Technologies abound at Hannover Fair '98

The second 50 years began well for the "world's largest industrial fair." Hannover Fair '98 drew 7,519 exhibitors and 320,000 visitors—both outstripping last year's results.Non-German exhibitors reached 44% of the total, and occupied 91,000 m² of display space (28.


The second 50 years began well for the "world's largest industrial fair." Hannover Fair '98 drew 7,519 exhibitors and 320,000 visitors—both outstripping last year's results.

Non-German exhibitors reached 44% of the total, and occupied 91,000 mconomic downturn. The Philippines—Partner Country to the fair—showcased 100 firms. The People's Republic of China had the second largest Asian showing with 88 companies.

Redesign of stands was in vogue, particularly in Hall 11—home of the fair's giant companies. Energy-related themes and products were prominent here. Siemens ' main stand had a more open look with a "boardwalk" down its length. "Energy Needs Intelligent Solutions" was the theme at Siemens. Its Sirius 3R low-voltage switchgear line, introduced here last year, still received major emphasis. Siemens' other large stand (in Hall 16) concentrated on its Automation and Drives Group.

ABB 's main theme was also energy related. Enhancements to its Advant OCS line included Microsoft-Windows NT workstations with new interfaces to Profibus, Interbus, and SERCOS protocols. The company's ACS 1000 medium-voltage drive (introduced in 4Q97) was also launched in Germany. The strategy targets OEM buyers, who create large systems for end-users in various process industries.

Klöckner-Moeller emphasized the system concept and global customer service, while demonstrating power distribution, switchgear, and motor protection products.

Rockwell Automation 's new look included a Hollywood movie theater motif with popcorn served out front and three programs in English- and German-language versions. The "flicks" screened included "Automation World" and "The Rockwell Software Story." Booth displays stressed total solutions, communications, and interconnections among the triumvirate of Ethernet-ControlNet-DeviceNet. Rockwell Software and Semiconductor Systems were well-represented by the company's business units.

Team effort showed in GE 's combination of its various divisions (GE Fanuc, GE Industrial Control Systems, GE Power Management, and others) in one display. Its products range from medium-voltage drives (Innovation Series) and PLCs (VersaMax controller and I/O system) to process integration.

Also sporting a different look, the Profibus User Organization 's booth featured numerous open-device partners stressing a gamut of applications. Diverse usage was also the theme at the substantial Interbus Club stand. Other popular communication networks and buses were well represented. Located far from other network offerings, ControlNet International 's booth carried the message of its association members. A sampling of members includes Aspen Technology , Festo , and SS Technology .

Compact CPI subracks, VME 64X power supplies, and backplanes for the above were among new products displayed at the Hoffman-Schroff stand. Schroff's electrical products complement and expand Hoffman's traditional enclosure offerings. Cabinets include EMC-types that feature special RFI gasketing.

Crowded booths were the norm on the software front, where Ci Technologies , Intellution , and National Instruments displayed their products. Wonderware held FactorySuite 2000 demos in both English and German. A FactorySuite edition of Inform Software 's FuzzyTech module was introduced (see CE , May 1998, p. 2).

WEG , the expanding Brazilian manufacturer, displayed a variety of motor and drive products. WEG claims to be the fifth largest motor producer in the world; its main goal is to be the largest by 2007, says a company spokesperson. Product introductions included WEG's motor-drive package, called Motordrive, rated up to 3.7 kW with IP55 protection.

Hannover Fair '99 will run from April 19 to 24, 1999.

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