NAMUR Annual General Meeting 2010: record numbers of visitors and contributions

from 2010-11-21

Anyone involved with automation in the process industry awaits a particular date each year at the beginning of November with growing anticipation: the NAMUR Annual General Meeting. It was held this year on the 11th and 12th of November in Bad Neuenahr and set new standards with a record number of over 550 visitors and 27 workshop contributions in which NAMUR Working Groups presented the findings of their endeavours in the past year. The relatively speedy recovery of the economy definitely played a role in this respect. This gratifying development is, however, primarily reflected in the continuously-growing importance with which NAMUR is regarded as an association which involves both users and manufacturers to an equal degree.

The Annual General Meeting was opened by the President of the NAMUR Board of Management, Dr. Norbert Kuschnerus (Bayer Technology Services). In his opening address, he indicated the importance of cooperation with other associations which is continuously expanded by NAMUR. Consistent efforts will be made on a continuous basis to ensure the international orientation of NAMUR in this respect. The first NAMUR conference in Shanghai was held last year under the banner "NAMUR comes to China". As a result of this event, seven working groups were established in China addressing topics which are relevant in this economic area of enormous importance to NAMUR member companies. The next conference in China will be held on the 18th and 19th of November, and about 120 participants have already registered. Pepperl+Fuchs will be sponsoring this event.

Following his address, Kuschnerus awarded two colleagues the Golden Honorary Needle for their exceptionally-successful commitment to the development of NAMUR activities in China: Dr. Heinrich Mannsperger (BASF) and Carlos Hedler (Bayer Technology Services). They were also among the initiators of the NAMUR conferences in Shanghai, having made significant contributions both in terms of content and organisation.

The Chairman of VDI-GVC, Achim Noack (Bayer CropScience), also warmly greeted participants in the NAMUR Annual General Meeting. He outlined the differing tasks and challenges faced by a production engineer in today's process industry. He also emphasized the importance of encouraging an exchange of experience and praised NAMUR for its exemplary role in this respect.

The Annual General Meeting 2010 was held under the motto "Functional Safety". The safety of plant and processes is of the highest priority to member companies of NAMUR. This reason alone lent the motto particular importance. A sponsor was found for this Annual General Meeting in HIMA which, as a medium-sized enterprise, is highly regarded as a supplier of safety control systems and has shaped this market time and time again through innovative developments. In his presentation, the Managing Partner of HIMA, Steffen Philipp, offered the audience an impressive glimpse into the animated history of a family-run enterprise which has been active for more than 100 years in a variety of market segments and demonstrated enormous flexibility time and time again in adapting to changing situations. Mr Thomas Hinzmann, Sales Manager for the process industry, then provided an overview of the topic of "Functional Safety" from the point of view of the sponsor in his part of the presentation.

Three presentations from NAMUR completed the plenary session on Thursday morning. Following a highly interesting and lively presentation on the history of functional safety, Dr. Pirmin Netter (Infraserv Hoechst) bade farewell to his colleagues as the Chairman of the NAMUR Working Group "Plant Safety", as he will be shortly retiring. Netter has represented this topic for two decades in NAMUR, shaping its development both within and without the association.

Friday morning was dedicated to the topic of "Asset Management". A variety of aspects in this area were illuminated in these presentations, with new development options being illustrated. In his closing presentation, Dr. Jens Bausa (BASF) pointed out the options for the optimising of production which automation engineering can offer, while also indicating opportunities for further development.

This, the final lecture of the Annual General Meeting, provided the traditional bridge to the motto of the next Annual General Meeting, which will be held on the 10th and 11th of November 2011 in the Dorint Parkhotel, Bad Neuenahr. The motto was announced by Dr. Kuschnerus in his concluding statement:

Process Control Technology – Approaches for the Future
One of the key manufacturers in this field has been gained to sponsor this topic: ABB. With broad competence in a variety of automation engineering areas, ABB is undoubtedly a partner with its eye on the future and the capacity to appreciate the broader picture in this context.

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