Looking into the future of automation

25 October 2022

The 31st edition of SPS, the trade fair for smart and digital automation, is set to take place from 8 to 10 November 2022, at the Nuremberg Messe. The annual event offers a venue for automation providers to showcase their latest products, solutions and technologies in the field of industrial automation.

This year the trade fair will run parallel to a new digital event platform – SPS on air – which will be available before, during and after the three-day physical event in Nuremberg. 

This means that in the week before the event starts, SPS ticket holders will have an opportunity to participate in technical presentations and product previews on the SPS on air platform. During the exhibition itself, the supplementary program will continue to run at the VDMA/ZVEI Forum in Hall 3 on the exhibition grounds and from the SPS Live Studio in Nuremberg. 

The main topics of a series of panel discussions, product presentations or keynotes will include: Digital transformation/Industry 4.0; industrial communications; safety & security; new logistic methods and robotic integration; data-driven and intelligent concepts for control and visualisation; smart sensors; drives; use cases for AI; and sustainability in automation.

Participants can also use the digital platform to initiate contacts and arrange appointments both on-site and digitally network with each other, and find contacts for their specific automation queries. SPS on air will remain online until 11 November; and the on-demand media library and a large part of the recorded lecture program will be available until 15 November. This means that those who visit the trade fair in person still have the opportunity to view presentations afterwards or to establish contacts with purely digital participants worldwide.

Exhibitors at the physical event will include Emerson, who will demonstrate intelligent automation solutions that improve productivity and sustainability at the event, showcasing intelligent industrial controls and automation technologies that enable manufacturers to adapt to changing market demands, realise greater production efficiency and meet sustainability goals. The booth will feature a range of programmable automation controllers, SCADA/HMI software, smart pneumatics and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions and electric actuators. 

The Movicon.NExT industrial software platform, for example, offers flexible software technology for Windows/Linux HMI projects, SCADA supervisory systems and efficient MES analysis solutions that are essential to Industry 4.0. Among Movicon.NExT modules, Movicon Pro.Lean provides performance data and analytics for evaluations of OEE and Movicon Pro.Energy measures and tracks consumption, while Movicon NExT.AR solves operational problems through visualisation tools that allow personnel to evaluate previously unreachable equipment. 

For maximum flexibility, Emerson also provides Movicon WebHMI, an HTML5-based visualisation tool that can be used as a stand-alone HMI product running on Windows or Linux operator panels, or as a Web Client for Movicon.NExT SCADA applications, as well as Connext, an industrial protocol gateway.

Beckhoff will be presenting a host of new PC-based control technologies. A particular highlight will be the new MX-System for control cabinet-free automation. This pluggable system solution for control cabinet-free automation incorporates an IPC, coupler, I/O, motion, relay and system modules on scalable baseplates for placing directly on a machine. It allows users to save space in their production facility while also reducing engineering and assembly costs. 

Also on the Beckhoff stand will be the new ATRO modular industrial robot system that can be used to assemble robot structures for different applications on an individual and flexible basis. Standardised motor modules with integrated drive functionality, together with link modules in various designs and lengths, enable almost limitless combinations of mechanics. The complete integration of the control into the TwinCAT control platform offers direct access to a range of proven automation functions and opens up the potential  for users to implement their own kinematics.

EXOR International will be highlighting innovations in its hardware, software and its digital platform. Visitors to the booth will be introduced to CORVINA which offers servitisation and digitisation solutions through a consolidated IoT digital data collection platform which enables advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence engines which help generate value from existing opportunities. CORVINA designs edge devices specific to every sector, providing a complete technological and service stack.

For Phoenix Contact, this year's SPS is all about the digital factory. Practical solutions will show how data can be collected efficiently, stored flexibly and used to gain advantage. 

Digitised processes are essential so that data can be generated efficiently and to protect data from attacks, Phoenix Contact offers security concepts for a trouble-free process. Optimisations to increase productivity are taken from the stored and analysed manufacturing data and implemented in the respective applications. In addition to the data, challenges must also be taken into account in the integration of global safety, communication and security concepts. Industry 4.0 and new automation standards, for example, can provide support here.

Rockwell Automation will demonstrate how it is possible to establish end-to-end visibility across plant operations, generating insights that enable better and faster decision-making. 

Rockwell’s software offerings will showcase the capabilities required right across the production system – including design, engineering, production,
operations and maintenance. Highlights include demonstrations of the Fiix computerised maintenance management system (CMMS), which helps manage maintenance programs and reduce downtime. In addition, the company will highlight its Emulate3D dynamic digital twin software.

Rockwell will also showcase cybersecurity solutions that help protect the integrity and availability of smart manufacturing solutions. These offerings include security assessments, continuous monitoring of assets that improve visibility, threat detection, and planning for response and recovery.

