News commentary: Rockwell’s Automation Fair draws crowds, unleashes new products
Anaheim, CA - Rockwell Automation's annual fest, Automation Fair, drew thousands of curious engineers to the Anaheim Convention Center along with warm Santa Ana breezes to see new products and take in some training to go along with record high temperatures. Of the 8,000 pre-registered attendees, organizers expected at least 5,000 to actually show up. Certainly the aisles were packed during the two-day event.
Anaheim, CA – Rockwell Automation’s annual fest, Automation Fair, drew thousands of curious engineers to the Anaheim Convention Center along with warm Santa Ana breezes to see new products and take in some training to go along with record high temperatures. Of the 8,000 pre-registered attendees, organizers expected at least 5,000 to actually show up. Certainly the aisles were packed during the two-day event.
Every product division within the company had something new to show, so editors were kept hopping from one appointment to the next learning what Rockwell’s R&D groups have been up to for the past year. Many of the approximately 35 partners also exhibiting showed off new products, as well. (see associated coverage of all the new products from Rockwell, as well as from many of its partners online.)
Chief among trends at the show was some energy and excitement missing from control industry shows for the past couple of years during this recession. No one was going so far as to proclaim an end to the economic woes we’ve endured, but everyone has seen encouraging signs emerging over the last few months. Add that sense of the industry to crowded aisles and a bevy of new products, an overall positive atmosphere could be felt.
Ethernet and wireless technologies were evident everywhere. Rockwell has Ethernet-enabled all of its latest control platforms. Many booths featured wireless Ethernet modems, many communicating across several booths. Rockwell has been adding machine safety components for several years, but this year looks like a break out year as the company begins completing a more comprehensive line of products.
Rockwell’s overriding theme for the show, though, was to present itself as a ”solutions provider” and not merely a supplier of lots of products. Of course, we have heard the ”solutions” song so much that there is a natural skeptical reaction. To its credit, Rockwell presented a consistent theme of explaining the business value to a customer of each of its different . The company does seem to be focusing on helping customers solve business problems along with selling products.
In that same vein, the company continues to build on the initiatives launched several years ago-Logix and View Anywhere. This has been a consistent theme that continues to develop.
The company has a lot of competition around the world, but the success of this year’s exhibition certainly keeps the pressure on. And that’s good for you.
For more coverage of Automation Fair, be sure to read these additional articles:
Automation Fair 2002: Component-level products
Automation Fair 2002: Integrated safety systems offer protection
Automation Fair 2002: Electronic and design tools enlarge tool box
Automation Fair 2002: ”ViewAnyWare” strategy comes to life
Automation Fair 2002: Rockwell’s partners not to be outdone, release products
Automation Fair 2002: On-machine components for distributed control
Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor