One of my connections recently reached out to ask if I planned on attending Automation Fair this year, which got me wondering if you plan on attending?
If you don't already know, Automation Fair is Rockwell Automation's annual trade show and training event, and this year it's being held on November 14–15, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (you can register for free here.)
Rockwell describes it as, “the premier industrial automation event offering unmeasurable knowledge and skill-building opportunities in just two days.”
Having been to nearly twenty of the shows myself (links to my pictures from 2013, 2014, and 2016) I would describe it as, “a free, Rockwell centric, industrial automation trade show which also includes dozens of free training sessions and technical presentations.”
Note: For all of the details about this year's Automation Fair, check out Rockwell's 2018 pre-show guide here.
Who's a good fit?
In my opinion, Automation Fair is a great way for those new to industrial automation, or new to Rockwell's automation products, to (1) see the breath and depth of the products and services Rockwell and her partners offer, and (2) get some free hands-on training.
I typically suggest these attendees focus on getting into as many free training sessions as appropriate to their needs, and then fill in any open time touring the show floor.
Another good fit for Automation Fair are those who are planning new automation projects and need to get up to speed on the latest and greatest offering from Rockwell and her partners.
This includes any users who are considering migrating to Rockwell's current product offering.
Having sat through many of these meetings myself, I will say that they can be of great value to End Users, OEMs, and System Integrators alike.
One final type of user who may find Automation Fair helpful are those who need Rockwell to modify or enhance a product to better work in their own applications.
In the past I've witnessed customers make cases for things as varied as ATEX certification and food grade stainless steel HMI bezels, to software feature requests ranging from node disabling in RSLinx, to View Studio prompts to save unsaved work before allowing the application to close.
Not that meeting product managers at Automation Fair is the only way to provide feedback to Rockwell, but it might be the best way to be sure the factory actually receives your feedback. (I'm restraining myself here from discussing my thoughts on vendors who ignore customer emails 😉
As long time user and fan of Rockwell Automation's products, I know I would enjoy attending the show and bumping into the countless former colleagues, customers, and vendor reps I've worked with over the last thirty years.
And who doesn't like to gawk at new products, or drink free beer at a vendor's hospitality suite?
But as a self-employed blogger and instructor, the question really becomes one of actual value to my business.
When I attended Automation Fair back in 2016, I found there really wasn't anything I could learn being there in person that I couldn't also learn from Rockwell's Automation Fair website after the show.
I'm mean, no potential secretes I might learn about future products would be appropriate to write about here on The Automation Blog.
And none of free training offered at the show is aimed at a thirty year veteran like myself.
So as it stands now, while I plan to thoroughly cover the news coming out of Automation Fair 2018 (just as I've covered the past five events,) with no obvious advantage to attending in person my current plan it to cover this year's show from my home office up here in the Berkshires.
So, what about you?
Do you fall into one of the categories I mentioned above, or into a different one I failed to mention?
Or is there another trade show or event that you plan on attending instead?
If you're inclined to share you thoughts please do so by clicking on the “comment” link below my signature. UPDATE: Comments are now open 😉
Until next time – Peace!