European Technology On Stage

With forecast sales of 60 million Euros for 2011—greater than in the record year of 2008—Rittal (www.rittal.com) told a conference of the technical press as the company celebrated its 50th anniversary that it was very confident for its future.

Founded in 1961 by Rudolf Loh, father of current Chairman Friedhelm Loh, the company announced it will continue to focus on innovation for its future expansion. Expansion plans include investment in research and development, which comes to between 5 percent and 6 percent of revenues per year.

“Technology is rapidly evolving, even in industrial fields,” said Marco Villa, chief executive officer of Rittal Italia. “Cloud computing, for example, is driving the need to manage huge data volumes and IT infrastructures have to face that problem by implementing powerful servers, which have to be cooled. With our cabinets, we provide the right technology to cool server farms and racks, reducing energy consumption and looking at sustainability.

“Our climate-controlled systems are able to recover the heat produced by the devices in the rack and use it for other purposes. We also adapt conditioning motors to the cooling system requirements, in order to reduce the total energy consumption. Modern coatings provide nanotechnology treatments, guaranteeing more isolation and better resistance when cabinets have to be used outdoors, as in the majority of photovoltaic implementations. We nowadays need 10 times less energy to dispel the same heat amount as 10 years ago.”

Vision companies see increase

Vision companies are targeting healthcare and life science as the most attractive markets for future business. Companies are preparing for Vision 2011, the 24th edition of the main European event for machine vision scheduled in Stuttgart, Germany, November 8-10.

“Machine vision companies faced the most difficult period of their history in the past two years,” said Thomas Walter, chief of the Industrial and Technology Division at Messe Stuttgart, the event organizer. Nevertheless, we have registered this year a 20 percent increase in the number of exhibitors in comparison to 2008, with 45 percent of the companies coming from abroad and an exhibition area coverage of 20.000 square meters.”

Walter spoke during the official presentation of the 2011 event to the technical press. The meeting took place in Mannheim, Germany, close to Frankfurt at the headquarters of VRmagic, an innovative German camera and vision systems producer. Although the non-industrial fields currently comprise a small percentage of the overall revenues of the vision market, this is supposed to increase year by year. Also, the medical segment seems to be particularly interesting.

During the gathering, journalists had the opportunity to ‘play with’ an intelligent multi-camera system developed by the host. The system helps beginning eye surgeons improve their manual skills in surgery by using virtual reality and attending a virtual training course. “These applications will improve our everyday life, increasing the quality of healthcare treatments,” explained Markus Schill, medical engineer and a member of VRmagic’s Board.

Another main trend for the vision sector concerns China. “Chinese producers facing workers’ incomes growth, cannot outsource to improve their revenues, [so] they need to automate their processes,” explained Olaf Muckelt, chairman of the VDMA (the association which represent the German Engineering Industry in Europe)—Machine Vision Group. “As a consequence, the demand for automation systems and products, also for cameras and artificial vision platforms for the semiconductor, glass, plastic industries, will considerably increase. The automotive industry remains the main user for machine vision builders and investments in this market seem to be moving forward now that car builders are looking for new technologies to make cars be more eco-friendly.”

Ilaria De Poli, ilaria.depoli@fieramilanoeditore.it, is an editor at “Fiera Milano Editore,” in Italy.

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