From February 19-22, 2018, in San Antonio, Texas, approximately 130 people gathered for four days of product presentations, emerging technology discussions and a market trend outlook at the Siemens Factory Automation SCADA/IPC Days 2018. Members of the Siemens management, sales and support team joined their Solution Partners and a diverse assortment of end user companies from various market segments to review new product offerings in the IPC segment of the Siemens portfolio, plus a number of platforms in the SCADA segment. The event was hosted by the product marketing teams for Factory Automation, based in Norcross, Georgia.
Following a welcome session on the first evening, a series of presentations were made on day two to the entire group by Siemens management and technical thought leaders, covering the digital factory strategy and the company’s move to Digitalization, the current theme for the Siemens marketing message across its entire industrial platform. Key speakers were Kevin Lewis, Russell Barnes, Thorsten Julich, Bernd Raithel, Michael Steigberger, Bernd Staufer and Tom Elswick. The primary message takeaway for the group was that Digitalization will hallmark the factory of the future and SCADA will be the “digital doorway for data” in that rapid evolutionary process, as it impacts all industries, both discrete and process.
There were also presentations on cloud computing and edge computing, the constituent elements of the Digitalization trend, comprising both hardware and software elements. This discussion led directly into the program’s introduction of various new thin client IPC product offerings and the latest version of SIMATIC WinCC SCADA systems.
In addition to the technical presentations and market overviews, a very interesting end user application was detailed by end user Derek Thoma of Hop Valley Brewing, a Miller/Coors company. Thoma spoke on the marked improvements in production and product quality tracking made possible by the advanced IPC and HMI provided by Siemens, in addition to the SCADA software for process monitoring and management.
Day three began with a review of new IPC products and emerging technologies on the horizon from Siemens, followed by more intense product and software breakout workshops, tagged the Wisdom Series by the event coordinators.
Finally, day four offered direct consultation from the Siemens product specialists gathered at the event, including the Solutions Partners, who represent the system integrator community at Siemens, as they bring the products, application engineering, installation and service, plus related data gathering and process control products to the process industries. In addition, those interested in becoming a WinCC Specialist were offered the opportunity to take their certification test during the event.
Guest instructors were present during the workshop sessions to discuss such topics as Automation for Networks, Using WinCC to Build a Toolbox, Batch Tracking Made Easier with WinCC Archives, Mindsphere and Cybersecurity, and the Industrial PC of tomorrow. Rapidly developing MindApps for performance optimization on all types of industrial manufacturing and process machines were also discussed in detail, as Siemens seeks to assist its customer base and machine builders alike to gather, process, analyze and apply relevant data.