Optimising performance for power plant boilers.


Steam plant operators are looking for control solutions that will help them to optimize boiler efficiency by reducing fuel consumption while reducing emissions. GE Intelligent Platforms can meet these needs for plants under 300MW with high performance, productized control solutions based on decades of domain expertise in steam cycle generation management that can reduce fuel usage while allowing boilers to run safely and efficiently.

GE’s Steam Cycle control solution is based on a flexible and scalable DCS, Proficy® Process Systems, along with productized pre-packaged advanced combustion control algorithms and strategies for fossil and biomass fuels based on more than 30 years of GE Services experience to achieve significant operational benefits and mitigate risk.

These advanced combustion control algorithms and strategies optimise the combustion process to reduce customers’ fuel usage 3% to 5% which allows them to better meet stringent emissions regulations. In addition, they keep equipment safe and protected by maintaining the water level in the boiler to prevent damage. Because these control algorithms and strategies are pre-engineered, they are capable of reducing system implementation time by 50% to 80%.

“Power plants are running longer with shorter maintenance outages,” said Bill Pezalla, Global Energy Industry Manager for GE Intelligent Platforms. “The advantage of GE Intelligent Platforms’ DCS is that it is an open system that works with any type of boiler and can be implemented during a short maintenance outage leading to the realization of rapid fuel and water savings. These efficiencies need to be factored into the total cost of ownership when purchasing control systems.”

“We’ve extended our Steam Cycle Control solution approach beyond the boiler control by adding boiler and turbine auxiliary equipment control strategies providing an even more comprehensive solution for power plants,” said Craig Thorsland, Steam Cycle Solutions Leader for GE Intelligent Platforms. “Optimally, the overall control solution reduces the need for operator intervention. This stabilizes steam production and frees operators to focus on important plant operations. With stable and consistent operations, we reduce thermal stresses on the boiler and turbine extending their life cycles.”

Safety is a concern for any power producing facility and the Steam Cycle solution addresses that concern with unique drum level control strategies that allow water levels to be properly maintained to avoid boiler failure. “It is critical to keep the water level in the boiler at the proper level,” explained Thorsland. “If it falls too low, the boiler can be damaged, or worse yet, fail with problematic consequences. GE’s unique controls strategies help compensate for varying loads and the resulting increases or decreases in water level.”

Harry Forbes, Senior Analyst at ARC Advisory Group comments: “Economic operation of power plants requires automation systems that respond intelligently to plant disturbances and also drive the plant towards steady operation at the most cost-effective operating points. Recognizing this, GE has integrated strategies for handling various disturbances to the process into its Steam Cycle Solution for industrial boilers and power plants.”

The control system is able to handle conventional fossil fuels as well as the more difficult to control biomass and waste fuels. For biomass fuel plants, the natural variations in the quality and moisture content of the feedstock can results in steam production fluctuations. The system’s BTU combustion compensation control strategies ensure smooth and consistent steam production regardless of these variations. The system facilitates balancing combustion load when grates need to be offline for cleaning and when they are returned to service.

Steam Cycle solutions also give customers the ongoing benefits of reduced fuel use and emissions, lessening the impact of their energy production on the environment. In fact, to comply with emissions regulations and reduce the environmental footprint, combustion factors and emissions levels can easily be captured and analyzed in real-time. The system’s features meet the stringent guidelines of GE’s ecomagination program and therefore it was named an ecomagination product earlier this year.

“Proficy Process Systems with Steam Cycle control is a great solution for fuel savings and operational efficiency,” Thorsland continued. “The combination of decreased installation time with reduced fuel consumption makes this solution a win-win situation for boilers at new facilities and existing plants. The boilers run better, so the turbines run better, so the plants run better.”

Static earthing protection for road tankers


By Mike O’Brien, Product Manager, Newson Gale.


The loading and unloading of road tankers with flammable and combustible products, presents one of the most serious fire and explosion risks for site operations within the hazardous process industries.  A 1967 study conducted by the American Petroleum Institute Identified electrostatic discharges as being responsible for over 60 incidents in road tanker loading operations, demonstrating just how long this potential threat has been acknowledged. The natural presence of static electricity in product transfer operations, combined with its associated ignition hazards, ensures that regulators take static control precautions for road tankers very seriously.

Static electricity and road tanker product transfer operations.

Powders and liquids with low electrical conductivities are the prime sources of static charge generation because their electrical properties do not easily permit the transfer of excess charges. Instead, non-conductive and semi-conductive liquids and powders retain and accumulate charges after they make contact with conductive objects. The most common interface for charging of non-conductive and semi-conductive product is contact with metal plant equipment including pipes, filters, pumps, valves, barrels, IBCs, mixers and agitators. When the electrostatically charged liquid (or powder) is deposited into a container like a barrel, IBC, or road tanker charging of the container will occur if there is nowhere else for the charges to go. In this situation the charges are “static”, accumulate on the surface of the container and set up a potential difference with respect to earth.

Voltage potentials generated on road tanker versus time under normal flow conditions with no static grounding protection in place.

Over a short time period (less than 20 seconds) potentials in excess of 50,000 volts can be induced on a road tanker’s container when it is being filled at normal flow rates with a product that is electrostatically charged. The magnitude of the voltage induced is directly proportional to the quantity of charges making contact with the container.

This voltage represents the ignition source and the potential energy available for discharge via a static spark at voltage levels of 50 kV can, for a typical road tanker, be in excess of 1250 mJ. The vast majority of flammable vapours and combustible dusts can be ignited at these energy levels.

For sparking to occur in road tanker product transfer operations, other conductive objects must come into close proximity with the charged container of the road tanker. Examples of conductive “objects” include the fill pipe entering the opening on the top of the container, fall prevention systems like folding stairs, and drivers or operators working around the road tanker.

The charges on the road tanker’s container attract opposite charges to the surface of the object and rapidly create an electric field between their respective surfaces. It is the strength of this electric field that causes the “breakdown” of the air between the container and the object. When the air is “broken down” a conductive path for the excess charges to rapidly discharge themselves is created, leading to a static spark discharge. If a combustible atmosphere is present in this space, ignition of the atmosphere is very probable. Under ambient conditions an average field strength of 30 kilo-volts is capable of causing the electrical breakdown of air over a spark gap of 10 cm.

Potential ignition energy levels generated with respect to time under normal flow conditions with no static grounding protection in place.

In addition loose conductive items located inside the container could become charged by contact with the liquid and discharge to the container if they are capable of floating on top of the liquid. It is important to carry out regular visual inspections of the container to ensure loose debris is not present inside the road tanker container.

Standards and recommended practice governing the static control of road tanker product transfers.

As outlined earlier, regulators are extremely cautious about the ignition hazards presented by static electricity in road tanker product transfer operations. Three standards, in particular, provide clear guidance on what precautions should be taken. NFPA 77, API RP 2003 and CLCTR: 50404 state that grounding (earthing) of the road tanker should be the first procedure carried out in the transfer process. Grounding effectively creates an electrical circuit that connects the road tanker to the Earth and it is this connection to Earth which prevents static charges accumulating on the road tanker’s container. The reason the charges can transfer from the road tanker is because the Earth has an infinite capacity to absorb and redistribute static charges, with the positive effect of removing the ignition source from a potentially combustible atmosphere.

The electrical resistance of this circuit from the road tanker to the “ground source” (or “grounding  point”) which is in contact with the Earth, is a key performance indicator of the entire grounding circuit’s capacity to provide a secure and safe product transfer operation. NFPA 77 and API RP 2003 state the resistance in a healthy metal circuit should never exceed 10 ohms, therefore the entire grounding circuit between the truck and grounding point should be measured and be equal to, or less than, 10 ohms. If a resistance above 10 ohms is measured this will indicate problems with parts of the grounding circuit including the road tanker connection, the ground point connection or the condition of the conductor cable.

Road tanker grounding systems.

The standards state that a grounding system, which can measure and monitor resistance in the grounding circuit, can be utilised. The system should verify if the ground connection to the road tanker is complete before loading or unloading is initiated. The CLCTR: 50404 standard recommends 10 ohms or 100 ohms for “convenience” in monitoring.

Dedicated road tanker grounding system which continuously monitors the connection to the road tanker and the site's verified grounding point

An additional recommendation in NFPA 77 and API RP 2003 calls for interlocking the feed system (e.g. pump) with the grounding system so that if the grounding system is not connected to the road tanker, product cannot be transferred. This will ensure that product cannot enter or leave the road tanker when the road tanker has no grounding protection in place. In general, interlocked grounding systems will complete the grounding circuit when the driver connects the clamp of the grounding system to the road tanker and the system sees a circuit resistance of 10 ohms or less.

Although the standards recommend a monitored resistance of 10 ohms, there are many grounding systems on the market today that monitor well in excess of this level. While it may be claimed that these systems are capable of dissipating static charges the capacity of a system to monitor at 10 ohms, not only provides an opportunity to demonstrate compliance with internationally recognised recommended practice, it also means that hazardous location operators know the system’s grounding clamp is making a secure and reliable connection to the road tanker every time a product transfer is carried out. Grounding clamps should be designed to penetrate paint coatings, rust and general dirt build up as they are very effective at impeding secure electrical contact with the conductive metal of the road tanker.

Additionally, the grounding system must be capable of detecting minute changes in resistance when the transfer is underway and should not allow a high degree of change in resistance before shutting down the pump or alerting personnel. As soon as a resistance above 10 ohms is present in the grounding circuit, the grounding system should be capable of detecting this change and take control of the feed into the road tanker. Systems that permit resistances higher than 10 ohms have a greater degree of difficulty in detecting changes in the health and condition of the grounding circuit.

The grounding system should also confirm a continuous monitored bonding connection to the ground source as it this connection which is critical to dissipating static charges from the road tanker. As highlighted earlier the ground source can be the gantry structure, ground bus-bars or grounding rods all with a pre-verified low contact resistance with the Earth.

Road Tanker Recognition

Because resistance monitoring systems operate when connected to conductive metal objects, additional features can enhance the protection of drivers, product and equipment.  A “road tanker recognition” feature can be utilised to ensure that drivers can only operate the feed system when the grounding system detects it is connected to a road tanker. A system like the Earth-Rite RTR will analyse the capacitance of the road tanker as part of the grounding circuit. If the capacitance presented is in the normal range for tanks trucks the grounding system will recognise that it has made a positive connection to a road tanker. From the site operator’s perspective, this eliminates the risk of drivers unknowingly connecting the grounding clamp to parts of the truck chassis that are electrically isolated from the truck’s container. This isolation may be due to original design oversight like isolated mud guards or paint coatings insulating conductive parts like truck light enclosures from the chassis. In addition drivers have been known to attach the grounding system’s clamp to the loading rack in order to obtain a permissive state for the feed system to “speed up” the transfer.

So while a permissive state for the feed system can be obtained with a standard resistance based monitoring system it does not necessarily mean the grounding clamp is electrically connected to the road tanker’s container. Specifying a grounding system with a road tanker recognition feature ensures the road tanker is safely grounded before drivers are in a position to begin filling it with product. Once the system has verified it is connected to a road tanker it should then monitor the road tanker’s connection to the grounding point to 10 ohms, or less.

The Ground Source

When a road tanker grounding system is installed it is assumed that the ground source (e.g. buried ground electrode) to which the system is connected has been independently verified as having a low resistance connection to earth. This connection is the foundation for secure and safe transfers and it is incumbent on the site operator to conduct seasonal “Fall of Potential” tests to ensure these ground connections do not deteriorate due to changes in soil composition, soil resistivity or corrosion of the ground electrode.

In Winter, ground temperatures can reduce dramatically and cause an exponential increase in soil resistance levels. For the ground electrode these temperatures can have a significant impact on its contact resistance with the soil potentially impeding the transfer of static charging currents.

Standard grounding systems are not designed to verify this connection, however, the patented Earth-Rite RTR can remove this uncertainty. This system has a unique feature which verifies that it is connected to a grounding point which is capable of safely dissipating static charges to ground. In combination with road tanker recognition capability, this “Static Ground Verification” function ensures that two vital connections in the grounding process are securely made before product is allowed to leave or enter the vehicle.

When both of these connections are confirmed, the system will continuously monitor the resistance of these connections at 10 ohms (or less) for the duration of the transfer process. Should either connection be opened during the transfer, the system will detect this and switch off power to the pump or valve actuators in order to stop the feed of charged liquids into, or out of, the road tanker.


In accordance with the recommendations of industry groups and fire safety associations, the static grounding of road tankers is a key safety protocol in the loading or unloading of flammable and combustible products.  Grounding ensures static charges are not permitted to accumulate on the road tanker thereby eliminating the risk of the container becoming an ignition source. Additionally, national and international recommended practice advocates the adoption of static grounding parameters that will enhance the safety of the product transfer process including monitoring the grounding circuit to 10 ohms or less and interlocking the product feed system with a dedicated grounding system.

When selecting road tanker grounding systems, specifiers should also consider additional functions that can enhance the safety of the transfer process. Grounding systems which include Road Tanker Recognition and Static Ground connection verification functions provide additional guarantees that a transfer process cannot take place unless the road tanker is connected to the grounding system and the grounding system itself is connected to a verified ground source. These features enhance the secure grounding of the road tanker and enable hazardous area operators demonstrate the highest levels of compliance with NFPA 77, API RP 2003 and CLCTR: 50404.

Final control elements and other stories


Douglas Control  & Automation

Loose Insert: Metrology Systems & Services

The April/May 2010 issue of Read-out, Ireland’s journal of instrumentation, control and automation, highlights final control elements.

Steriflo’s Mark 96 pressure regulator, marketed by Manotherm, is used in sanitary applications. Emersons Fieldvue digital valve controllers are used in an Australian chemical plant “saving us thousands of pounds,” according to the instrument technician on the site. Also featured is Festo’s range of ultra-fast jet valves and Tyco’s EBCO valves to provide full flow replenishment to storage tanks in, for example high-rise buildings.

The front page article gave details of the new marketing strategy of Irish company Biotector Analytical, who have appointed Hach as exclusive distributor in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Europe for their range of on-line liquid analysers. Another company with a presence on the North American continent, Qumas, has won the Deloite Best Managed Company Award. This company is a provider of compliance solutions.

There is a report on the Ireland Section of the International Society of Automation visit to the Blanchardstown Institute of Technology where a large assembly of first and second year students participated in a talk on combined heat and power. These students are hoping to qualify with a BSc in Sustainable Electrical and Control Technology. The purpose of this course is “to equip students with the skills and knowledge to embark upon a rewarding career in sustainable engineering within the construction and manufacturing sectors.”

The National Instruments scheme to support micro and SMEs in embedded development is discussed. This is in the form of training and grants of up to nearly €30,000 in software, support and training. “National Instruments…is committed to supporting innovation!”

John McAuliffe, in the InSide Front article, “Cracking the Safety Code“, discusses the poractical applications of the new European Machinery Directive (SI 407/08). that came into force in January. John is Managing Director of Pilz Ireland.

Among the new products highlightes in this issue is Yokogawa’s DXAdvanced DAQSTATION range, Phoenix Contact’s PSI-Bluetooth ProfiBus set, E+H’s Liquiphant M density meter and Blue-White’s new junction box and connector arrangement on their Flex-Pro A3 peri-pump.

Read-out is published every two months and distributed throughout Ireland. Advertising rates, which have maintained their 2004 levels are on the website in Euro, Pounds Sterling and US Dollars.

The next issue for June/July will concentrate on Flow measurement & Control.

The recently opened facebook “fan-page” lists most stories we receive even those not included in our printed publication. Click if you like us!

Power from the sea


Floating off the Conamara Coast looking west on Galway Bay

Prototyping a Wave Farm Energy Converter Using LabVIEW, Compact FieldPoint and CompactRIO

By Eugene Doogan, Wavebob.

Ní minic a bhíonn seans againn tuairisc ar thógra inár áit dúchas. Ach seo tógra i gCois Fhairrige atá thar a bheith spéisiúil.

Just eleven miles east of the Read-out offices is a winking presence bobbing on the waves of Galway Bay a little distance from the shore. This article from Eugene Doogan of Wavebob tells us what’s its doing and how they keep tabs on what is happening out there.

How Wavebob works!

The Challenge:
Developing a control and data acquisition system for a wave energy converter (WEC) to achieve efficient power extraction in varying sea conditions.

The Solution:
Rapidly creating a highly integrated, rugged system for real-time control and data acquisition for a WEC prototype using NI LabVIEW, Compact FieldPoint, and CompactRIO.
” In particular, the versatility, speed, and simplicity of coding in LabVIEW, as well as excellent diagnostic and debugging tools, made it an obvious choice.”

Wave Energy
Since 1999, Wavebob Ltd, one of the world’s leading wave energy technology companies, has been developing a prototype WEC for deployment in offshore “wave farms” that are similar to wind farms. Our goal is to develop a commercial WEC that can produce significant electrical power for the onshore grid on coastlines with a suitable wave climate.

Invented by Irish physicist William Dick, the Wavebob WEC is a unique dual-body point absorber in which the two bodies move relative to ocean waves and to each other. The two bodies are coupled by hydraulic cylinder pumps, which are used to extract power from the relative motion. This part of the WEC is known as the power takeoff (PTO).

WEC development involves trials at different scales: at small-scale in-wave generating tanks (one one-hundredth to one-tenth) and then a larger scale (one-fifth to one-half) with fully operating PTO systems. The development team administers trials with the small-scale WECs in a sink, bath, or pond. When all trials are complete and successful, the team builds a full-scale WEC prototype.

To control the PTO in extreme sea conditions while maintaining efficient power extraction, the WEC requires a rugged and sophisticated control system. In addition, each stage of product development has its own requirements for the data acquisition and supervisory control system, which changes throughout the development cycle.

Hardware and Software Selection
The WEC prototype trials aim to successfully demonstrate the Wavebob WEC technology and gather data, which would inform the design of a full-scale Wavebob WEC.

A control and data acquisition system for the trials required real-time control of hydraulic valve switching according to sensor input, as well as data acquisition from a variety of sensors at appropriate sample rates. The requirements are similar to those of many industrial controller applications, but also include the unique challenges inherent to operating in varying sea conditions. These include operating in a marine environment, consequent dynamic effects on equipment, operation from DC source (24 VDC batteries with charging systems), the need for deterministic control (real-time OS), and relatively high-channel-count data acquisition and digital I/O.

In addition, the WEC prototypes include a variety of sensors, and the digital I/O includes solenoid switching with significant power requirements. Rapid code development, easy-to-modify control software, code versatility, and standard interfacing are essential.

After extensive research into the various options on the market, LabVIEW graphical design software was a natural fit for the PTO control system. In particular, the versatility, speed, and simplicity of coding in LabVIEW, as well as excellent diagnostic and debugging tools, made it an obvious choice. In addition, the range of hardware available from NI and its seamless integration with LabVIEW offered real benefits to the project.

The team selected LabVIEW coupled with Compact FieldPoint and CompactRIO for the control and data acquisition system to achieve the following benefits:

  • Hardware/software integration
  • Rapid development using LabVIEW
  • Real-time hardware and OS
  • Compact, rugged, and adaptable hardware
  • Upgrade path and distributed system capability
  • Excellent technical backup, particularly via National Instruments website

Control and Acquisition System – WB 06-07
During the first two trial phases for the Wavebob WEC, the team used Compact FieldPoint with LabVIEW and LabVIEW Real-Time. While the system performed extremely well, both the complexity of the control requirements and channel count increased in the subsequent development phase (MK3). As a result, the limits of the test system were approached on the second prototype. The MK3 prototype would require more processor power and faster acquisition rates.

MK3 Prototype
The scale of the WEC prototype in this phase of development, also known as the MK3 prototype, is a quarter of full scale with a fully operable PTO. Given the increasing complexity of control and additional sensors, the team selected CompactRIO hardware, LabVIEW, LabVIEW Real-Time, and the LabVIEW FPGA Module. In addition, they constructed a one-seventeenth scale model for rapid trials of structural and other changes. We had to build the new control and acquisition system into this model for data acquisition.

We selected CompactRIO for its integration with LabVIEW as well as its processing power and acquisition rates. The hardware offers the ability to run control and data acquisition loops at much faster sample rates without compromising the timing integrity of the system due to processor overload. All control and I/O functions can be programmed on the field-programmable gate array (FPGA) in the CompactRIO backplane and can run simultaneously. The controller only has to read the resulting data when logging. The small footprint and low power consumption of the CompactRIO system also facilitated incorporation into the one-seventeenth scale model.

