Siemens expresses confidence in Exider investment

Siemens Energy & Automation expressed confidence in ability for integrated automation to help North American manufacturing; one demonstration of this confidence is the 14-car Siemens Exider Technology Train exhibit, now on its third continent.


Click here to read about Control Engineering's tour of the Exider exhibit .

Siemens Energy & Automation expressed confidence in ability for integrated automation to help North American manufacturing; one demonstration of this confidence is the 14-car Siemens Exider Technology Train exhibit, now on its third continent.

Siemens says it has invested $16 million, including purchasing and outfitting the train and touring Europe, China, and the U.S. On top of shipping it here, staffing, and transportation the company paid "rush charges" by airlifting the train from a ship that had left China, but was delayed en route to the U.S. by a typhoon. Siemens arranged for the airlift rather than have the train be late for the first "station" in North America: National Manufacturing Week, Feb. 23-26, 2004, in Chicago, according to Aubert Martin, president and CEO of Siemens E&A. More than 100,000 people in Europe and Asia have seen the Siemens Exider exhibit over the past two years. More than 16,000 visitors are expected to tour the train as it stops in 21 North American cities in U.S., Mexico, and Canada.

"We’re here to share experiences and ideas," Martin told a Chicago crowd at the opening. "There’s a positive future for U.S. manufacturing, and Siemens can provide the resources to be more competitive," he noted. The Exider train—believed the first train to travel from Europe to China to the U.S.—rolled on to a 10-city U.S. tour, with additional stops planned in Mexico and Canada. The NMW exhibit with the train (the only time it’s left the tracks for display) covered 7,000 square feet of McCormick Place; wait time to tour sometimes exceeded an hour. The tour generally takes around an hour, depending on how long the passengers engage the on-board experts.

After Chicago, the train stopped in Greer, S.C., Atlanta, New York, Boston, Detroit, and Houston. Between the Houston stop in early April and Los Angeles in May, the train will be on loan to Grupo Siemens S.A. de C.V. in Mexico, with stops in Montery, Irapuato, Mexico City, Puebla, and Guadalajara. Remaining U.S. stops are Los Angeles (May 13), San Francisco (May 18), and Seattle (May 25). After Seattle it will continue north for a tour with Siemens Canada Ltd. Canadian cities in June 2004 include Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto.

More than 40,000 Siemens products, systems, and solutions are on view (actual product demos along with application-based and product information on 224 plasma screens and monitors, 189 DVD players, four servers, 9 miles of electric cables, and nearly 2 miles of data lines. On-board examples include sensors, transmitters, vision systems, and even drives used in train locomotives. Applications are shown for pharmaceutical and chemical industries, automobile manufacturing, commercial power distribution, and other sectors. In the process automation section, visitors pass through a tube showing video of process industry planning steps. A simulated control room oversees the entire production process in detail. For more, see "Exider displays aim to excite visitors about automation potential," below.

"Siemens Energy and Automation does things differently in the marketplace," said Thomas E. Kopanski, vice president and general manager of Siemens E&A, Automation and Motion Division. Kopanski told Control Engineering recently that he hopes Exider helps end the "best-kept secret" about Siemens’ breadth of experience in offering "Totally Integrated Automation." Integrated solutions can help end-users and OEMs be more competitive in their marketplaces, he suggested. Moving information efficiently through the plant prepares a company for the advantages in supply chain integration. Kopanski adds that Siemens continues to innovate with more than $7 million invested annually in research and development. The train extends that spirit of commitment, he said, although it would have to be miles long if it physically displayed every Siemens product.

In all, the Siemens Exider train toured 10 countries in Europe and 43 cities in 2002, 9 countries and 46 cities in Asia in 2003, and will complete 3 countries and 21 cities in 2004.

For more information about Exider and NMW, see previous Control Engineering coverage and Siemens’ U.S. Exider Website . Canada schedule details will be at Siemens’ Canada Exider Website .

—Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering editor in chief,

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