The Profibus and Profinet User Conference held in Stratford-upon-Avon on 24-25 June 2008 was attended by over 70 delegates in the two days, with many users bringing new staff to benefit from the workshops and technology updates, plus new visitors considering their first projects.
Bob Squirrell, Chairman of the Profibus UK User Group, opened the conference by reminding the audience of the forecasts made for Profibus future growth back in 2004, when the number of nodes was forecast to double to 20million by 2008. This figure was achieved by April 2007 and over 5million nodes have been created since, bringing the total to over 25million.
The success of the Profibus and Profinet technologies was emphasised by Jeorg Freitag, the newly appointed Chairman of Profibus International, the umbrella organisation covering both of these networking systems, as well as PROFIsafe. Across the world, PI has established and supports 25 regional associations, 36 competence centres in 21 countries and 15 training centres in 10 countries, establishing an excellent user support network in the industry.
This year's conference was also an opportunity for a review of the last 10 or more years for Andy Verwer, of Manchester Metropolitan University, which over that period has grown into the main UK training and competence centre for Profibus. Andy Verwer was active in the well attended hands-on training workshops, alongside colleagues from Pepperl + Fuchs, Siemens and Procentec.
Another review paper from Roger Marlow, of the WIMES Electrical Working Group, summarised the water industry activity and uptake of Profibus networks and Intelligent Motor Control Centres in the different UK regions, where the groundwork has been done and Profibus installations are the systems of choice to varying degrees. The industrial applications described were also varied this year, with a fascinating paper describing Profinet systems used on the stage in theatre and pop concert automation including Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang, where the whole system has to be dismantled, transported around the world and work first time on the day of arrival.
The friendly discussions continued during breaks over refreshments in the exhibition area, with more space in the new venue. With the UK User meeting for 2009 already scheduled at the Stratford Manor Hotel for 16-17 June, Bob Squirrell is already keen to encourage users, contractors and suppliers to become involved by submitting proposals for papers describing interesting or unusual applications of Profibus and Profinet technology.
More information on the event and the 2009 call for papers can be found on the conference website at www.profi-bus.co.uk.