DECEMBER 16--The SPS/IPC/Drives trade fair in Nuremberg, Germany, injected hope into a market that has been hit hard by the region's recent economic woes. As Germany teeters on the brink of a second recession dip, this popular discrete automation show has become the classic in one of the world's most important automation markets. The contrast between the mood at the fair and the mood in the German manufacturing sector could hardly be greater. The country's machine-tool industry--the backbone of the automation market--is suffering its greatest slump in decades and doesn't expect a recovery until 2004.
In a recentARC Insight (www.arcweb.com), senior analyst David Humphrey says, "Despite these glum prospects, exhibitors reported excellent sales leads amid chaotic activity on overfilled booths. This year's three-day show filled five large halls and attracted 22,900 visitors and 779 exhibitors--an increase of about 9% over last year. Several observers also noticed a greater number of international visitors to what is still billed as a German 'regional' show. In addition to the concentration on PLCs, industrial PCs, and drives, this year's show added machine vision to its focus."