NAMUR Annual General Meeting 2014: New Ways through Decentralised Intelligence

from 2014-12-01

Users of automation technology in the process industry met at the 77th NAMUR Annual General Meeting on the 6th and 7th November 2014 in the fully booked venue in Bad Neuenahr for discussions with invited experts and managers from manufacturers and associations, an event which has become something of a tradition.

NAMUR had invited them this time to discuss the issue of "Decentralised Intelligence - New Ways in Process Automation", a motto which merges seamlessly with topics discussed in relation to Industry 4.0. But what has this got to do with WAGO, a sponsor known for its terminal technology?

At the beginning of the two-day event, over 570 participants were first informed by Dr. Wilhelm Otten (Evonik), the re-elected Chairperson, of the results of the association’s activities during the current year. The cooperation agreement with the European associations and the new internet website were cited purely as examples here. The award of the Golden Honorary Needle to both Martin Zeller (Bayer) and Dai XiaoLong (BASF) from China also highlights the international orientation of the user association.

The abovementioned question was resolved following a brief introduction to the topic given by Dr. Thomas Tauchnitz (Sanofi-Aventis) and the introducing of the sponsor WAGO by Dr. Thomas Steckenreiter (Bayer).

WAGO unveiled its product portfolio and new DIMA technology in an impressive presentation from Sven Hohorst, Ulrich Hempen and Dr. Thomas Albers. DIMA (Dezentrale Intelligenz für Modulare Anlagen) is a new automation concept for decentralised intelligent modular systems in which any modules can be linked very flexibly via module descriptions to the control level in an open format. Of course, anybody wishing to see this software had the opportunity to visit the exhibition area during the breaks or, later, the sponsor’s workshops.

The consequences inherent in decentralised intelligence and the closeness of the relationship between IT and automation were addressed by Dr. Michael Krauss (BASF) in his subsequent lecture. This was then followed by an elucidation of the challenges involved in modular process technology control from Andreas Schadt (SpiraTec).

Plenary presentations on the first day ended with a successful announcement from Dr. Thomas Tauchnitz (Sanofi-Aventis) who, over the course of a year, had achieved tangible results in standardising the data exchange between CAE and PCS. He was able to illustrate seven demonstrators where this interface has already been realised.

29 workshops held in the afternoon once again offered an opportunity to discuss a broad spectrum of issues, including functional safety, security, modularisation, energy efficiency, etc. A workshop was also offered for students in third-level education, with the feedback received being gratifyingly positive.

The second day of the event saw the extraordinary presentation of three NAMUR Awards by the Vice President, Dr. Matthias Fankhänel (BASF), as the number and excellence of the submitted Master’s and Doctor’s theses was particularly impressive this year.

Dr. Joachim Birk (BASF) and Christian Klettner (BASF) then demonstrated trends in remote operation and mobile automation over the course of the morning. The advantages of future development in these areas were made evident in the example of an operating situation with only one operator and an unmanned control room during the night and at the weekend. A second contribution vividly demonstrated options in mobile communications technology which can be exploited for maintenance, production and internal logistics. Prof. Dr. Ludger Brüll (Bayer) in turn highlighted the increasing importance of production-related logistics in his subsequent presentation, which is one reason why a working group bearing the same name was established this year.

Drawing on a memorable example involving the human senses, Dr. Thomas Steckenreiter (Bayer) held the final presentation of the event on the topic of smart sensors and the outlook for the future.

This, the final technical lecture of the Annual General Meeting, provided the traditional bridge to the motto of the next General Meeting which will be held on the 5th and 6th November 2015, once again in the Dorint Parkhotel, Bad Neuenahr. The motto will be:

Smart sensors for future applications

The organisers have managed to engage Krohne as a sponsor for this event, and we can already look forward with anticipation to the reports of NAMUR and Krohne to next year’s participants on the future of sensors.

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