I spent yesterday in Dusseldorf, Germany visiting DRUPA. DRUPA is is a quadrennial trade fair for the print media industry. DRUPA is massive. It must be the largest fair of its kind within the printing industry. As a certified geek, wandering around exhibition hall after exhibition hall of incredible machines and impressive engineering was just incredible. To give you an idea of the scale of the show, there is a daily newspaper dedicated to it. It is printed every day for the two week duration of the show. Exhibitors bring complete printing presses and media handling equipment. Big, noisy, fast, machines: Proper engineering. I watched an entire copy of Jane Eyre's Pride and Prejudice being printed in front of me in a matter of seconds!
One of the companies which fascinated me was Beckhoff.
Beckhoff are an automation company and specialise in PLCs, motor/servo controllers and IO modules. They were launching their eXtended Transport System (XTS). XTS is a modular linear driver motion system, which can be connected together to form circular transport systems for moving stuff around. I've embedded a video of the demonstration unit that I had the pleasure to watch yesterday. Whilst the science behind it is nothing new, the way it has been packaged and designed is very impressive.