Just as in the previous prototypes, LabVIEW was the ideal choice due to its tight integration with the selected hardware. The graphical programming language is easy to use, versatile, has a myriad of modules and tools available (including the ability to target a real-time embedded OS), and very good support.

electronica 2010 – wireless & fireside chat!


No country organises trade exhibitions like Germany. The names of many of their cities are synonomous with various aspects of industry because they organise THE trade fair of a particular field. Today is the turn of Munich, the beautiful capital of Bavaria and the industry is Electronics.

Energy efficiency, environmental compatibility, cost reduction and flexibility are just some of the challenges facing the electronics industry today. At electronica 2010, the global electronics industry will demonstrate how it will rise to these challenges in the following months and years. The show will be held at the New Munich Trade Fair Center (D) from November 9 to 12, 2010. Over a period of four days, the exhibition halls will once again be the place where companies meet at the world’s most important trade fair for electronics.

Automotive with the main theme of electromobility, displays and e-signage or digital signage, embedded systems with hardware and software, medical electronics, MEMS, photovoltaics and renewable energies are just some of the topics that will dominate this year’s trade fair.

It is to cover the entire spectrum of technologies, products and solutions of the electronics industry: from semiconductors, sensors, measuring and testing, electronics design, passive components, power supply, PCBs and other non-mounted circuit carriers through to EMS.

hybridica 2010 (development and manufacture of hybrid components), will be staged alongside electronica 2010 with close synergy effects and will present the latest developments and production processes regarding hybrid components.

Automotivethe future of markets and technologies in the trade fair, forum and conference
With a 3-pillar concept including the trade fair itself, the automotive forum and the electronica automotive conference, electronica 2010 will feature a wide range of automotive information.

The key topics of the electronica automotive conference on November 8 and 9, 2010 will be electromobility, driver assistance, communication and global growth markets. The first day will be dominated by strategy lectures by leading managers in the semiconductor, supply and automotive industries. The second day will be reserved for pioneering technology developments and will be aimed, in particular, at technical executives.

Wireless Congresswireless applications as a driving-force for research and development
The conference program on the following days will be devoted to the topic of wireless. The Wireless Congress 2010: Systems & Applications will clearly illustrate the special importance of wireless applications as a driving-force for research and development in the electronics industry.

CEO Round Table and Munich Electronics Summit – top-level networks
Top executives will exchange ideas and opinions during the CEO Round Table, a public podium discussion, during electronica 2010. The CEO Round Table will again be one of the highlights of electronica 2010.

electronica is directed at business leaders from large international enterprises through the new event Munich Electronics Summit. An exclusive fireside discussion has been created solely for this group of persons and will be an opportunity for CEOs and managing directors to informally exchange ideas and network with one another.

Forum program – geared towards the needs of the industry
The talks during electronica 2010 will be spread over a total of five forums: the automotive forum, the embedded forum, the e-signage forum, the electronica forum and the ZVEI forum.

Technical talks and discussions will be the focal points of the application-oriented forums. The electronica forum and ZVEI forum will concentrate on general technology topics and other applications such as MEMS, medical electronics, wireless, organic electronics, photovoltaics and renewable energies.

Trade Fair Success Initiative – optimum use of the trade fair budget
The aim of the new exhibitor service is to continually increase the positive effects for companies through attendance at a trade fair. The service package includes a trade fair-related program of workshops, online training courses, IT-based work tools and numerous services to help exhibitors prepare, implement and follow up their participation in a trade fair.

A large number of services from the Trade Fair Success Initiative are offered free of charge in order to ensure maximum success for all trade fair participants through optimum support.



Major show in the heart of Europe

Picture from The Industrial Ethernet Book

Wading through SPS/IDC/Drives 2009

Entrance to show

The biggest city of the ancient tutonic dukedom of Franconia, Nueremburg, is the site of one of the largest automation exhibitions in the world – SPS/IPC/DRIVES
In the English speaking world an electric automation show that presented 1,237 exhibitors to 48,595 vistors sounds like an impossible dream.
These exhibitors – manufacturers of electric automation technology – presented products and services from the following sectors: Control Technology; IPCs; Drive Systems and Components; Human-Machine-Interface Devices; Industrial Communication; Sensor Technology; Industrial Software; Interface Technology; Electromechanical Components and Peripheral Equipment.

