SPS Automation Goes to Middle East


The inaugural SPS Automation Middle East was held in Dubai with special focus on robotics, IoT, and Artificial Intelligence.

  • Client

    SPS Automation Middle East

  • Services

    For the latest innovations and solutions steering the region toward a smarter and high tech future.

  • Technologies

    Robotics, IoT, and Artificial Intelligence.

  • Dates




Dubai’s Festival Arena hosted the inaugural edition of SPS Automation Middle East 2018, bringing together professionals of the automation industry under one roof, providing a dedicated platform for the latest innovations and solutions steering the region toward a smarter and high tech future.


The debut edition of the two-day event was organised by Messe Frankfurt Middle East, and was held at a time when the Gulf region looks to diversify its economies centred on manufacturing and services with a special focus on Industry 4.0 – the merging of robotics, IoT, and Artificial Intelligence.


“The Middle East is ushering a new automation era based on a modern society, with the Fourth Industrial Revolution paving the way forward for an exciting future in this rapidly-evolving sector,” said Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East. “The UAE and Saudi Arabia are at the forefront of the market; industrial and building automation in the UAE will nearly double in value over the next five years, from US$1.73 billion in 2017 to US$3.09 billion in 2023,” he added.


Addressing the media, Ciro Del Core, Business Development Manager, Messe Frankfurt Middle East, began by informing that SPS is the German acronym for PLC! Referring to the Dubai Vision 2030, Ciro Del Core cited how the document envisages growth through manufacturing with focus on six priority sub-sectors: Aerospace, Maritime, Aluminium and Fabricated Metals, Pharmaceuticals and Medical Equipment, Food and Beverages and Machinery and Equipment. Reiterating that this will be an annual event, he mentioned automation as the common thread running through all these sectors.


SPS Automation Middle East 2018 provided a broad cross-section of the nuts and bolts of automated manufacturing and building infrastructure, from Drive Systems and Components, Software, IT, and Mechanical Infrastructure, to Interface Technology, Power Supplies, and Human-Machine Interface Devices.


Among the 21 global players showcasing their wares were official Launch Partners including German companies BECKHOFF, Bosch Rexroth, SICK, Pilz, and LAPP. Japanese headquartered Mitsubishi Electric Factory Automation is also a Launch Partner while American powerhouse Rockwell Automation is on-board as the show’s official Automation Sponsor. Other supporting partners include Gold Sponsor Procentec, Silver Sponsor Indu-Sol, and Bronze Sponsor Delta Electronics.


The Conference

Meanwhile, regulatory guidelines and industry best practise are examples of lively presentations that comprise an engaging conference. Among the 15-strong speaker line-up was Martin Ruane, Programme Director at ENGIE from the UK, who delivered a case study about ENGIE’s Award Winning Programme on Robotic Process Automation (RPA).


ENGIE, a leading energy and services company, utilised RPA to replicate human data processing activities, positioning it above existing IT infrastructure meaning that existing interfaces and systems can be repurposed. Ruane said RPA replicates what its human counterpart would do; however unlike its human equivalent, the RPA virtual workforce processes information continually without a break and consistently.


Meanwhile, the Middle East could be the world’s fastest growing market for the adoption of connected oilfield technology, as the region switches from dated analogue technology to the next big thing in oilfield services – the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), another industry expert said on the side-lines of SPS Automation Middle East 2018. Arunkumar Janarthanan is the Associate Director of Industrial Practice in the Middle East and Africa region for business advisory and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan – SPS Automation Middle East’s Industry Intelligence Partner. 


“Approximately 85 per cent of Middle East oilfields are running on systems using analogue technology, but the race is on to make fields smarter and more connected,” said Janarthanan.  “Middle East countries are diving into the digitisation of services, so much so that the region is expected to be the fastest growing market in connected oilfield technology for at least the next six years.”


Abhay Bhargava, Director of Industrial Practice in the Middle East Africa region at Frost & Sullivan was also a speaker on the first day of SPS Automation Middle East. He described the connected oilfield as one that uses technology to historically manage production, personnel and safety, allowing for reduced costs, increased production, and improved efficiency in the oil and gas sector.


SPS Automation Middle East is the 5th addition to Mesago Messe Frankfurt’s SPS Automation Worldwide portfolio of events, which includes SPSIPC Drives, Smart Industry Solutions India, SIAF Guangzhou, and SPS IPC Drives Italia.


SPS IPC Drives 2018: Smart and Digital Automation


The outlook for the 29th SPS IPC Drives event is again very positive and testifies to the importance of the exhibition for smart and digital automation.


Some 1,700 automation providers from all over the world are expected in Nuremberg on 27-29 November 2018. Products and solutions, as well as trend-setting technologies of the future, will be on show.


UAE is on second place amongst visitor nations from the Middle East


Visitors benefit from the wide range of products and services offered by the German and international Who’s Who of the automation industry and gain a unique industry overview. According to the figures for last year’s event, a total of 264 of the 70,264 visitors came from Middle East. The positive impressions from SPS IPC Drives 2017 have been confirmed time and again: “I highly recommend SPS IPC Drives to anyone involved in the industrial automation market. There is no better place to get a comprehensive overview of the industry’s emerging products and trends,” explains Matthew Tarney, Product Market Manager, LUTZE Inc.


“SPS IPC Drives is the right platform to meet at a common point with all key players in the field of industrial automation. At the same time learn the new upcoming market trends and strategies of various companies in this field. I personally recommend this exhibition as the right platform for the people related to industrial automation business sector,” says Gurpreet Singh A, Business Development Manager, Weidmuller Middle East FZE and visitor to the 2017 event.


Reflecting digital change

As in the previous year, Industry 4.0 and digital change are topics of focus at SPS IPC Drives 2018. Exhibitors will present not only their solutions, but also various products and example applications for digital transformation. This will be accompanied by topic-related showcases and presentations at the exhibition forums.


The firm commitment that IT companies such as SAP bring to exploring industrial communication topics (such as OPC UA and TSN) shows how the IT and automation industries are increasingly merging.


This process is also reflected in the hall occupation at SPS IPC Drives: in 2018, the topic of software and IT in manufacturing will be on display in halls 5 and 6. Industrial web services, virtual product development and design, digital business platforms, IT/OT technologies, fog/edge and cloud computing, and many other topics will be covered here. Cybersecurity is also being addressed by numerous vendors, who will offer vivid demonstrations at their booths of how companies can protect themselves against online attacks.