Interkama ’99 Resumes Its Lead Role for Process Automation

A technological "Watch on the Rhine" of giant proportions will be staged in Düsseldorf in mid-October, when 80,000 worldwide visitors are expected to partake of the latest offerings of 1,500 exhibitors and two extensive conferences at "the world's number one international trade fair for measurement and automation technology.

By Frank J. Bartos, Control Engineering September 1, 1999
At a Glance
Dates: October 18-23, 1999
Location: Fairgrounds Düsseldorf, Germany
Exhibit hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Contact: Messe Düsseldorf North America (Chicago) Fax: +1 312/781-5188
ISA Fax: +1 919/549-8288
Software Competence Center
North American Pavilion

A technological “Watch on the Rhine” of giant proportions will be staged in Düsseldorf in mid-October, when 80,000 worldwide visitors are expected to partake of the latest offerings of 1,500 exhibitors and two extensive conferences at “the world’s number one international trade fair for measurement and automation technology.”

The occasion is Interkama ’99—International Trade Fair for Industrial Communication, Automation, Measurement, and Analytics. And this year’s fair is all the more anticipated because a one-time schedule readjustment added an extra year to the show’s normal triennial format.

Caliber of visitors can be an informal rating of a show and a factor to attract exhibitors. Show organizer Messe Dusseldorf GmbH emphasizes the fair’s draw of “quality” visitors. At Interkama ’95, 67% of visitors were either business decision-makers or participants in purchasing decisions. Top three categories of visitor interest by product sector were controllers/control systems (46%), monitoring systems (44%), and sensors (43%).

Wider horizons

In 1999, Interkama expands its horizons, adding “Industrial Communication” to the traditional technology coverage. “Focus will be on complete sector-specific solutions that cover communication processes from the lowest level in the plant or factory right up to the industrial management level,” says Messe Düsseldorf.

Automation remains a key sector, but enterprise-wide knowledge management—a new and growing element—demands to be recognized. “Interkama can no longer be a fair dedicated to only production process level automation and control,” explains Prof. Hartwig U. Steusloff, member of the board of Interkama ’99 and managing director of Fraunhofer Institute for Information and Data Processing. “Process automation occurs in each layer of the enterprise processing model…challenges for production enterprises—coming from market needs, environmental protection regulations, and legal constraints—can only be met if all available information in all layers is accessible and usable to optimize operations of the entire enterprise,” he adds.

Besides core process-related technologies, and new special emphasis on industrial communication and data networks/bus systems, Interkama’s larger scope will also encompass:

  • Intelligent field devices;

  • Human-machine interfaces;

  • Intrinsically safe systems/devices;

  • Enterprise management systems;

  • Sensors and industrial measurement methods;

  • Quality assurance and testing equipment;

  • Monitoring and weighing systems;

  • Actuators and drives;

  • Analytical instruments; and

  • Automation services.

Software solutions and tools shine. Microsoft Windows technology, particularly Windows CE, will be in the forefront, due to its significance to today’s process controls. Internet and its related technologies (Java, ActiveX, etc.) will also be highlighted. The fair’s dual conferences will address many issues associated with these software developments.

Halls and floor plans are laid out in themes to maximize visitors’ information transfer and minimize walking distances, according to the show organizers. For example, Halls 9 and 10 will focus on sensors and industrial measurement technologies.

International profile

Interkama ’99 continues its tradition of attracting a worldwide audience. The 1995 show drew 1,488 exhibitors from 28 countries and 82,000 visitors from 83 nations, 26% from outside Germany. On the exhibitors’ side, 25% were non-German. Traditionally strong exhibitor countries—the Netherlands, Great Britain, Switzerland, the U.S., and France—are again expected in force. The rest of Europe, Asia, and other world regions will also be there.

From a statistical viewpoint, international trade fairs can skew the “nationality” of exhibiting companies. This often involves large corporations, particularly U.S. companies, with divisions and subsidiaries in Europe and elsewhere. The local division is usually in charge of exhibiting at the show, and therefore statistics will place that company in the “in-country” category.

Dual conferences

A notable first in 1999 will be the Interkama-ISA Tech Conference, set to run during the fair’s first three days (Oct. 18-20). Developed by ISA, the international society for measurement and control (Research Triangle Park, N.C.)—along with Messe Düsseldorf and 18 technical associations from Europe, Asia, and the U.S.—the conference reflects the fair’s wider scope.

Topics are not confined to measurement, control, and automation. Coverage includes “selection and integration [of such systems and devices] into a company’s production and operational processes, as well as production/site management problems,” explains Fraunhofer Institute’s Prof. Steusloff, who is also a member of the conference steering committee. “Impact of legislation and training issues are also on the agenda,” he adds. The conference has seven main themes:

Automation and control —with focus on corporate functions such as new technology introduction and staff training;

Batch management —stressing flexible production methods for chemical and pharmaceutical industries;

Emerging technologies —as ways to improve production efficiency/quality and cut product development cycles;

Management issues —looking at the impact of automation and control information on total enterprise management;

Networking and communications —including fieldbus standardization, productive use of the Internet, and how worldwide networks can smooth corporate processes;

Productivity and flexibility —examining ways to make improvements via IT, software, measurability of system variables, and staff training; and

Safety and environmental —looking at regulatory issues in plant shutdown, human safety factors, and the global environment.

