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Hannover Messe 2018

CAN: The hidden champion

Published 2018-04-30

At Hannover Messe 2018, CAN was not that visible. Often the visitor could see CAN only on the second and third glance.

Most of the motion control suppliers such as Faulhaber and Lenze support CANopen and the “hidden champion” CiA 402, but did not mention this always explicitly (Photo: Hannover Messe)

CiA exhibited in hall 9 after some years of absence. The success was not overwhelming. The visitors’ interest was not on embedded system and front-end automation, the dominating application fields of CAN-based products. Hannover is still the market-leading tradeshow for industrial automation, but increasingly on the system level. This includes “cloud” services, big data processing, and so-called Industry 4.0 solutions.

The B&R embedded controllers for mobile machines are available with CANopen interfaces (Photo: CiA)

Of course, there were also some CAN-based sensors and actuators exhibited. SEW introduced even new CiA 402 drives. But most of the products are already some years on the market. New was the CANopen Safety remote unit by Abitron designed for mobile machinery. Most Abitron’s competitors also exhibited in Hannover. Other electronic equipment for mobile machinery was not that visible. One exception: B&R showed at its booth host controllers, which provide CANopen-connectivity.

The Dobot Magician is a 4-axes robot system providing a CAN interface (Photo: Variobotic)

Variobotic (Germany) presented a robot system made in China using embedded CAN networks, but this was not visible on a first glance. You need to ask, but the answer was often not very detailed. Also Grenzebach uses in its automatic guided vehicles a CAN-connected drive by Lenze. Schunk introduced several grippers for robots with CAN-connectivity and Festo presented several applications using CANopen devices, but did not mention it always. CAN and CANopen were often just hidden champions.

The automatic guided vehicle can be used also in areas, where human beings are working; internally the AGVs using CANopen-connected drives (Photo: Hannover Messe)

Igus presented a “smart” trailing-cable solution using optionally a CAN network. The CAN network links multiple sensors observing and measuring the cable movements, in order to provided pre-emptive maintenance. This isense family of products includes diverse sensors and monitoring modules. During ongoing operation, they detect the degree of wear and emit an alarm as soon as repair or replacement is necessary. Networking by means of the iCOM modules enables direct integration into the company-wide infrastructure. Different scenarios such as continuous monitoring or automatic triggering of maintenance work can be programmed. The option of a link-up to the provider’s data center brings further advantages: individual service life calculation and optimization of your business processes. This includes arranging for someone to do maintenance work or ordering replacement parts, for example.

Review and first statistics

Out of a total of 210 000 visitors at the fair, more than 70 000 of them came from abroad, for an international share of 30 percent. China headed the foreign visitor statistics with a total of 6 500, followed by the Netherlands (5 300), Poland (2 700), and the United States (1 700). A total of 1 400 visitors attended from Mexico, which was this year's featured partner country.

In general, the visitors of the Hannover Messe 2018 were mainly interested in total automation solutions. At the CiA booth, there were just a few visitors interested in CANopen FD, although CiA showed the CANopen FD demonstrator comprising devices from Emsa, Emtas, ESD, and HMS. Most of the questions were still on Classic CANopen and related topics.

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