SPS 2019 Conference Wraps in Nuremberg, Highlighting Industrial Automation Trends for 2020

November 28, 2019 by Robin Mitchell

SPS or Smart Production Solutions is a yearly event held in Nuremberg, Germany where some of the most prominent companies in the automation space show off their innovations.

This week the SPS event is being held where many technology companies show off their smart product solutions to help businesses become more efficient and smarter.


SPS exhibition floor 2019

Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH / Malte Kirchner


What Is SPS?

SPS is a massive event where thousands of companies demonstrate their smart solutions for many problems including those in computer and automation environments.

The SPS event is partnered with major players in the trade press including Computer and Automation, Elektronik, and Markt & Technik who all provide up-to-date information in various fields, provide marketing, and professional advice with areas of key interest including industry 4.0, IIoT, technology trends, business issues, and product development strategies.


SPS Breakdown

To say that the SPS event is large is an understatement and their 2018 analysis clearly demonstrates this. The SPS 2018 event had an exhibition space of 136,000 sqm, 65,700 visitors with up to 28% being international, over 1,600 exhibitors with 33% being international, 30 guided tours of the event, 177 presentations, and 5,874 participants exhibition forums.

Various institutions are present at SPS, including VDMA (the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association) and ZVEI (the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association). These two institutions, in particular, lead their own portions of the show with specific forums for interactions with peers and industry leaders. 


A Kawasaki robotic arm used for pharmaceutical processing at SPS

A Kawasaki pick-and-place delta robot. Image from Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH


Why Attend?

When polled, the top goals of visitors to the SPS event included:

  • Obtaining information about product innovations and trends
  • Exchanging experience with peers
  • Obtaining a better understanding of the market
  • Maintaining business relationships

According to Heiko Füller, Head of Market Management Germany for SEW-Eurodrive GmbH & Co KG, “This year, SPS IPC Drives demonstrated once again that it is quite rightly regarded as one of the most important exhibitions in industrial automation and control technology.”

From alarm systems to sensor selection for conditions monitoring to HMI software, there are demos, forums, and presentations dedicated to topics that are pivotal to industrial operations experts.


2019 Automation Trends

Many of the trends in the automation space are familiar concepts by now. 5G, omnipresent in many technical arenas, holds great promise for automation applications—if and when it becomes widely adopted. 

Augmented reality (AR), too, has been a presence in the manufacturing space for years. It has not yet, however, achieved widespread use. Shows like SPS allow hands-on AR and VR experiences for decision-makers to determine the utility of the technology for their facilities.


Vive Pro AR headsets at SPS. Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH / Malte Kirchner


Cybersecurity is also, unsurprisingly, an important trend at this year's show, as it is likely to stay for the foreseeable future. Digital twinning, TSN (time-sensitive networking), modular HMI systems, and others are also the subjects of various talks organized by speakers from companies across the industry.


SPS Turns 30

SPS is a massive event with over 1,600 exhibitors which makes listing the companies rather difficult. However, many large names can be seen in the downloadable list including Xilinx, Microsoft, Microchip, Intel, and Siemens.

But this year is special as it is the 30th anniversary of SPS with some companies having attended every single year which include Beijer Electronics, M&M Software, Pliz, and VIPA.

To put the age of SPS into perspective, the Euro, Facebook, Google, and iPhone are all significantly younger than SPS and even the world wide web is younger by a year!

During the time of SPS, many milestones have been reached that have helped to improve the field of automation and industrial control processes. Some of these examples include the use of fully automated systems, standardization of DIN rails, linear motors, common ethernet strategy, IO-link, uniform solutions for communication in IIoT, and the introduction of cloud services and trading platforms in automation.



Are you at SPS this year? Have you attended in the past? Share your experiences in the comments below.