UK manufacturing event take centre stage
28 February 2016
Drives & Controls Exhibition & Conference returns to the NEC, bringing the latest developments in manufacturing together under one roof.
The biennial co-located events; Drives & Controls, Plant and Asset Management, European Offshore Energy, Fluid Power & Systems, and Air-Tech Exhibitions– are once again set to return to Birmingham’s NEC (Halls 3/3A), April 12-14 2016, alongside MACH 2016.
Organiser, DFA Media, anticipates that the 2016 show will cover at least 50 percent more floor space than in 2014 with a prediction of at least 50 more exhibitors in Drives & Controls alone.
And there are some big names exhibiting this year, including Mitsubishi, which will take advantage of the event to showcase new product introductions, including an expanded MELSEC iQ control and automation platform and the new FR-F800 variable speed drives range, which offers advanced features for fan and pump control, like predictive and condition based maintenance functions and automatic pump curve detection. Mitsubishi will also have a presence in the new robotics demonstration area of the show, of which more later.
Regular exhibitor, Lenze will bring its new i500 frequency inverters to the UK for the first time, while also announcing an important extension to its range of geared motors. Demonstrations on the stand include easy programming for robotic drives, time-saving in the commissioning of conveyors and optimised drive selection for energy saving. There will be a comfortable discussion area with eight experienced engineers on hand each day. Invited customers and prospective customers will be entered into a prize draw.
Meanwhile, celebrating its 30th birthday at the show, Motor Technology will be showing the new Mack drive system, from Axor Industries. This reduces cost by sharing the incoming supply across multiple axes, removing the need for filtering, power conversion and regeneration circuitry on individual drives; it also has reduced processor costs due to centralised control.
With products from suppliers such as LTi Drives, AXOR, Trio, Moog, Lenord+Bauer, Girard, Tramec, Festo, LAM, Motor Power Company and Metronix, amongst others, Motor Technology's portfolio ranges from individual components to full turn-key systems.
There are many first-time exhibitors at this year's show, as well as companies that haven’t attended the event for many years. Among the newcomers are: Applied Automation, which will be taking part in the robotics demonstration area as well as having its own stand; Cornelius Electronics, a Welsh producer of cable assemblies and manufacturing systems; the electrical equipment specialist, Mersen; the energy and automation supplier, Lovato Electric; the measurement and controls vendor, Techni Measure; the small motors specialist, Portescap; the chain manufacturer, Ramsey Chain, which was established in the US more than 90 years ago and has a UK base in Wales; ABB’s low-voltage division, ABB Controls; the enclosures supplier, Fibox, which will be showing its highly successful ARCA enclosure range; and the Haley Group.
Recent sign-ups from abroad include the Turkish control gear and electrical equipment manufacturer, EMAS; the French belt specialist, Hutchinson (which will be appearing on the pavilion organised by the European Power Transmission Distributors Association), the Italian motor-maker, Carpanelli Motori Elettrici, and Apex Dynamics, a planetary gearbox manufacturer whose headquarters are in the US.
Among the many companies that have signed up recently to return to the Drives & Controls Exhibition following successful appearances at previous shows are: Delta Line; Automation Experts; RS Components; Principle Engineering; WEG Electric Motors; Kormag; Danfoss Drives; Semikron; Phoenix Contact; Beijer Electronics; and Vacon (which will have a presence on the Gambica pavilion).
As mentioned above, the Drives & Controls event will debut a dedicated area where some of the latest industrial robot technology will be demonstrated. Indeed, the new demonstration area has attracted many big names, including: ABB Robotics, Mitsubishi, Applied Automation, B&R Industrial Automation, Harmonic Drive, Universal Robot, RA Rodriguez, Staubli and Active8 Robots.
X-STK/Applied Automation will be showcasing three very different types of advanced robots in the Live Robotic Zone, and working alongside the team will be collaborative robots (or ‘cobots’) from Universal Robots. Lightweight and easy to programme, these affordable six-axis robot arms operate safely without guarding. X-STK will also demonstrate mobile robotics by sending an Adept Lynx AIV (Autonomous Indoor Vehicle) out to explore the aisles of the Drives and Controls Show. The Lynx is designed to move goods around challenging environments, intelligently navigating around people and unplanned obstacles.
With the three robots, X-STK will demonstrate different ways the human and robot workforce can work seamlessly together, improving efficiency and quality and lowering costs. Also on display on this stand will be the MayTec range of aluminium profile and pipe and joint systems used to build machine frames, guards and factory equipment.
X-STK/Applied Automation managing director, David Rowe is enthusiastic about his company's first appearance at Drives and Controls. "The Robotics Zone will be a great opportunity for visitors to see how the sector is evolving," he says. "The collaborative robots from Universal Robots are proving hugely popular and we’re expecting a lot of interest in them.”
There will be several examples of the new generation of cobots on show. Among these, robots from the Danish cobot pioneer, Universal Robots, will be demonstrated by the company’s UK distributor, RA Rodriguez.
Yaskawa, is one of the latest exhibitors to sign up. As well as sharing a large stand with its Vipa controls subsidiary, Yaskawa will also take part in the show’s robot demonstration zone. Another new arrival in this zone is Baxter, the two-armed cobot developed by US-based Rethink Robotics. Baxter, which has a distinctive 'face' display, will be demonstrated by Rethink’s UK distributor, Active8 Robots.
The growing importance of robots will also be emphasised within the free seminar programme, with presentations covering topics such as dispelling the risks, fears and unknowns of modern day robotics, as well as the trend for removing the guarding from robotic cells and the practical and regulatory constraints surrounding such advances in robotics applications.
The free 2016 seminar and conference programme will offer a comprehensive speaker programme with a strong emphasis on technology, entrepreneurship, skills, regulations, the environment, and safety. In addition to robotics, subjects open for discussion in the Drives & Controls Seminar Theatre will include many aspects of automation, energy efficiency, machine safety, drives, motion control, legislation, system strategies and technological developments. The speakers are drawn from across industry, government agencies, the EU, research bodies, trade associations, and manufacturers.
New for 2016, exhibition organiser, DFA Media has teamed up with The Industry Entrepreneurship Network to put on a series of panel discussions during the three-day event, which will run alongside the seminar programme.
The three sessions will cover the topics of ‘Blended Education’, ‘Entrepreneurship in Industry’ and ‘The Economics of Manufacturing’ with panels formed from the network’s membership of established entrepreneurs, industrial companies and leading UK trade, science, education and engineering organisations.
With support from many of the leading trade bodies and membership organisations in the UK as well as some of the most influential thought leaders and influencers, the IEN is facilitated by technical and innovation consultancy, Cadence Innovation Marketing.
To register and find out more Drives&Controls 2016, click here.
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