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AS-i experts network at Old Trafford

06 June 2007

Geoff Hodgkinson, AS-Interface Expert Alliance Chairman welcomed delegates to ASi-tech 2007 – the annual conference and exhibition run by the AS-Interface Expert Alliance - with news that more than 11 million devices worldwide now use AS-Interface for connecting control and monitoring equipment in process control and factory automation applications.

ASi-tech was a day-long event held at Old Trafford focused on the world-beating AS-Interface networking technology for actuators and sensors. Vendors, system integrators and end users from a broad range of industries benefited from a full day of AS-Interface education, information and technical updates. The event offered delegates the chance to meet the UK’s leading experts in implementing and installing AS-Interface networks.

The conference was kicked off by Fabricio Grenados (Bihl + Wiedemann) and Andy Verwer (Manchester Metropolitan University) who presented an introduction to the technology, including a ‘hands-on the yellow cable’ session that enabled newcomers to AS-Interface to learn the basics. This was followed by papers concentrating on how to avoid installation pitfalls and the benefits integrating AS-interface with higher level fieldbuses and Industrial Ethernet.

Later, Mr Verwer outlined the 2.1 extensions launched several years ago before going on to describe the latest Version 3 changes. These are quite radical, he said, offering greatly enhanced functionality that in some cases crosses over the boundary with fieldbuses.

Guest speaker Phil Parry from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) gave a detailed talk on the latest Standards influencing Functional Safety systems, before Paul Hingley from Siemens Automation & Drives reported that AS-Interface Safety at Work (ASiSafe) was making serious inroads into the machine safety market with over 10,000 functional safety devices installed in the UK alone.

Within the exhibition there were a number of exciting new products including a unique AS-Interface analogue positioner from Schubert & Salzer Control Systems that provides a simple cost effective alternative to using higher level fieldbuses. Bihl+Wiedemann had a `second-generation’ AS-Interface Safety Monitor with integrated Master. Siemens Automation & Drives revealed more details about its Profibus-DP/ASi gateway, which has the capability to transfer safe data from an ASi Safe network into a ProfiSafe system for greater Safety zoning.

The exhibition was busy throughout the day with exhibitors including Bihl + Wiedemann, Controlled Lubrication, Fortress Interlocks, Kuhnke, LC Automation, MMU, Schubert & Salzer, Siemens A&D, Sigmapi Systems and WAGO.

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