Each day’s sessions in Hall 6 start with a plenary address followed by four technical presentations by international experts. These include papers, workshops, and tutorials. ISA Tech Conference comprises 21 plenary addresses and 84 technical sessions. Admission is free to show registrants.

A second conference, Chemputers Europe 5, will follow on Oct. 21-23 (last three days of the show). Organized by McGraw-Hill (New York, N.Y.), Chemputers Conference concentrates on tools/software for product engineering, as well as production facilities design for chemical industries. Topics range from enterprise computing and computerized maintenance to process design/optimization and embedded systems.

Interkama also aims to improve research-to-business dialog for industrial users. University research institutes and laboratories will highlight their developments under the theme of “Applied Research Technology Market” in Hall 10. Technologies ready for the marketplace and licensing will be featured.

Sampling of exhibitors

At this year’s Interkama show, Invensys Intelligent Automation (Foxboro, Mass.) will demonstrate “Technology for an Intelligent World,” featuring open, sensor-to-boardroom automation solutions. This includes intelligent instrumentation, I/A Series control systems, and LifeTime Performance Services from Invensys companies such as Foxboro , Foxboro Eckardt , Eurotherm , Gestra , Simulation Sciences , and Wonderware .

A first-time Interkama exhibitor, SAPAG (Walldorf, Germany), joined with process control system vendors and certified partners to build a demonstration model illustrating how a production plant should integrate into the supply chain. A two-part ice cream production line, with mixing and packaging operations, demonstrates the process. Sequencia Corp. (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Honeywell IAC (also Phoenix) are involved in the mixing process. Honeywell’s TotalPlant Batch (a licensed version of Sequencia’s OpenBatch) and Sequencia Production Manager will automate the demo’s recipes. The latter’s software integrates batch automation data with SAP R/3 business system. The demo includes SAP modules, such as Advanced Planner and Optimizer, Quality Management, Plant Maintenance, and a process-industry-specific module.

Siemens (Alpharetta, Ga.; Erlangen, Germany) is set to show its global image as a solutions and services provider for both process engineering and manufacturing industries. Three Siemens groups: Automation & Drives, Industrial Projects & Technical Services, and Power Generation will participate in the company’s 2000 m

Fairchild Industrial Products Co. (Winston Salem, N.C.) will feature its new high-flow I/P transducer along with other products in its pneumatic and electropneumatic lines. “Fairchild views the Interkama exhibition as a unique venue for introducing new product designs and strengthening its presence in the European marketplace,” comments Thomas McNichol, vp of sales.

Exhibits at Mitsubishi Electric (Vernon Hills, Ill.; Ratingen, Germany) will include an integrated application of various machine builders for the plastic industries; first showing of the so-called PMSXpro system for the process industries developed jointly with Philips Automation Projects (Kassel, Germany); and introduction of a new networking concept open to various products of other suppliers. Other technologies on display will be PLCs, operator interfaces, inverters, servos, and robots.

Fluid Components International (FCI, San Marcos, Calif.) will exhibit in the stand of its German representative, Binder Engineering (Ulm, Germany). One highlight is FCI’s new FlexMASSter ST98 flowmeter using thermal dispersion technology for high-demand gas metering applications. ST98 offers high precision over a wide flow range (accuracy: Control Engineering will also exhibit at Interkama ’99. Look in on us in, in Hall 8, Stand 8F26.

Software Competence Center

Reflecting software’s growing role in industrial automation and control, Interkama ’99 will spotlight software solutions for a wide range of applications in a central location (Hall 7). Interconnection of intelligent production systems with corporate management systems through software is the focus.

Software Competence Center will house major software companies, suppliers, and independent information technology experts. More than 100 international software companies are expected to display products in this special venue. Among the exhibitors are market leaders and pioneers like IBM , Intellution , Microsoft , OPC Foundation , SAP , and Wonderware .

A gamut of software solutions for process technologies in the widest sense—including CAD, CAE, MES, and ERP systems—will be featured in the center, indicating their importance to the modern industrial enterprise.

North American Pavilion

Interkama ’99 will have special appeal for North American exhibitors and visitors. U.S.-based ISA, the international society for measurement and control, will debut here with a technical conference that parallels the exhibition.

Companies at Interkama have a choice in presenting their image to visitors. They can exhibit independently or in a North American Pavilion. The pavilion is organized by Messe Düsseldorf North America (MDNA)—U.S. subsidiary of the fair organizer—and cosponsored by ISA. “The North American Pavilion provides a cost-effective means for companies to enter into or expand their business in the lucrative overseas market,” states MDNA.

Located in Hall 8, the pavilion offers a turnkey approach for companies to secure a complete exhibit booth along with all related trade-fair services.