New Products, Advancements Mark SPS/IPC/Drives 2012

Jan. 8, 2013
The annual SPS/IPC/Drives trade fair in Nuremberg, Germany, is one of the largest of its kind in the world for factory automation. Although largely German in orientation, there is a significant international composition to the show.

Product development activities for companies are often geared toward a significant event for unveiling finished products. For German companies, this show is the event. Much of the news from the 2012 show, held Nov. 27-29, concerns products.

The Automation World correspondent from Germany, and editor in chief of SPS Magazin, Martin Buchwitz has provided an analysis (see of one of the major announcements from the show—Siemens' ( S7 1500 PLC family. Worth noting is that software is becoming more important to the controller line. The TIA Portal engineering development software announced last year has been enhanced to further drive productivity and efficiency. Product managers said that the backplane communications are the highest speed they have ever implemented.

The OPC Foundation ( press conference featured collaboration with building automation standards organizations and advancements in adopting OPC UA embedded in devices. OPC UA 1.02 features HTTPS protocol, XML schemas and enhanced redundancy. Working groups for cooperation with BACnet, PLCopen and MES applications are in process.

Beckhoff Automation ( introduced new industrial PCs (IPCs) and enhanced ergonomic supports for displays. Its Extended Transport (XTA) motion conveying system was featured at the booth (online, see the video: Also notable is the latest TwinSafe safety controller with improved diagnostics and TwinCat engineering software with an integrated development environment (IDE) designed to keep up with advances in Microsoft's Visual Studio and Simulink integration.

An engineer from Daimler was featured at the Profibus ( press conference who explained the successes of a beta test of ProfiEnergy that reduced energy consumption by more than 50 percent during downtimes. Emerson Process Management ( also announced support for Profibus DP and PA.

The FDT Group ( announced that the organization now has 90 members and is on a growth trajectory. DTM certifications are also growing rapidly.

Additional video reports from SPS, available online at, include information from Moxa, Innovasic, Siemens and Belden.

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