation with key customers,” said Oblasser.

Raj Batra, vice president, NAFTA Automotive at Siemens E&A Automotive Business Unit, commented on the company’s substantial presence in this sector today, compared to the past in his “Automotive Strategy Update,” presentation. “Ten years ago Siemens was not a factor in the U.S. automotive arena,” said Batra. Now an offering and product is in place for North America with single-point accountability and responsibility, but global in scope, feel, and touch, he explained. “Most success is seen in the power-train sector,” said Batra, and mentioned major contract wins versus Rockwell Automation and Schneider Electric.

“Improving Machine Design through Mechatronic Analysis,” presented by Dr. Razvan Panaitescu, consulting systems engineer, Siemens E&A Motion Control Systems, outlined value-add services available for machine builder customers. Mechatronic support is available from conceptual design to the operation stage of a machine by measuring parameters such as friction, damping, and vibrations, explained Panaitescu. Modeling and analysis then allow building of a “virtual machine” to eliminate oscillations, resonance, and other detrimental machine effects. “The benefit is significant reduction of time-to-market using virtual prototyping,” he said.

John Ryan, team leader, packaging solutions, Siemens E&A Automation and Motion Div., gave a forward-looking view of safety in motion systems in “Pioneering Safety Strategies for Motion Control Applications.” Changes to NFPA 79 are heading toward allowing safety-integrated features into drives and motion control systems. When accepted and approved by NFPA, motion safety integration promises to benefit users with more application flexibility, simpler installations, and increased plant efficiency through longer MTBF and diagnostic features.

Excellence awards

Also part of Automation Summit 2006 was the presentation of Siemens Customer Excellence Awards to five U.S. companies “ in recognition of outstanding achievement in the implementation and use of Siemens technology.” These awards were open to end-user and OEM manufacturing companies currently using Siemens technology. A panel of Siemens senior and product management representatives selected the recipients.

“The Customer Excellence Award honors our customers who have shown ingenuity and creativity in deploying Siemens leading edge technology and products,” said Aubert Martin, Siemens E&A president. “They have gone the extra mile to help end-users achieve the greatest return on investment and we greatly appreciate their commitment to Siemens.”

Martin presented the awards to the following companies:

  • Air Products and Chemicals (Wichita, KS plant). Air Products is a top world supplier of gases, chemicals, and equipment to high growth markets, including electronics, performance materials, refinery, hydrogen and energy, and healthcare.


  • Astec Industries (Chattanooga, TN), a manufacturer of specialized equipment for building and restoring the world’s infrastructure in four business segments: aggregate processing and mining; asphalt production; mobile asphalt paving; and underground drilling and trenching.


  • CoilPro Machinery (Southington, CT), which designs and manufactures custom-built machinery for all facets of the coil processing industry, including slitters for ferrous/non-ferrous materials and rewinders for conventional or traverse wound spools, single strand and multi strand.


  • E&I Sales (Tulsa, OK) is a high-volume distributorship for electric motors.


  • Prism Systems (Mobile, AL) works with advanced technology and world-class solutions in the industrial, marine, manufacturing, and IT markets, employing a diverse group of engineering, software, and project management professionals.

Another Automation Summit is planned for 2007 in Orlando, FL; details will be announced later.

—Control Engineering Daily News Desk

Frank J. Bartos , executive editor

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