Rockwell Automation Fair 2016
World Congress Center Atlanta, GA
Premier Automation Event
I wasn’t sure what they meant by the word “Premier” in the following description from the Rockwell Automation Fair web site, but I had a day and decided to check it out. I was not disappointed.
Premier Automation Event
The Automation Fair® event is the ideal opportunity to discover how The Connected Enterprise can help you achieve faster time to market, optimize your assets, lower your total cost of ownership and improve enterprise risk.
- Industry forums, hands-on labs and technical sessions were offered to expand your knowledge and use of the latest control, power and information technologies
- Over 150 exhibits from Rockwell Automation and our PartnerNetwork™ members showcased the newest innovations and solutions
- Networking opportunities with industry experts and peers
What I missed
I only had a day to check out this event — and that was my loss, since I missed all the technical sessions due to late registration. There was too much to see in the short time I sliced out for the event, so I could not sit in on a lot of information about the connected enterprise and so much more. There were a large variety of technical sessions and programs that proved to be way too much to see in the 4 hours I spent on the floor.
What I did not miss
What I did not miss was the chance to talk to other integrators and solution providers, engineers, product representatives, and of course the Fanuc Collaborative robot demo and booth. I also made it to the Rockwell Automation booths for connected enterprise, safety PLC, Designer Logix and more. Some of the top names in the business were represented: SMC, Numatics, Weiss, Mettler Toledo, and numerous others. In addition, there was a live STEM demonstration.
More than I expected
While I was fortunate enough to receive invitations from Kawasaki Robotics to Pack Chicago and Kendall Electric , I couldn’t do both. Competing schedules placed me in the position of having to choose. In the end, I chose Atlanta largely because it meant less travel time.
From the time I registered, I was impressed by “the process.” The schedule of events was provided via a phone app that allowed me to map the event and schedule my time or select my areas of emphasis. Grounds parking and signage at the World Congress Center were easy to navigate. Inside there was plenty of help in addition to the plethora of event signage.
My host, Kendall Electric, had a table near the front for me to sign in. There was no line when I went to get my badge — but accommodations had been made in case there had been lines. A TSA-style nylon maze pathway waited.
I went to the kiosk and entered my last name and it printed my badge. The exhibit floor was three floors down and a couple of hundred yards away. Since it was the lunch hour. I decided to scan the exhibit floor for interest, eat, then return with a plan to just spend time where I had the most interest. This turned out to be short-sighted decision because there were only 2 or 3 vendors from among the hundred or so there that did not hold great interest for me.
My first priority was to exlore solutions for a couple of projects I’ve been working on that have stalled for lack of adequate components in the marketplace. This proved fruitful, as possible solutions were discussed. One actuator was accurate to 4/60th’s of a degree.
Next I went towards all things robotic in nature, and met Mecco Product Specialist Ryan Pillar. Mecco is a laser and dot peen marking provider who will be competitive in filling an option in a quote I have out, but I had never heard of them until this event. They were using a Fanuc lr mate to insert a screwdriver into the marking area of the laser and drop it into a chute as a gift for the recipient.
Fanuc has a strong demonstration
Then it was on to the Fanuc areas. They had a representative presence at the show and a strong interest demonstrated by the number of fair attendees in line at their booth. First on my agenda was a visit to their collaborative robot cr-35ia demonstration. The big green panel covered robot was stacking and unstacking boxes that were heavier than you would expect from a collaborative robot. (If you are interested in a collaborative robot, or other industrial robot, or robotic cell contact me by clicking here.)
After a discussion about where collaborative robots fit in the marketplace with Gregory D Buell I moved on to the Fanuc main booth. A large and mostly yellow thing taking up a large portion of convention floor real estate, it was easy to find.
Fanuc had several robots on display demonstrating a wide variety of uses from pick and place to Robodrill, to CNC, and another collaborative robot doing an assembly.
There was a great deal of interest in the CNC robot at this show, with crowds gathering to watch it cut a geodesic dome top pencil holder and present it to the next in line.
I had a great interest in the Fanuc displays. Early in my career I had a class at Trenholm that inspired my direction towards robotics and automation under Ralph Burton. Also, I cut my teeth on Fanuc robot material handling cell installations. So I was happy to be greeted by a familiar Fanuc face, Dick Motley. I hadn’t seen him in years, dating back to a programming class I had taken in NC. We spent a little time discussing my business, Inscho Solutions, integrator and manufacturer collaborations being modeled after AMPEX and Sony, and his move to Charlotte. Then my time was winding down. Much like a kid in a candy store, I was busy trying to get as much in as I could. The Rockwell Safety PLC programming was of interest, the new scanning sensor capabilities, and the STEM booth where young ones were conducting demonstrations. I ran out of time. Here are a few pictures of the event that was much larger than this gallery can illustrate.
I plan to be more prepared for the Atlanta show, next time. It will start with early registration. Then I will arrange to be early, stay late, go with a colleague, and a friend to try to glean all we can from the event. I had been interested in several of the sessions as a continuing education supplement to certain areas of automation. Every session seat was full because of my late registration. If you have time and are interested in what is upcoming in the world of automation this is among the must attend shows!
For more details about the fair, click here.