Controls on center stage

The National Industrial Automation(TM) show and conference is one of four trade shows that make up next month's mammoth National Manufacturing Week (March 16 to 19).

Held at Chicago's recently expanded McCormick Place, the automation show represents a good opportunity for packagers to learn more about implementing controls technologies. Organized by Reed Exhibition Cos. (Norwalk, CT), the exhibit's hours are Monday through Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Approximately 250 exhibitors will display PLCs and PC-based control solutions, human-machine interfaces (HMI), motion controllers, sensors, field buses, motors, drives and more. A special Open Control Architecture pavilion, new for '98, is the place to learn about hardware and software products for implementing open field buses. Such buses can allow networking of control components from multiple suppliers that conform to an open standard, ostensibly reducing costs. In addition to the exhibits, over 20 workshops and conference sessions involve controls. Several seemed particularly promising: Tuesday, March 17 9:15 a.m.-10:15 a.m.: Using field bus open control architecture to integrate and control components by Udo Lutze, Open Control Architecture and Lutze, Inc. Wednesday, March 18 8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.: Fundamentals of programmable motion control by Sabri Cetinkunt, University of Illinois at Chicago. 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: A half-day workshop on basic motor theory, operation and application, by William H. Yeadon, Yeadon Engineering Services. 9:15 a.m.-10:15 a.m.: How Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) integrate with PC-based controls, moderated by Maryanne Steidinger, Allen-Bradley Co. 9:15 a.m.-10:15 a.m.: PC-based control vs. PLCs by David Chapman, Schneider Automation. 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: PC-based control and device networks by Jeff Fisher, Steeplechase Software. 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: Contrasting different high-performance field buses for motion control, moderated by Mark Wells, M Systems, with John Rupp and Mike Bryant, PTO. 1:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m.: Using Ethernet for networking PLCs and performing data acquisition, moderated by Rich Mullen, Automation Research, with Jay Warrior, Hewlett-Packard, as a speaker. 3:15 p.m.-4:45 p.m.: Integrating customized Human-Machine Interfaces (HMI) into the manufacturing environment, with Larry Zgrabik and Emilio Matt, Siemens Energy & Automation. More information is available from the National Manufacturing Week web site at (no "www" in front).

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