Some of the best minds in automation gathered this week in Chicago at the 20th annual Automation Fair event hosted by Rockwell Automation. More than 12,000 manufacturing business leaders, industry analysts, media, and technology and service providers from around the world attended the first day of the event at McCormick Place West. The event continues on Nov. 17 where attendees can continue to learn about the newest smart, safe, sustainable manufacturing technologies and solutions.
The week-long series of activities associated with the Automation Fair event is comprised of: safety- and process-focused customer events, a global media forum, technology training sessions, seminars, and more than 125 exhibitors showcasing the latest products and solutions from Rockwell Automation and PartnerNetwork member companies.
“Automation Fair has always been unique: it provides great learning opportunities, nonstop networking, and a show floor that’s like being inside the biggest automation experience on the planet,” said Keith Nosbusch, chairman and CEO, Rockwell Automation. “Together with our PartnerNetwork companies, we help customers gain fresh insights and new solutions to their manufacturing and automation challenges. For 20 years, it has been the world’s best value in automation education.”
On Nov. 16 and 17, industry-focused forums will provide attendees the opportunity to learn from specialists and customers in several areas, including: automotive, energy and environment, food and beverage, global machine builders, metals and mining, oil and gas, and water wastewater. Industry Forum speakers will present best-practice examples of topics such as water optimization in the beverage industry, cyber security in the water sector, and carbon reduction for delivering energy savings.
Pre-Automation Fair Event Highlights
During the days preceding the Automation Fair event, more than 300 automation professionals from around the world attended Safety Automation Forum. The user event included presentations and instructor-led breakout sessions on creating safer, more productive plants. Experts from PepsiCo Inc., General Motors, L’Oréal Group, Malt-O-Meal Company, Curt G. Joa Inc. and Rockwell Automation shared best practices for creating a safety-oriented culture, implementing strategic processes and leveraging advanced machine, process and arc-flash-safety technologies. The event’s keynote speaker, David Sarkus, author of “The Safety Coach” books, detailed key strategies for creating and sustaining safety excellence.
Process customers also gathered on Nov. 14 and 15, at the Process Solutions User Group, to interact with peers and industry experts who are improving their processes, creating new revenue and establishing best practices. Nearly 800 participants listened as Marty Edwards from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security delivered the keynote address on the evolution of control systems.
In addition, 27 customer speakers across several industries, including: life sciences, oil and gas, food and beverage and water wastewater shared how they overcome day-to-day process challenges using the Rockwell Automation PlantPAx process automation system. Attendees also had the opportunity to provide valuable feedback to Rockwell Automation on new product features, functions and offerings.
Journalists and industry analysts from around the world also converged at the company’s Manufacturing Perspectives event on Nov. 15, featuring keynotes by Robert D. Atkinson from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, William A. Strauss from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and Keith Nosbusch from Rockwell Automation. Panelists addressed two pressing issues facing manufacturers:
- Optimizing plant and supply networks, with panelists from AAM, Mahindra Vehicle, Marquis Energy Manufacturers Ltd., India, Rockwell Automation, and Stolle Machinery Company.
- The future of technology and the workforce in manufacturing, with panelists from The Aspen Institute, GenMet, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), and Rockwell Automation.