It’s Showtime!

Well, you asked for it. The 1998 edition of one of the world's largest manufacturing and technology shows is tanned, rested, and ready to go seamless.Evolving as a result of recent feedback from visitors and exhibitors requesting an even more streamlined and workable event, this year's National Industrial Automation Show (NIAS), and the three other shows that make up National Manufacturin...

By Jim Montague, CONTROL ENGINEERING February 1, 1998
  • Industrial control

  • Open architecture

  • Fieldbus

  • Process control systems

  • PC-based control

  • Human-machine interface

  • Communications

  • Motor controllers

Siemens Unveils New Motor Controller Family
Highlights for the 21st Century
On-Line, Virtual, and Show Daily Sources Available

Well, you asked for it. The 1998 edition of one of the world’s largest manufacturing and technology shows is tanned, rested, and ready to go seamless.

Evolving as a result of recent feedback from visitors and exhibitors requesting an even more streamlined and workable event, this year’s National Industrial Automation Show (NIAS), and the three other shows that make up National Manufacturing Week (NMW), will have 100 technical sessions in a unified set of 17 topic-specific tracks, a new National Industrial Enterprise IT Show, and 15 special focus product pavilions.

These new features will join about 250 NIAS exhibitors for a total of 2,000 at NMW. All are focused on giving NMW’s more than 65,000 visitors and buyers—47% from the process fields—the technology, trends, ideas, and strategies they’ll need to compete in 2000 and beyond. NMW is sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers (Washington, D.C.) and 35 other associations, organizations, and business and technology publications, including Control Engineering .

NMW’s gathering of three formerly separate shows under one umbrella parallels the recent evolution of manufacturing as a whole. Where once there were distinct fields that overlapped slightly, the emergence of PCs, software, and other technological advances are driving an increasing coalescence among the design, control, and plant engineering sides of manufacturing. As a result, many attendees may need NMW’s unparalleled networking opportunities, and the chance to meet people and organizations they might not know about if the four shows hadn’t been combined.

Representing a greater than $121 billion market, NIAS will showcase products, solutions, systems, and services for both the process and discrete manufacturing fields. Located in a 120,000 ft2space, NIAS is expected to draw more than 21,000 visitors. From automated material handing systems, automation services, CAM, computer hardware, and peripherals to electric motors, factory-floor software, MRP II/ERP, and process control systems, NIAS serves all the integration and control needs of manufacturing managers and engineers, product specifiers, corporate administrators, and purchasing executives.

Show redesign aids integration

Once organized as three events, National Manufacturing Week was created in 1991 when the National Design Engineering Show was co-located with the National Plant Engineering & Management Show. Once co-located, the two almost-50-year-old shows grew even larger when the National Industrial Automation Show was added in 1992. This year’s new enterprise IT event is the fourth show at NMW, which organizers say is the biggest and best U.S. marketplace and educational forum for manufacturing buyers and sellers.

NMW’s redesign might seem slightly daunting, but organizers say the event’s broader base makes it even more valuable for manufacturers. Visitors can either walk all four shows, or bring along whole teams of design, control, plant and IT professionals—giving attendees all the new suppliers, education, and purchase data they need in one location.

“National Manufacturing Week 1998 has a totally reengineered conference program. We have merged into one seamless conference that provides an umbrella of support for all four of our shows,” says Chyai Mulberg, NMW’s director of industry development. “The 17 session tracks were designed after extensive feedback from conferees.”

Visitors will also benefit from this year’s earlier 8 a.m. start time for the technical sessions, which means attendees can take up to two sessions before the exhibition halls open at 10 a.m.

“Not only can companies bring and train their whole manufacturing teams at NMW, but the week is also organized to help visitors get noncommercial technology data transfer at the sessions. Then they can go to the exhibitors with the best information and questions for making the best possible purchases, which can give them an immediate return on their investment,” adds Ms. Mulberg.

Open architecture, fieldbus at NIAS

Besides the week’s overall attractions, NIAS visitors will encounter several major events geared specifically to their interests. The Open Control Architecture (OCA) pavilion, sponsored by Lutze Inc. (Charlotte, N.C.), will be a 5,500-ft2exhibit where all the show’s fieldbus technologies will be represented. It will include 50 companies and seven major industrial sensor, device, and field network consortiums, including AS-i (Scottsdale, Ariz.), CAN in Automation (Erlangen, Germany), ControlNet International (Coral Springs, Fla.), Interbus (Philadelphia, Pa.), Smart Distributed System (Freeport, Ill.), Open DeviceNet Vendors Association (Coral Springs, Fla.), and Profibus Trade Organization (Scottsdale, Ariz.).

In conjunction with NMW and the pavilion, FieldComms International (Titchfield, U.K.) is sponsoring a three-day symposium, “Fieldbus Technology: Viable Today, Valuable Tomorrow,” which will run from March 17-19. The symposium will include panel sessions, technical papers, tutorials, and fieldbus case studies. For more information, call 888/268-0777 or visit

The second main pavilion under the NIAS banner will be its new Robotics pavilion, which will include numerous robotic solutions and machine vision products in one area.

In addition, just before the week kicks off, winners of Control Engineering ‘s 1997 Editors’ Choice and Product Recognition Awards will be announced at an evening reception for them on March 15 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Chicago. The awards will also be featured in the cover article in the March 1998 edition of Control Engineering .

