Huge crowds packed the sprawling Hannover Fair again this year from April 24–28. Many automation companies either based in North America or with strong North American presence were exhibiting at the event.
Woodhead Industries, based in Deerfield, Ill., announced a branding strategy in an attempt to gain recognition of its portfolio of brands that had grown over the years through acquisitions. The Daniel Woodhead name has been identified with electrical products, so the master brand for electrical products will be Woodhead. Similarly, the brand for automation products will be Brad, derived from the company’s Brad Harrison product line. Within the automation brand are product categories BradConnectivity, BradCommunications, BradControl and BradPower.
The company also announced a series of M12 Ethernet connectors and cordsets. Product line manager John Sullivan reports that Ethernet products are now widely accepted in industry. The Ultra-Lock quick connect system has now been adapted for food, beverage and pharmaceutical manufacturers through a design using stainless steel and construction meeting the IP69K stringent washdown standard.
Digi International, of Minnetonka, Minn., showed a wireless wide area network router for cellular communications. Meanwhile, Bakersfield, Calif., industrial communications specialist ProSoft Technology introduced in-rack wireless modules for Schneider Electric’s Quantum and Rockwell Automation’s ControlLogix programmable logic controller platforms.
Swiss automation supplier ABB had many announcements that enhanced its AC drives product line including a new interface module with the same look and feel across the entire line, a new air-cooled 6 kV drive and a line of water-cooled enclosed drives for use in unfriendly environments. The company has also released SAP/Batch Connect, connecting the System 800xA batch management application with the SAP enterprise resource planning application.
The huge European fair is a magnet for those seeking to attract manufacturing employment, such as Ohio Governor Bob Taft. In an interview with Automation World, Taft explained how the state has aggressively sought to lure companies bringing manufacturing jobs to the state. He has made nine international trips for economic development outside the country. The state has had eight years of growth in exports. Taft noted that the state has an excellent infrastructure in place to help international companies locate there, plus excellent education and a skilled workforce.