Solutions soar at National Manufacturing Week

Thousands of innovative solutions and useful products from hundreds of exhibitors lit up the National Industrial Automation Show and five other events at National Manufacturing Week 2003 on March 3-6 at McCormick Place. Here are some of the show's most significant releases and exhibits:


Chicago, IL -Thousands of innovative solutions and useful products from hundreds of exhibitors lit up the National Industrial Automation Show and five other events at National Manufacturing Week 2003 on March 3-6 at McCormick Place. Here are some of the show's most significant releases and exhibits:

  • Based on the same concept as a mobile telephone, PST Softstarter from ABB Automation Technology Products AB (Vasteras, Sweden) uses a simple, four-button keypad, and communicates with users in a dozen native languages, rather than usual coded letters and figures.

  • ipd , the intelligent products division of Coreco Imaging Inc. (Billerica, MA), introduced iLabel, its latest machine vision appliance. Requiring only minutes of setup time, iLabel accurately checks the placement and quality of labels on bottles, boxes, cans and other packaged goods. iLabel will be available for sale in April 2003. iLabel first verifies that the correct label is present and properly placed on the package. It then detects flags, tears and damage to the label, and inspects each one for significant defects such as smears, splatter and contamination. iLabel reports measurements of quality, placement position and angle, and issues an overall grade of pass, fail or recycle for each label.

  • To extend intelligent Ethernet solutions to the factory floor, Cisco Systems Inc. (San Jose, CA) announced March 3 its Cisco Catalyst 2955 Series, which is a rugged switch for harsh environments. Catalyst 2955 is a compact, 12-port LAN switch that combines wire-speed Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity with intelligent switching services, including security, availability and quality of service, which Cisco reports is provided end-to-end by the Cisco Catalyst family.

  • Digi Connect 50 device server from Digi International Inc. (Minnetonka, MN) uses the NET +50 NetSilicon processor to provide complete external network connectivity that can be customized for specific applications. It also has a full Board Support Package (BSP) integrated into the NetOS, which eliminates the time required for hardware code writing, and allows users to focus on building their firmware.

  • Lapp USA (Florham Park, NJ) exhibited its new lines of Epic pin-and-sleeve global power connectors, which conform to IEC 309-2. Epic's Multimax connectors are designed so they can be assembled in less than 20 seconds, while Lapp's Ulysse interlocked switched socket outlets are prewired.

  • National Instruments (NI, Austin, TX) extended the power of its LabView and motion control software with its new Piezo Tuning Wizard software, which allows users to more easily tune and control piezo-based motors in high-precision applications by eliminating unwanted velocity spikes and reducing oscillations. Piezo Tuning Wizard also cuts development time with an easy-to-use interface for characterizing and tuning piezo motors, and helps developers take advantage of the new static friction compensation feature in the company's NI-Motion 5.2 driver software.

  • To simplify information sharing in industrial and commercial applications, Schneider Electric (Palatine, IL) is extending its web-enabled products to include power distribution equipment. These products, known collectively as Transparent Ready, consist of new power distribution equipment with embedded web servers and direct Ethernet connectivity. Schneider also released two more Transparent Ready developments: incorporation of Real Time Publish-Subscribe protocol from Real Time Innovations Inc. into Schneider's automation architecture for distributed communications; and introduction of Altivar 58 TRX , a new Ethernet-ready AC drive (see related item under Products & Software).

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