Springtime in Birmingham – the place to be to learn all about developments in the engineering and manufacturing arena, as Drives and Controls, (along with a host of co-located events), opens its doors from 17-19th April

The NEC plays host to a significant manufacturing and engineering event this April, with Drives and Controls, Air-Tech, IFPEX, and the Plant and Asset Management Exhibition all taking place alongside MACH. In addition to the exhibitions themselves, there will also be a dedicated seminar programme for each show, making your visit even more worthwhile.

A highlight of this year’s Drives and Controls Show will be a pavilion organised by the European Power Transmission Distributors Association (EPTDA) and featuring up to 15 of its members. This will be the first time that the EPTDA has organised such an event away from Hannover. “It is a chance for our members to get a better grip on the UK market,” said EPTDA executive vice-president Hans Hanegreefs, who expects most of his members at the show to be from outside the UK.

“It’s a clear indication that the UK is still seen as a gateway to Europe because of its cultural and language background,” said Hanegreefs. “We hope that it will be very successful.”

Newcomers to the show

Encouragingly, there are a number of companies who have signed up to exhibit at the show for the first time. These newcomers include Charter Controls, REO, Sensor-Technik, Motion Control Products, British Encoder Products and Wieland Electric.

Former exhibitors which have booked to return to the show include Sick, HMK, and Pilz.

Sick will be holding regular 15 minute ‘walk throughs’ of the new machinery safety standards BS EN13849-1 & 2 for Safety Related Control Systems and the Sistema software utility. Booking is advisable, though not essential, and those who do pre-register will be entered into a draw to win an iPod Touch.

Sick will also unveil its Hiperface DSL motor feedback interface technology for encoders and will launch its Ethernet-based fieldbus encoders for the AFS60 and AFM60 family of encoders.

Still in the subject of safety, Pilz will have a team of machine safety experts on hand throughout the show, to give advice on functional safety-related control standards and applications. Live demonstrations and free copies of the Pilz ‘PAScal Safety Calculator Software’ will be given, which caters for both Performance Level (EN ISO 13849-1) and Safety Integrity Level (EN 62061) and produces technical reports as required by the standards.

HMK?Automation & Drives, the motion control distribution partner for Siemens, will show its full range of motion control, engineered drives, mechanical components and solutions at the exhibition.

The Drives and Controls seminar programme will include sessions on topics such as health & safety, cloud based solutions, energy efficiency, fluid power, and drive and automation technology for the future. Steve Brambley from Gambica will present a seminar entitled ‘Turn it down, Switch it off – Keeping your motors under control’, while Rittal’s Chris Westwood will speak on the subject of energy efficient climate control.

One initiative new for 2012, is the Energy and Safety seminar theatre, sponsored by CompAir, where themed panel discussions and seminar presentations will focus on key energy management topics, ranging from wind turbine maintenance, to the latest legislative debates surrounding health and safety, including machinery safety, and ATEX.

Also new this year is the Exhibitor Forum seminar theatre which will include more technical workshop style presentations, with practical issues being discussed concerning the various sectors that make up Drives and Controls, Air-Tech, and IFPEX.

The Plant and Asset Management Exhibition will have two free seminar theatres, but you will need to book in advance to guarantee a seat. A couple of examples of process-related seminars include ‘Utilising second-hand process equipment’, by Darren Bentham of Perry Process Equipment, and ‘The Evolution and use of condition monitoring products for the UK process industry’, presented by Brian Forrest from Pruftechnik.

Other sessions in the pipeline include: The early and accurate detection of rolling element bearing faults; Risk mitigation through strategic maintenance and reliability; Knowledge management and global asset management; OEE and effective asset management; and Linking maintenance and asset management.

Combined, the seminar theatres will give delegates the opportunity to pick up best practice tips and valuable advice from a variety of speakers, representing a cross section of the engineering and manufacturing sector.

Compressed air and fluid power

Those interested in compressed air, vacuum and generation will benefit  from a visit to Air-Tech, while anyone keen to learn about the developments in the Fluid Power industry will find the International Fluid Power Exhibition (IFPEX 2012) useful. Both events are co-located with Drives and Controls and latest signatories include Gardner Denver, Abdex, Herose, AEP and I.M.M Hydraulics.

At Air-Tech 2012, compressor manufacturer Gardner Denver will be showcasing technologies from its compressor brands over four separate stands, including the launch of its 22 to 30kW range of CompAir variable speed compressors – the first time the new models will be exhibited in the UK.

Another exhibitor at Air-Tech, Herose, will exhibit it’s comprehensive range of safety, control,  industrial and check valves. The British Compressed Air Society (BCAS) will also be present at the show, providing expert and impartial advice on compressed air system legislation, performance and best practice.

With MACH, the manufacturing technologies exhibition, running alongside the other events, visitors to the NEC in April will be treated to a wealth of manufacturing and engineering information, all under one roof! NEW (National Electronics Week):UK 2012, Electrex and IPEE?2012 will also take place at the NEC during the same week. 

Drives and Controls