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MMC 2013: Focus on functional safety

About 80 participants came to the Meistersingerhalle in Nuremberg for the 1st international Mobile Machine Control (MMC) conference on June 12 and 13. The 22 speakers talked about challenges and solutions of mobile machine control. Various companies displayed their products and innovations in the accompanying tabletop exhibition.

The MMC attracted numerous visitors to Nuremberg, who wanted to hear about new ideas when it comes to safety in mobile machines. Device manufacturers, researchers and an expert from TÜV Rhineland (Germany) presented their applications, products, their research, or their experiences regarding functional safety. After a couple of theoretical presentations, several presentations about practical applications drew interest among the listeners.
On the first day, L. Fraccaro from Autec Safety (Italy) fascinated with his “Mowers to the limits” and their application on steep slopes or mine fields. The included videos of the adaption of mowers to hazardous areas gave rise to interested comments from the audience. E. Lautner from Hydac (Germany) managed to captivate his listeners with “System and software design for a modern grape harvesting machine fulfilling state of the art functional safety requirements and implementations”. He also showed a short film about the usage of harvesting machines and the challenges the machine builder has to face during the construction of the self-driven grape harvester machine.

On the second day, Uwe Koppe from Microcontrol (Germany) started the conference with his speech about hints and kinks for properly using CANopen communication in mobile machines. Among other interesting presentations was also the talk from Yves Legrand working with Freescale Semiconductors (France). He presented application ideas for 77-GHz radar technology and functional safety for advanced driving assistance. In total, most of the papers were of high quality and not overly marketing oriented. All presentations, except one, are documented in the printed proceedings. The 250-pages booklet in DIN A4 format can be purchased from the CiA office.

Between the presentations, the visitors took the opportunity to socialize and to talk to the exhibitors at the open tabletop exhibition next door. Softing (Germany) presented the SMT, a universal measuring and automation system for mobile and stationary applications. Also interesting were the shown PLCs supporting functional safety by Hirschmann (Germany), Inter Control (Germany), and Sensor-Technik Wiedemann (Germany). The CAN-to-WLAN gateway by Sontheim (Germany) also got some attraction.

Sponsored by Hirschmann, Inter Control, Sensor-Technik Wiedemann, Softing Automative and Sontheim, the conference worked with media partners Automa (Czech Republic), Mobile Maschinen (Germany), and SPS-Magazin (Germany). The next MMC is scheduled for 2015. “Hopefully, we will see a growing interest in machine control and a growing number of participants,” said Gisela Scheib from CiA, responsible for the conference organization.