Electronic Design
PCIM 2009 Survival Guide

PCIM 2009 Survival Guide

It’s PCIM, or Power Conversion Intelligent Motion, show time in the German city of Nuremberg and around 250 companies in the power electronics sector will be exhibiting their latest technologies at the Nuremberg Exhibition and Conference Centre from 11 to 14 May. Electronic Design Europe will be there searching out the hot technology stories and video-reporting them back to you on our Web site.

The mind-boggling array of power electronics on show will include categories such as:

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

And I do mean this is really just a few of the total that will be 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

As we all know, this year’s PCIM comes at a time when industries globally are dealing with the financial turmoil foisted upon us by the mad bankers. Electronics is no different, although it does have a distinct advantage: It’s a key technology in driving forward the engineering abilities of so many different products in so many different industries. Because of this, it’s inconceivable that electronics wouldn’t be able to ride out this financial storm and go on to be the enabling technology of all our futures.

That said, it’s going to be interesting to get the news and views of electronics industry executives at the show. And we’ll be sure to feed these back to you on our site.

But hey, enough of the doom and gloom. Its Spring time in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg and apart from the work to be done at the PCIM conference and exhibition, there are the undeniable attractions of Nuremberg. For instance, crystal-clear ice cold lagers are sold in the city’s beer kellers, many of which are set in the beautiful old part of city.

Undoubtedly, Nuremberg has many cultural and historic facets. For a lot of people, it’s still associated with the traditional gingerbread (Lebkuchen) products, sausages, handmade toys, and the darker elements of Nazism.

But focusing on engineering expertise, did you know that the first pocket watches were made in Nuremberg in the 16th century? And in the 19th century, the city became the industrial heart of Bavaria, with companies such as Siemens and MAN establishing bases there.

Nuremberg is still an important industrial centre with a strong standing in the markets of Central and Eastern Europe. Items manufactured in the area include electronic and electrical equipment, mechanical and optical products, motor vehicles, and printed materials.

The history of Nuremberg begins back in AD1050, which is the year the castle was built. The oldest section is called the Altniirnberg and consists of the Funfeekiger Thurm—the Five-Cornered Tower. The latter was burned down in 1420, rebuilt in 1428, and called the Walpurgiskapelle. These constituted the Burggrafliche Burg—the Burggraf’s Castle. The rest of the castle is called the Kaiserliche Burg; nothing confusing about that!

The old Five-Cornered Tower and the surrounding ground was the private property of the Burggraf, who was appointed by the Emperor as imperial officer of the Kaiserliche Burg. Whether the Emperor claimed any rights of personal property over Nuremberg or merely treated it, at first, as imperial property, is difficult to determine.

The castle, at any rate, was probably built to secure whatever rights were claimed, and to serve generally as an imperial stronghold. Gradually, the streets of Nuremberg grew up around the castle. Settlers set up beneath the shadow of the Burg, and the names of the streets suggest the vicinity of a camp or fortress. Soldnerstrasse, Schmiedstrasse, and so forth indicate military history.

For more on the history of Nuremberg go to: http://www3.oag.com/Cities/Guide?city=137&guideID=2&cat=2

Moving closer to the present day, 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 German city that was most heavily bombed.

However, walk through the old part of the city today and you would believe that you’re strolling through a 13th century town. All credit to the city of Nuremberg. They rebuilt the old town to exactly the same architectural designs of the original buildings and it really does look authentic.

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. Its good and its cheap. For long-haul travelers, the best bet is to either fly to Frankfurt and then transfer to another short flight to Nuremberg, or take the high-speed train. Alternatively, fly into Munich and then grab 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.

I suggest using 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

For exhibition visitors, my standard advice always applies about hotel accommodation. Don’t even think about staying near the exhibition. Forget ideas of morning efficiency and time pressures, meetings, and what have you. Stay as near as possible to the Alte Stadt, Nuremberg’s historic city centre. (And you know what… it really isn’t very far from there to the exhibition grounds. See more detail in my “Getting to Work” section).

The Alte Stadt is stunning— great architecture, charming pedestrian precincts, good restaurants and bars, picturesque churches, and, of course, the mustvisit Bratwursthäusle, Nuremberg’s Sausage Eating House. Vegetarians are strongly advised not to enter this establishment. Peruse what’s on the menu at:


“Drei im Weggla” or “three sausages in a roll” is the local name for three Nuremberg roast sausages in a roll. Nuremberg roast sausages are renowned far beyond the boundaries of Franconia. And now the name “Nuremberg Roast Sausage” is even protected and restricted to the City of Nuremberg by an EU regulation!

Nuremberg lebkuchen (spicy gingerbread) is eaten during the advent and Christmas season every year, and sent in parcels all over the world. The former Free City of the Empire, Nuremberg owed the renown and tradition of its lebkuchen to its fortunate location at the intersection of many trading and spice routes.

Having risen to the challenge of the Nuremberg sausage (Nuremberg has its very own trademarked specialty sausage that must be tried and eaten with a challenging dollop of sauerkraut), you will no doubt need to ensure your hydration is up to spec.

There are scores of bars. But a must-visit is to the microbrewery Bar Fusser. It’s sure to satisfy most thirsts

Okay, enough enjoying yourselves. Why are we in Nuremberg? Ah yes, the PCIM 2009 exhibition. It’s 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 (alight at the station called Messe). Journey time is about 12 minutes from the Hauptbahnhof….hence, my advice to stay in the old part of town rather than some dull faceless hotel near the exhibition.

For train details see: http://urbanrail.net/eu/nue/nuernbg.htm

Also on the aforementioned Web page are a series of guides about the fare structure. Unlike the Munich U-Bahn/S-Bahn fare structure that even Einstein would have failed to comprehend, Nuremberg’s system is a quite a bit smaller and correspondingly easier to understand price-wise.

So you are at the show. It’s compact compared to the gigantic electronica techfest staged in Munich. Nonetheless, don’t expect to see all of the new technology packed into the space.

For the stuff you miss at PCIM, check out Electronic Design Europe’s Web site. We will be reporting on the show with a mixture of magazine articles and technology video clip, which will be shot live at the show.

Find us at:


And don’t forget to try those Nuremberg sausages.

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