From 24-26 May, Process Expo 2011 showcased the instrumentation and control industry in a hands-on style that impressed visually, informed technically and found its newest niche in the Process Training Academy. The event was well put together around an S-shaped floor arrangement that kept things moving efficiently and ensured that visitors missed nothing during the walk-through. Several vendors commented to me that the quality of delegates was high this year and that it was good to see so many industry decision makers filtering their way through the exhibition.
What impressed me particularly was the upbeat vibe on the stands, it was impossible to ignore. Rob Mckenzie and the team at Endress+Hauser spoke delightedly to the media about the Group’s all time high financials recorded for 2010, a trend he says that was mirrored in the local market (see ‘Endress+Hauser reports all time high’). We also had an opportunity to meet Chris Gimson, recently deployed to South Africa to head up the Endress+Hauser Pyrotemp temperature sensor manufacturing facility in Benoni. This is a world-class operation and under Chris’ leadership will take the next step of integration within the organisation’s global network infrastructure (see ‘Endress+Hauser appoints new manager for local temperature production centre’).
One senses the industry is rebounding from the hardship of 2009 and new development is everywhere. The Mitsubishi Adroit Process Suite (MAPS) exhibit served as an excellent reminder of the close association that is developing between a winning South African company and a major multinational player. Adroit Technologies’ Dave Wibberley spoke warmly about the response. “Process 2011 has been by far the most professional and successful event in the process industry in the past five years. The numbers and more importantly the quality of visitor exceeded our expectations and from a lead generation point of view this has been fantastic.”
There was plenty more on offer. Siemens had its new 78 GHz radar level measurement technology on display. This interesting high frequency application is designed for narrow beam divergence to avoid silo wall obstructions and other installation interferences; the short wavelength gives good signal response off solid surfaces with a steep angle of repose. Alongside this, Yokogawa took advantage of the opportunity to launch its wireless monitoring and control solution based on ISA 100.11a, the wireless standard engineered for improved flexibility and easy network expansion. Steve Edwards from R&C Instrumentation commented that the smaller suppliers were benefitting from this exposure alongside the majors. “A great platform to present our company along with the new equipment, this is the first time we are exhibiting at the show and it has paid off. We have plenty of site demos arranged and then there will be the opportunities to quote on new business.”
And it was not only the vendor exhibits that attracted attention, during the time I spent on the SAIMC stand it was gratifying to see the interest in the Society and its partnership with the First Lego League competition. Council intentions to raise the organisation’s profile are starting to pay dividends and the enthusiasm from committee members in evidence at the show bodes well for the future. Perhaps the highest compliment to the event, and the instrumentation fraternity in general, was overheard here by past president Vivian MacFadyen while he was busy getting things setup. “This is an amazing group. They all know each other, they are all great and they all help one another.”
This is what took the edge off those freezing mornings at Nasrec and gave my Technews colleagues and me such worthwhile opportunities for interaction, both as interested Expo visitors and as media partner to élancommunications.
At the end, Endress+Hauser marketing manager Hennie Blignaut summed it up best: “Process 2011 gave end-users the chance to visit a large number of suppliers, experience all the latest new products and technologies and get the benefit of training that covered a diverse variety of subjects.”
Time well spent I thought.
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