More than 800 users of Siemens automation technology went to Disney World this week for the company’s annual Automation Summit. The event has been anything but Mickey Mouse so far.
Speaking during the Summit’s keynote session, Siemens Vice President of Automation and Motion Raj Batra listed a handful of timely automation issues that the event would highlight–safety and security, energy efficiency, modernization, industrial networking, and tracking. "These are the important issues facing manufacturers right now," he says.
And the event’s end-user presentations reinforced Batra’s point. To take an example, one presentation detailed how Owens-Illinois modernized the proprietary motion control systems on its glass forming lines using Siemens’ Simotion platform. These forming lines typically mix servo-and inverter-driven mechanisms. Tom Green, a portfolio manager with O-I’s R&D group, notes that Siemens was the only vendor to propose a single technology solution for both the servo and inverter systems. "We didn’t believe them when they said they could do it," Green says. "But they proved us wrong."
Another user presentation described how Osram Sylvania in April implemented wireless networking technologies as a way to simplify I/O communications on one of its light-bulb production machines. According to Staff Engineer Roger Girard, the machine’’s rotating exhaust turret had been suffering from communication difficulties due in large part to slip ring failures. The company’s solution: use wireless Ethernet to handle I/O that formerly went through the slip ring.
Check back over the next couple of days for more on both of these machine improvement projects.
And as for tracking and tracing, Siemens showcased its RFID capabilities using the attendees as the items to be tracked. Siemens embedded UHF tags in our badges for the show. Readers and displays placed around the event flashed our names whenever we walked by. Other readers were placed at the various technology exhibits, wirelessly registering which attendees showed interest in which technologies.
We were promised there would be no RFID readers at the hotel bar or pool. For my sake, let’s hope that’s true.