NMW’s main events

Besides its 2,000 exhibitors, NMW’s other overarching highlights will include:

  • Keynote speakers Bob Herbold, coo of Microsoft (Redmond, Wa.); Carol Bartz, ceo and board chair of Autodesk Inc. (San Rafael, Calif.); and John Costanza, president and ceo of JCIT (Englewood, Colo.), the “father of Demand Flow Technology”;

  • National Industrial Enterprise IT Show, will now offer 80 exhibits from 90 companies for manufacturing executives and IT managers, especially those seeking to upgrade their applications and support systems;

  • NASA’s full-scale mock-up of the soon-to-be-launched International Space Station, exhibits of reusable launch vehicles and space shuttle prototypes of the future, as well as NMW’s Space Exploration Day, in which a panel of NASA scientists will discuss space technology and its applications to industry;

  • The 4th annual Industrial Distribution Day, which looks at critical issues for manufacturers and distributors;

  • The National Association of Manufacturers distinguished speaker series;

  • Racing technology for the 21st century featuring NASCAR racing, concept, and competition cars, such as Rusty Wallace’s Ford Taurus and Chevrolet’s 730 HP Camaro; and three-time Indy 500 winner Johnny Rutherford;

  • Microsoft’s Industry Action Groups; and

  • The world’s largest manufacturing bookstore.

Focused product pavilions

To get visitors closer to their fields of interest, NIAS and NMW will offer 13 other special focus product pavilions. Besides the Open Control Architecture and Robotics pavilions, some of these include:

  • Motors and Drives will feature gears, motors, and housings for every size, function, and application;

  • Power Transmission/Motion Control/Fluid Power will help solve motion and movement problems with all types of mechanical, electrical, fluid, hydraulic, and pneumatic control systems and components;

  • Mechatronics will offer an array of sensors, connectors, PC boards, transducers, and other components for electronic-mechanical applications;

  • Simulation Software will help users learn if contemplated systems will deliver what they promise and if existing systems are performing properly;

  • Power will feature technologies and innovations for preventing power incidents, keeping quality high, and energy costs low;

  • Contract Manufacturing will include numerous firms that can help manufacturers maximize investments in outside contractors;

  • Fluid Handling will feature the latest technology and equipment available for leakproof, corrosion resistant fluid transport and waste removal; and

  • Industrial Packaging will include new distribution and warehousing products, as well as solutions for shipping, tracking and handling problems.

Siemens Unveils New Motor Controller Family

Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. (Alpharetta, Ga.) is introducing its new Sirius 3R family of motor controllers to the North American market at the National Industrial Automation Show, which is part of National Manufacturing Week, March 16-19, at McCormick Place, Chicago.

Offering easy installation and service, which saves time and space, Sirius 3R is a modular system of contactors, overload relays, motor starter protectors, control relays, and timers, together with mounting and connecting accessories. All of the line’s device groups are optimally matched mechanically and electrically, which enables users to build starter systems quickly and easily. In addition, all Sirius 3R components can be butt-mounted in dense arrays without derating in ambient temperatures up to 140° F.

Siemens officials add that Sirius 3R features a unique maintenance-free screwless cage clamp technology for wire termination, which users can choose instead of conventional screw-type terminals. These clamps speed up wiring, make connections shock-proof, and can be used on stranded wire, solid wire, or flexible conductors.

Highlights for the 21st Century

Take little steps first. Before striding into the next millennium, it might be good to practice walking across some manufacturing boundaries in the 17 cross-functional tracks for the 100 sessions at the National Industrial Automation Show and National Manufacturing Week. Some of the tracks include:

Data Acquisition, Processing & Control Technologies. Sessions examine PC-based control strategies and look at the future of MMI/HMI systems;

Open Architectures. Sessions show how to improve productivity with machine and network diagnostics and examine open control networks, planning, and implementation issues;

Integrated Manufacturing Technology. Sessions look at manufacturing execution systems (MESs) as a way to improve productivity, and present approaches for integrating MES, ERP and IEC-1131-1 systems.

IT Management. Sessions help users determine which IT strategies and applications are best for their companies, and how to achieve operational efficiency.

Computing Trends/Operating Systems. Sessions show where to look on the Internet for manufacturing data, find solutions for engineering problems, and how to interface with control systems.

Asset Effectiveness, Asset Management. Sessions teach how to manage equipment effectiveness, invest in technology, and increase uptime, and also examine performance standards, technology management, and best practices for achieving and maintaining global market competitiveness.

21st Century Manufacturing. Sessions explore the trends, technology and, concerns of industry as next generation manufacturing begins to unfold, and look at supply chain improvement, using the web, and what can be expected in 2000 and beyond.

On-Line, Virtual, and Show Daily Sources Available

You broke your leg, your budget’s tapped, you’re at the regional office on Jupiter, your just too danged busy to attend the National Industrial Automation Show and National Manufacturing Week? Well, have no fear.

It won’t be quite as good as being there, but you can get lots of updates and news about the week’s events and even take a virtual tour of the 1997 NIAS and NMW showfloor at McCormick Place at Other conference-linked sites will include and

Writers and editors from Control Engineering and numerous other Reed Elsevier Business Information publications will be contributing to the National Manufacturing Week Show Daily that will be published during each of the conference’s four days, March 16-19. These show dailies will also be available via the and sites.

Also, after NIAS and NMW are concluded, Reed Exhibition Companies plans to add releases, data, and images on the 1998 events to site later this spring and summer.