PCIM Europe 2012 Nuremberg Survival Guide

May 11, 2012
If you’re heading to the show, be sure to make the most of the semiconductors, sausages, and sauerkraut.

If the way that German electronics exhibitions and conferences are prospering this year is any indication, the European electronics sector is enjoying a buoyant 2012. With more than 310 exhibitors at this year’s power electronics event, PCIM Europe is poised to reach a new show record.

The total exhibition space reserved by companies already exceeds the total for 2011. This corporate enthusiasm to be part of PCIM Europe 2012 is matched by the fact that the organisers already have 7000 pre-registered visitors.

But it’s not just about the exhibition area. The technical foundations of the show lie in the conference program, which will attract approximately 700 participants. Due to the increased number of exhibitors this year, PCIM Europe will take place in two exhibition halls (11 and 12) for the first time.

Economic And Technical Strength

Nuremberg is the second-largest city in Bavaria and the thirteenth-largest municipality in Germany. The strengths of the Nuremberg economic region lie in communication and multimedia, traffic engineering and logistics, energy and the environment, power electronics, and the service industry.

Research institutes located in the Nuremberg region such as the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits provide valuable technical impetus. There are more than 200 companies with some 42,000 jobs located in Nuremberg, including 12,500 directly connected with the power electronics sector.

Despite the strong industrial and technical base, Nuremberg for many people is still associated with its traditional Lebkuchen gingerbread, sausages, and handmade toys. Peter Henlein made pocket watches there, the so-called Nuremberg eggs, in the sixteenth century.

Although first referenced in 1050, Nuremberg didn’t become the industrial heart of Bavaria until the nineteenth century with companies such as Siemens and MAN establishing a strong base in the city. Siemens remains the largest industrial employer.

With more than 500,000 residents, Nuremberg is Bavaria’s second largest city after Munich. Its historic architecture was destroyed during World War II, but its citizens rebuilt the old town using original architectural plans and drawings, preserving the old city centre’s medieval heritage.

Getting There

For the overseas visitor, Nuremberg isn’t as accessible as its exhibition rival city, Munich. Few flights go there directly. An exception for English visitors is Air Berlin, which flies directly into Nuremberg from London Gatwick. It’s a good service and reasonably priced.

For long-haul travelers, the best bet is to fly to Frankfurt and then transfer to another short flight to Nuremberg or to take the ICE high-speed train. Alternatively, travelers can fly into Munich and jump on the ICE 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 a.m., get over to the train station at about 11:30 a.m., and enjoy a high-speed ride on the ICE to Nuremberg. It takes about two 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 more than 200 kilometers an hour—Prost! For travel details, go to www.europeanrailguide.com/trains/ice.html.

In Nuremberg

Don’t even think about staying in a hotel near the exhibition. Forget about efficiency, meetings, and other obligations. Stay near the Alte Stadt, Nuremberg’s historic city centre. It isn’t very far from there to the exhibition grounds. (See “Getting To Work,” below.)  

The Alte Stadt is stunning, with great architecture, charming pedestrian precincts, good restaurants and bars, and picturesque churches. Of course, you must visit Bratwursthäusle, Nuremberg’s Sausage Eating House. Vegetarians are strongly advised to stay away. Peruse the menu at http://die-nuernberger-bratwurst.de/index.php?id=3821.

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

The Nürnberger sausage dates back to 1313, when the Bratwurstglöcklein, a local kitchen dedicated to producing Nürnberger Bratwurst, was built. By 1462, more butchers began to produce Nürnberger Bratwurst. These butchers had to present their bratwurst to experts, who checked the sausages for ingredients, form, quality, and water content, to make sure they met the minimum standards.

By the 16th century, butchers could no longer afford to produce the Nürnberger Bratwurst because its market price sank greatly. However, the creative locals came up with a solution: make the bratwurst small and thin. Butchers were able to sell more this way and stay in business.

Nuremberg lebkuchen (spicy gingerbread) is eaten during the Advent and Christmas season every year, and it’s 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.

Hydration Information

Having risen to the challenge of the Nuremberg’s trademarked specialty sausage, which must be tried and eaten with a challenging dollop of sauerkraut, you will need to ensure your hydration is up to spec. There are scores of bars. But a must-visit is the microbrewery Bar Fusser, which is sure to satisfy most thirsts. German beer is excellent. Read more at www.germanfoodguide.com/beer.htm.

The flavoursome Bavarian beer can be crystal clear. But if it’s not your bag, you may prefer one of the more modern cocktail bars in the city. Sausolitos Bar, which almost sounds like a sausage as well, will be the place for you to guzzle those well-deserved mojitos. Find out more at www.lonelyplanet.com/germany/bavaria/nuremberg/entertainment-nightlife/cocktail-lounge.

Get To Work

Once you’re done relaxing, it’s time for PCIM 2012. It’s very easy to get to the show from the city centre. From the Hauptbahnhof (Main rail station), use the U Bahn train Lines U1 or U11. Board the train heading to Langwasser Süd. It’s only six stops to the exhibition. (Alight at the station called Messe.)

The journey is about 12 minutes from the Hauptbahnhof. So, stay in the old part of town rather than some dull, faceless hotel near the exhibition. For train details, see www.urbanrail.net/eu/de/n/nuernberg.htm.

Now comes the tricky part: buying your ticket. If you can, try buying it at your hotel reception desk. The staff there can explain what you’ll need to travel legally.

Unlike the Munich U-Bahn/S-Bahn fare structure, which even Einstein would have failed to comprehend, Nuremberg’s system is a quite a bit smaller and therefore a little less difficult to understand price-wise. There are ticket machines at each station, so make sure you carry some Euro coinage.

Once you have your ticket, make sure you stamp it in the little machines near the entrances to the train platforms. This dates and times the ticket. Do not fail to do so. Otherwise, plainclothes inspectors on the trains may spot-check you and assume you are deliberately trying to avoid fare payment. Yes, you may have bought a ticket. But it must have the time and date stamp on it. Do it or face a hefty fine.

So you’re finally at the show. It’s compact compared to the sprawling electronica techfest staged in Munich. Nonetheless, don’t expect to see all of the new technology during your visit. For the stuff you miss, check out http://electronicdesign.com/Electronic-Design-Europe.aspx as well as out newsletters.

And don’t forget to try those Nuremberg sausages.

What’s At The Show

The PCIM Europe 2012 exhibition will be open for trade visitors on Tuesday, 8 May through Thursday, 10 May from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can expect to see exhibits covering:

  • Power semiconductors
  • Thermal management and packaging
  • Control and drive strategies in power converters
  • Electronic power converters
  • Power electronics in automotive, traction, and aerospace
  • Motors and actuators
  • Control techniques in intelligent motion systems
  • Applications for drives & motion control
  • New and renewable energy systems
  • Energy storage
  • Smart Grid & communication
  • Power quality solutions
  • Power factor, harmonics, and flicker
  • Power electronics in transmission systems
  • Software tools and applications
  • Passive components and new materials

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