PCIM Survival Guide

Make the most of your trip to the Nuremberg PowerFest

Spring is always a great time of year to visit the German City of Nuremberg. Thus, attending the world's most important power electronics technology event becomes even more enjoyable.

Not surprisingly, the PCIM (Power Conversion Intelligent Motion) Conference and Exhibition in Nuremberg attracts close to 300 power electronics companies from around the world. More than half will of those be from countries other than Germany-it is truly international.

So who should be coming along to PCIM this year and what industry sectors will be represented? Certainly it's the right place for design engineers and their managers, purchasing engineers, along with sales and marketing people (the latter will get the opportunity to check out what some of their rivals are up to).

As for what the PCIM visitors will find, it's really a case of all the usual suspects when it comes to the technology: industrial and automotive electronics, lighting, computer and communication technology, medical electronics and energy management, and last, but by no means least, consumer and household technology related electronics. First-time visitors should note that this event is not an end-user or final product show. This is all about the components, systems, and software needed to create those products. The variety of power electronics on show is mind-boggling. Just to mention a few, you can expect to see:

  • Power semiconductors
  • Passive components
  • Magnetic and core materials
  • Thermal management
  • Sensors (servo)
  • Actuators
  • DSPs, microprocessors
  • Power supplies, USVs
  • Energy storage and distribution systems
  • Energy management
  • Software and test-and-measurement equipment

And I do mean this is really just a few of the technology sectors on display at PCIM. To get the full list of what you'll find go to:

http://www.mesago.de/en/PCIM/List_of_Exhibits/index.htm

In my survival guide for the Embedded World event in Nuremberg, I described some of the history of the city. Naturally, it not only included how the city was founded, but also the darker aspects about the role it played during Hitler's regime. However, I'm not going to repeat all that in this guide. For those readers wanting some background on Nuremberg go to:

http://uk.holidaysguide.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-43636-nuremberg_history-i

GOING FOR OLD

So why is Nuremberg such a great pace to visit in Spring? The answer lies in the old part of town, the Alte Stadt.

Nuremberg did have a pretty bad time in World War II. Over 90% of the historic Old Town was destroyed and, after Dresden, this was the most heavily bombed German city.

However, walk through the old part of the city today and you'd believe that you're strolling along through a thirteenth century town. All of the credit goes to the architects and builders and craftsmen of the city of Nuremberg. They rebuilt the old town to exactly the same architectural designs of the original buildings and the end result really does look quite authentic.

LOCATING YOURSELF

Here I am going to get a little repetitious, so I'll echo my standing advice for any exhibition visitor regarding location of hotel accommodation. Do not stay near the exhibition.

Okay, so I know that we are all at PCIM to work, but forget ideas of hair-shirt morning efficiency and time pressures, meetings, and what have you. Stay as near as possible to the Alte Stadt, ideally right in the middle of it. Look, it really isn't very far from there to the exhibition grounds any way, so being on time each morning is easy. (See more detail in my "Getting To Work" section).

Apart from the great architecture, the Alte Stadt offers charming pedestrian precincts, good restaurants and bars, picturesque churches and, of course, the must-visit Bratwursthäusle, Nuremberg's Sausage Eating House. Vegetarians are strongly advised that this would prove a very disturbing venue for them. For what's on the menu look at:

http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-2880357-bratwursthausle_nuremberg-i

BEER AND BUSINESS

Having risen to the challenge of the Nuremberg sausage (Nuremberg has its very own trademarked speciality sausage that must be eaten with either a challenging portion of sauerkraut, a substantial dollop of sweet mustard, or both), you will of course need to ensure your hydration is up to spec. There are scores of bars; in the Spring, the advice is to take an evening stroll through the Alte Stadt and you'll find plenty. For beer drinkers, a visit to the microbrewery Bar Fusser will prove worthwhile. This cavernous crypt-like beer keller is an essential watering-hole for all lager aficionados.

One final tip on the food front is for those diners who prefer a more sophisticated menu, one that's often described as modern European in style (whatever that means). Make your way on over to the impeccable Sebald Restaurant in, you've guessed it, the Alte Stadt. This is an excellent restaurant to take your very important clients to for those sealthe- deal dinners. Very good food and very reliable, but not cheap, so make sure your credit cards are in good shape.

GETTING TO WORK

Well, enough about enjoying ourselves. Why are we in Nuremberg? Ah yes, the PCIM conference and exhibition.

Very easy to get to from the City centre. From the Hauptbahnhof (Main rail station), use the U Bahn train Line U1. Board the train heading to Langwasser Süd. It's only six stops to the exhibition (a light at the station called Messe). The journey time is about 12 minutes from the Hauptbahnhof. Hence, my advice to stay in the old part of town rather than some faceless hotel near the exhibition centre, where your evenings would undoubtedly be mindnumbingly dull.

For train details see:

http://urbanrail.net/eu/nue/nuernbg.htm

Also on the above Web page are guides about the fare structure. Unlike the Munich UBahn/ S-Bahn fare structure that even Einstein would have failed to comprehend, Nuremberg's system is a lot smaller and correspondingly easier to understand price-wise.

COMING IN FROM OVERSEAS

For the overseas visitor, Nuremberg isn't as accessible as its exhibition rival city, Munich. Few flights go direct. An exception for English visitors is Air Berlin, which flies direct into Nuremberg from London Stansted. It's good and it's cheap. For long-haul travellers, the best bet is to either fly to Frankfurt and then transfer to another short flight to Nuremberg, or take the highspeed train. Alternatively, fly into Munich and then get the highspeed train from there.

My recommendation is to fly into Frankfurt. The train station is part of the airport complex. Get into Frankfurt at about 10.00am, get over to the train station at about 11.30am, and enjoy a high-speed ride on the ICE to Nuremberg. It takes about 1.5 hours. Use the buffet car. The food is pretty good and you can sit back, relax, and consume as the train zaps you through the Bavarian countryside at over 200KMP...Prost!

For travel details:

http://www.europeanrailguide.com/trains/ice.html

WE'LL BE THERE

So you are finally at the show. It's compact compared to the gigantic electronica techfest staged in Munich, and it's easy to get around. However, don't expect to see all of the new technology that will be packed into the complex.

For stuff you miss at PCIM, let us at Penton Media help you out. Electronic Design Europe will be reporting on the show with a mixture of magazine articles and video interviews, which will be shot live at the exhibition.

Catch up at:

http://europe.elecdesign.com/

and

http://www.electronicdesign.com/

See you at the show!

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