From the editor's desk: Packed events calendar set to sizzle
March 2017, News
April: Wonderware X-Change; May: Rockwell Automation University; June: Africa Automation Fair
Over the next few months, the local automation calendar has a banquet of world-class conferences in store for delegates. Supported by a who’s who of local and international experts, all the latest trends in production technology and methods will be on display at various conference venues around the country. There is an abundance of information on offer, which leaves busy manufacturing professionals to wonder how best they can fit in this entire feast.
Now in its 25th year, X-Change sets the benchmark for this type of conference on the African continent. Apart from the international line-up of keynote speakers, what always impresses about this event is the infectious camaraderie that radiates between organisers and delegates alike. Much of the value of this User Group ‘getaway’ lies in the informal networking opportunities that simply cannot be created any other way.
Hosted again at Sun City, this year’s conference headlines the introduction of a new era in HMI/Scada systems. Schneider Electric has listened to its customers’ requirements for a centralised, vendor agnostic management tool that offers a set of standard interfaces designed to maximise asset performance across the entire plant. The outcome – and star of the show – is Wonderware Prometheus, a configuration and development platform which drives agility across control layers through end-to-end lifecycle management across both single and multi-site automation platforms, even if these contain equipment from a variety of different vendors.
The rest of the packed line-up includes 45 technical presentations and 12 end-user discussions, alongside the 24 system integrators and solution partners on display in the Collaboration Expo area. See the complete conference preview in 'See the future of industrial software at X-Change 2017' and visit www.x-change.co.za to register.
Rockwell Automation University
This comprehensive two-day learning experience from Rockwell Automation takes place from 17-18 May at Emperors Palace. Targeted at systems integrators, engineers and manufacturing IT professionals, this year’s IIoT related theme is ‘The Connected Enterprise – Smart Productive Secure’.
Designed to help delegates find a way through the current and future challenges faced by the manufacturing industry, the event explores the new era of convergence between manufacturing performance metrics and the art of process control. Delivery is through shared news, views and some 50 hands-on laboratories, demonstrations and technology presentations. The format gives delegates the flexibility to plan a programme specific to their individual needs, while industry seminars will be conducted for the mining, oil and gas, water and wastewater, consumer and automotive industries. See 'Automation University in South Africa – May 2017' for registration details.
Africa Automation Fair
This is Big Mamma – Africa Automation Fair 2017 is a convention triple play. Running beside it is the Connected Industries Conference, and running as an extension of it, is Pollution & Waste Technology Africa.
While AAF remains a dedicated showcase for the latest trends in industrial control technology, the Connected Industries Conference is unique on the continent. For the first time, representatives of the South African government, higher education representatives, local and international industry experts, suppliers and end users will come together to discuss digitalisation, the ideas of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and the technologies that will take these forward in Africa.
Internationally, digitalisation and sustainability are two of the dominant trends in manufacturing at the moment. Digitalisation links the ideas of data analytics and Cloud computing with the traditional realms of MES and process control to generate a new breed of manufacturing metrics, richer and more powerful than anything that has gone before. A significant part of their influence is the newfound potential to minimise the production costs at a plant within the limits of energy consumption and environmental compatibility, addresses the environmental aspects through the technology and solutions for processing, managing and recycling pollution and waste across all industry sectors.
Africa Automation Fair 2017 ticks all the boxes required for smarter manufacturing. See 'It is all happening at Africa Automation Fair 2017' for more.
Editor: SA Instrumentation & Control