Forum and Automation Innovation Summit

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Insight into innovation, and a blueprint for the future

Attendees of the 2016 PROFIBUS and PROFINET Global Forum and the Automation Innovation Summit were inspired by an international roster of experts, learned about the role of Industrial Networks and innovation in their organizations, and gained new insight into the urgency of using automation to improve productivity.

The leading minds in PROFIBUS and PROFINET gathered in Sydney on 25 May 2016 for a knowledge-filled day of discussions around industrial networks, automation, and innovation.

Almost 200 attendees were at the Australian Technology Park to kick off the day with the PROFIBUS and PROFINET Technology Forum. They were in for a treat, as representatives from both PROFIBUS and PROFINET International and prominent Industrial Automation companies presented on their areas of expertise.

PROFIBUS and PROFINET Global Forum: technical expertise from around the world

Mathew Dulcey and Paolo Silva from Procentec covered diagnostics and network maintenance strategies, while the audience gained insight into how Industry 4.0 will impact on manufacturing worldwide, thanks to Karsten Schneider, PI Chairman and Martin Mueller, Global VP of Automation at Phoenix Contact, who spoke about how his company is integrating the technology into its production, and the results of that integration.

For attendees looking for the next step up in process automation, networking may be the key, says Karl Buettner, Marketing Manager at Endress+Hauser (Switzerland), who presented on the latest industrial network technologies.

Curious about how PROFINET as a technology works in today’s large industrial networks? Professor Frithjof Klasen from the Technical University of Cologne, and owner of network services company AIT, showed the progressive development of PROFINET in expansive modern networks, that can contain tens of thousands of devices.

The morning would not have been complete without representation from Australia, with Andrew Brown, Fortescue’s Lead Control Systems Engineer, providing a case study on how FMG’s Solomon Mines is utilising PROFIBUS and PROFINET in their operations.

Automation Innovation Summit: the hows and whys of innovation

After a morning session full of information and inspiration from both local and international technical experts, attendees were treated to an in-depth analysis on innovation and Australia’s transition to a digital future.

Innovation will be key to Australian industries’ continuing competitiveness on the global stage, so how can government and industry stimulate innovation, and create a pathway for higher productivity? And where do trends and technologies like automation, the Industrial Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 fit into this?

Representatives from industry associations, academia, and government were on hand to debate these pressing issues during the afternoon session at the Automation Innovation Summit.

Organizations interested in taking a systematic approach to building an innovation culture heard from Professor Sam Bucolo from the University of Technology in Sydney (UTS), who presented on Design Thinking as a way to foster innovation.

Professor Mark Dodgson from the University of Queensland gave an insight in critical stakeholder dependencies and contrasting practices in other global areas.

Representing and speaking to the engineers in the audience, Engineers Australia CEO Steve Durkin reflected on the critical role engineers will play in Australia’s industrial innovation, while Jennifer Conley from the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council (AAMC) emphasized the innovative possibilities within the local manufacturing industry.

Daniel Boland from the Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand explained how small and medium sized businesses can achieve rapid growth and flexibility by leveraging innovation.

To complete the presentations, Karsten Schneider, global PI Chairman, Michael Bowne from PI North America and Michael Freyny, Executive General Manager at Siemens Australia contributed with their experiences as system and technology experts in the field of automation.

Podium Discussion: consensus on collaboration

Following the individual presentations, the representatives then engaged in a podium discussion facilitated by Professor Chris Aldrich from the Curtin University, WA.

A key topic was the need for closer collaboration between academia, industry and government. International stakeholders compared the situation in Australia with their experiences back home.

The general consensus was that stronger guidance and long term vision was needed from the government at all levels.

The presenters also agreed that Australia needs to maintain the viability of manufacturing and to improve productivity in the mining industry — to do so will require greater innovation and the adoption of the tools used in Europe and the Americas, namely IIoT and Industry 4.0.


In explaining the ambitions behind the 2016 PROFIBUS and PROFINET Global Forum and the Automation Innovation Summit, Rafael Koenig, Chairman of the PROFIBUS and PROFINET Association of Australia (PAA) said that the event successfully connected technology leaders from around the globe with local technology suppliers, users, academia, and the automation and process control community.

At the same time, the event was able to leverage the international expertise to deliver real insights and action points for the local industry.

“The Automation Innovation Summit has given us a great starting point and flushed out view points and needs for us in Australia,” said Mr Koenig.

“We can now build a network of relevant people and organisations, in order to continue contributing to the innovation process in Australia.”

To provide a flavor of the content presented, here is Karsten Schneider’s presentation from the PROFIBUS & PROFINET Global Forum:

These additional videos are available:

Around the venue (Click to enlarge and start slide show):

The Forum speakers:

The Summit speakers: