I’ve been in Chicago this week. Over at Automation World, Wes Iversen is retiring (and looking way too happy about it) and his replacement started Monday. Starting with the May issue, you’ll see Renee Robbins Bassett on the masthead as Managing Editor. Formerly with Control Engineering, she’ll by my person to make sure the magazine get out on time every month. Plus a lot more.

While in Chicago, I took a day to visit the Automate 2011 (combination of robot, vision and motion control) show and a little bit of ProMat (material handling).

I’ll have more details later (need to get to the gym right now). Attendance at Automate was far from overwhelming. But some exhibitors reported good meetings. Most appeared to be sparsely populated. There were only 165 total exhibitors, but fewer than half were companies that I even recognized.

There was some great technology. Sick showed a 3D rendering camera/software product. It was a scanning line of red LEDs. The algorithms could detect different deflections in the reflected LED light and render a 3D image in color of the object. Motoman (robotics) showed a 3D image system using several inexpensive Webcams linked with software that rendered 3D images located in space so that the robot could orientate itself to pick up the part.

I spent an hour at the Lenze booth. Most people in the US no doubt are familiar with Lenze as an AC drive supplier, but it has a line of motion control and logic control products, as well. I sense a new assertiveness of the company in the market. You’ll probably be hearing more about this company.

Back with a complete wrap up this afternoon.

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