Apparently impervious to the ills that other shows like Interkama – now subsumed and swamped in three sections of the Hannover Fair called Industrial Automation, and ISAExpo, which finally closed its doors this year, SPS/IPC/Drives seems to grow from strength to strength. Though we are all suffering from the effects of the global financial chaos this show managed to increase the attendance from last year by 490 – admitedly a small increase but an increase nevertheless.

The organisers reported after the first day “The rush for the exhibition is unbroken in 2009. According to the first analysis the same number of visitors as in the record year of 2008 came to Nuremberg on the first day of SPS/IPC/DRIVES 2009.”

We had selected to attend the Houston Show this year so we have had to rely on tweets and other “social media” to compose this commentary. Unfortunately there was not an agreed hash tag for the show so it was difficult to see the tweets under one heading.

We conducted three searches as follows:


Carl Henning of ProfiBus US was tweeting from the show and also told us how he was tweeting from a blog post entitled “Trekker Tweeting Technology” He uploaded a few pictures as well, though unsurprisingly these were mostly of the PI stand!

Carl Henning' picture

ProfiBus at SPS

His first SPS Report 1: The Show was posted on Friday 27th, and on the Saturday he posted SPS Report 2: PI Booth Tour (some videos here including a booth walk through!), and during the following days he posted SPS Report 3: IO-Link, SPS Report 4: PROFIsafe, SPS Report 5: PROFIenergy and SPS Report 6: Walking the Show Floor.

Of course ProfiBus were not alone at the show. Fieldbus Foundation took the opportunity to reflecto over it’s positive marketing achievements in EMEA and launch a new Report from the ARC Group called The Business Value Proposition of Control in the Field.

John Rinaldi’s Realtime Automation blog published a brief report on SPS Show-Nurnberg.

Examples of tweets in English from the show were:
“I’m standing at the Aerotech stand at a very busy SPS Drives show in Nuremberg”
“Presentation by Hilscher recognizing the value of social media – like Twitter..”
“Exhibiting new sine wave filters and low-leakage EMC/EMI filters.”
“…Show is extremely busy-so busy I didn’t have time to Tweet until now. Exhibitors are really happy. 1 said “almost too busy!”
“…a great day at the SPS/IPC/DRIVES exibition & congress in Nurnberg – web automation is on the rise”
“..Just returned from a visit to SPS/IPC/Drives show in Nuremberg. Massive show and very busy which is a good sign for a recovery next year!”
“Wrapping up 3 fantastic days at SPS/IPC/Drives in Nuremberg. Thankful for the opportunity to meet with new and long time customers.”
“…that was SPS 2009. SPS 2010 will be Nov 23 – 25..”

Not surprisingly many of the links here are in languages other than English. These have been indicated by the prefixes (D) for German and (RU) for Russian. We may have links in other languages later. We suggest that those who do not read these languages use GoogleTranslate German to translate the German pages and GoogleTranslate Russian for those in Russian.

Shortly before the opening of the show Control Engineering issued a digital issue of their magazine, “You now have the opportunity to view our unique ActiveMagazine prior to the start of SPS in Germany!”
The Australian publication Motors & Drives reports SPS/IPS/Drives exhibition enters its 20th year.
DS Europe SPS: congatec Presents APIX Starter Kit

Another publication was the German language (D) konstructions praxis.de. This publication also conducted a number of video interviews in German.
Channel e (D) SPS/IPC/DRIVES 2009 eröffnet
Pressbox (D) Neuer SPS-Connector stellt direkte Verbindung zu SAP-System her
DerWesten (part of the WAZ media group) (D) Kostal Industrie Elektrik aus Hagen präsentiert Neuheit auf der Messe SPS
IW -online (D) Neuer SPS-Connector stellt direkte Verbindung zu SAP-System her und Innovationen von HARTING auf der SPS/IPC/DRIVES
The Swiss epublication Megalionk (D) SPS/IPC/DRIVES 2009: Bühne der Innovationen
Maschinen Markt MM (D) SPS/IPC/Drives 2009 – die Welt der elektrischen Automatisierung unter einem Dach
Elektrotechnik (D)490 Besucher mehr als 2008
Automation.net (RU) ткрылась выставка SPS/IPC/DRIVES 2009
RussKabel.ru (RU) Продукция компании “Belden” на выставке SPS/IPC/DRIVES

There were a number of people on the floor taking photographs amont these were vanveeteren who gives a blog address of Notizblog (German). However the Industrial Ethernet Book surpassed themselves with pictures which give a flavour of the show. This picture of the Siemens stand, from neumsn, gives a good impression of a well attended show.