EKS Engel will demonstrate the TSN Analyzer, a robust diagnostic device developed for project planning as well as commissioning, maintenance and continuous monitoring of TSN networks. It is said to provide a simple and cost-effective approach to the analysis of TSN data traffic. Management and diagnostic functions can be accessed either via web interface and a self-explanatory graphical user interface (GUI) or via Command Line Interface (CLI). Supported real-time standards include methods from the IEEE 802.1Q bridge and bridged network standards and the IEEE 802.1AS profile based on the IEEE 1588 time synchronisation specification. The range of functions can be individually extended via optional software modules. These include TSN endpoint, traffic generator and various protocol converters, for example from TSN to Profinet or Modbus-TCP.
Endress+Hauser will be demonstrating how to take digitalisation projects to the next new level, making unplanned maintenance work and plant shutdowns a thing of the past.

Smart measuring devices collect a wealth of data from the field level but currently, up to 97% of this data remains unused. Endress+Hauser will be showing how plant operators can unlock the potential of this data. With its cloud-based IIoT ecosystem, Netilion and Heartbeat Technology, the company’s diagnostics and testing concept enables users to start digitalisation projects. In addition, its field-proven solution packages can create a digital twin of the installed base and makes it available on mobile devices. These solutions monitor device status and enable predictive maintenance.  

The company will also be showing its latest measuring devices, including the Cerabar and Deltabar pressure and differential pressure transmitters, which incorporate Heartbeat Technology to ensure documented verification which forms the basis for predictive maintenance. The Bluetooth interface makes it easy to configure and verify measuring devices using the SmartBlue app. 

The company will also be showing its new generation of 80 GHz radar sensors. The Micropilot level transmitters for liquids and bulk solids have optimised evaluation algorithms and can provide reliable measurement results with no signal loss, even in hard-to-reach measuring points, dusty environments and extreme process temperatures. In addition to the PROFIBUS and HART interfaces, an Ethernet-APL interface now provides even easier device access with minimal installation effort. 

Trio Motion Technology will present its new automation control capabilities, including a new Motion Coordinator, servo drive, and industrial PC.The DX3 servo drive for high performance motion control is a single-axis drive available in two versions – an EtherCAT drive supporting update rates down to 125us, and a conventional drive supporting pulse-and-direction, analogue and CANopen control.  DX3 increases Trio’s power range with sizes from 50W to 7.5kW all with a compact footprint, in 200V and 400V versions.  A new update across Trio’s DX series of servo drives, including the new DX3, improves compatibility with third-party vendor EtherCAT master controllers, as well as Trio EtherCAT motion coordinators. 

Trio will also show its new Flex-X Nano motion controller – a pocket-sized, I/O slice design for compact machine and cabinet build with high performance servo control over EtherCAT. The motion controller uses Trio’s existing Flex-6 Nano design and is able to control up to 64 axes, but with application performance increased by up to 25%. 

Providing motion control performance over EtherCAT in a PC format, Trio’s PC-MCAT-2 Industrial PC will also make its debut at SPS. The PC-MCAT-2 operates as a controller, combining Trio’s Motion-iX motion engine with Windows 10, that can also integrate additional applications and components thanks to extended Ethernet and USB ports. PC-MCAT-2 can integrate devices such as vision systems while controlling Trio’s SCARA robots or DX series servo axes. 

Also on the Trio booth will be its latest HMI – the Uniplay 15A with a 15in panel. Integrating with Trio’s MotionPerfect programming and commissioning software it is said to enable fast, straightforward set-up, improving reliability in the field and increasing the ease of obtaining machine data. 

Red Lion will be highlighting its Edge Automation platform, FlexEdge, a combined hardware and software solution with router functions, modular gateways and scalable edge controllers with expandable I/O modules and PID controllers.

At the core of the solution is Crimso software, which includes drivers for over 300 industrial protocols. It offers an intuitive interface for linking and creating key figures, as well as monitoring, recording, converting and visualising data. The connection to IT is done via IT protocols like MQTT, OPC UA, FTP etc. directly into the cloud or to a local server/On Premise.

Turck will be showing a range of automation solutions for production and logistics. With smart sensor technology, RFID and robust I/O and control solutions in protection class IP67, Turck aims to bring intelligence to the machine and supports decentraliaed automation and modular machines. Supplemented by user-friendly software and services, the automation specialist offers a comprehensive range for the reliable detection, transmission and processing of relevant production data – from the sensor to the cloud. 

Advantech will demonstrate how its products and solutions can help enable an intelligent and sustainable planet. Among the technologies taking center stage on the booth will be AI. Advantech can provide a series of edge AI modules, AI inference systems, edge intelligence servers and IoT gateways to accelerate Artifical Intelligence of Things (AIoT) development. Hardware and software advances are making AI at the edge even easier to implement, enabling increased performance and greater flexibility.

The company will also showcase its wired and wireless communication solutions. Products will include industrial Ethernet switches, gateways, cellular routers, wireless access points/clients, media converters and serial device servers. All of these contribute to transmitting data securely, while monitoring and controlling networked devices.

Information about the exhibition programme, ticket sales, the hybrid event and travel specials, together with tips on getting ready for the trade fair, can be found on the event website at sps-exhibition.com

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