Last week I attended a trade show in Essen, Germany. It was a fairly small one as trade shows go, but the company Fischertechnik, whose models I use for my training simulators, was there and I needed to discuss some ideas and gather information. I spent a week traveling through Amsterdam and Brussels, Belgium on the way to the show and made it a bit of a working vacation.
It was interesting to contrast trade shows in Germany with those in the US. I have attended several of the larger ones in the US including Automate in Chicago and many of the Rockwell Automation Fairs. I also used to participate in some of the regional ISOA shows, exhibiting my own products as well as some items sold by controls vendors. Notable was the lack of major PLC vendors such as Siemens and Rockwell, though I thing Rockwell doesn’t do much outside of the Automation Fair any more.
As you might guess, a lot of stuff was in German. And not everyone spoke English. And some of the product brands are not commonly used in the US.
But some of the product names looked quite familiar, and was in English! There were also lots of goodies such as pens, bags, candy etc. I picked up a cool little piece of cable track (“cat track” for some of you old-schoolers) from Igus. I had no idea they made it that small, useful for some of my simulations.
There were dancing robots, these guys knew where each other were at all times….
And of course Fischertechnik had an Industry 4.0 factory demo there, though it won’t be out for another month or so, and the PLC-Ready version won’t be out until 2020.
I did get a lot of my questions answered about the product, and was able to make some connections in Europe. As I mentioned in a previous post, these models are in use in technical schools in Germany, and I think that there is potential to use them here. There is something about making things move that motivates students and helps them visualize things better.
This post is more about the trade show itself though. After I’ve had a chance to edit some of the videos I took of the new Fischertechnik model I will write a post about that also.