FDT on iPhone: You don’t believe it? We’ll show it to you!

An interesting press conference we would like to have attended was by Andreas Börngen, Director Sales and Product Marketing at M&M Software. In it he discussed FDT 2.0: Advantages, Benefits, Implementation. One of the things they promised to show was FDT on the iPhone. Is there anything these gadgets can’t do?

Company Press Releases

  • Micro-Epsilon to exhibit its thermoMETER CT ratio pyrometer at SPS|IPC|DRIVES exhibition
  • Energy efficiency and power density from ebm-papst
  • Belden releases new Eagle 20 Tofino line of Plug-n-Protect™ industrial security products
  • LEM’s portfolio of comprehensive battery monitoring components
  • ifm: Compact pressure sensor for applications in robotics and handling
  • Pictures by Indusoft
  • (D) Engineers Lounge This is a collection of information in German on products launched or displayed at the show.
  • (D) Siemens präsentiert neue RFID-UHF-Komponenten
  • (D) Balluff Presseinformationen zur SPS 2009
  • (D) TRIMOD: revolutionäre USV-Anlage von Meta System auf der SPS/IPC/DRIVES in Nürnberg
  • The next SPS/IDC/Drives is scheduled for 23 – 25 November 2010



    28000 professionals visit

    Queues at productronica 09

    Queues register on the first day

    Welcome to the 18th productronica! Welcome to the home of innovations! Welcome to Munich!

    This was the tweet from the large Productronica in the capital of Bavaria. And by 9.00 am the queues were building for those who had not registered on-line.
    The twitter pages are #productronica or #prd09.

    Obwohl streng genommen kein Automation Show fühlten wir uns gab es genügend Inhalte in ihr versuchen, ihre Fortschritte zu verfolgen. Beschrieben als “Welt-Leitmesse für alle Aspekte der Elektronik-Fertigung” hat eine beneidenswerte fast 100% Anteil der High-Profile-Fachbesucher.
    Viele der Links hier zwar in erster Linie auf englischen Seiten können auch Seiten in deutscher Sprache auf der Website!

    Though strictly speaking not an automation show we felt there was sufficient content in it to try to follow its progress. Described as the “world´s leading trade fair for all aspects of innovative electronics production” it has an enviable almost 100% share of high-profile trade visitors.

    The productronica show site itself is available in two languages. Here it is in English. Many of the talks and sessions were in English, or available with English translations.

    A newsletter was published by elektroniknet.de but as far as we could see was not available on-line.

    Here are the links (mostly in English)

  • Protean’s Productronica Diary; Part IV (13/11/2009)
  • Protean’s Productronica Diary; Part III(12/11/2009)
  • Protean’s Productronica Diary; Part I (11/11/2009)
  • Protean’s Productronica Diary; Part I (10/11/2009)
  • The Productronica Video Stream.


  • Video interviews with Volker Pape,(Viscom), Günter Lauber, (Siemens) and Wolfgang Merz, (Schleuniger) (German with English voice-over) and Impressions of productronica’09 (in German but good as a visual overview!)
  • Podcast

  • Annik Rubens walks the 800,000 square feet and Podcasts from the show.
  • Releases
    From Productronica

  • productronica confirms its position as the world’s leading trade fair (13/11/2009)
  • Self-organizing production in future (12/11/2009)
  • Innovations as the main driving-force behind growth in the electronics production industry (11/11/2009)
  • productronica 2009 provides clear indications of a trend change (9/11/2009)
  • From exhibitors

  • PXI Capabilities for Semiconductor Test With New Suite of Modular Instruments (National Instruments)
  • Juki secured 9 new projects at productronica
  • The next productronica is scheduled for the New Munich Trade Fair Center from November 15 to 18, 2011.

    Showgrounds in Munich (D)

    The extensive show grounds in Munich