Last week in Lincoln, NE, engineers from around the world converged for another ISOBUS Plugfest to test their ISOBUS devices with other manufacturers’ ISOBUS devices. If you do not know what ISOBUS is, then you probably have not read any of my previous blog posts! At the crux of ISOBUS is the ability to connect many different types of electronic components together from different manufacturers and have them all work together. So Plugfest provides the opportunity to test that all the different equipment works well together.
This Plugfest featured 32 stations, with a mixture of VTs, TCs, and the AEF stations for Conformance Test and Database. The format was very similar to prior Plugfests in which implement ECUs are assigned a time slot at each station to test against a VT or a TC. A slight twist this year was a station that had one VT but two ECUs assigned to it. This was done as a test or proof-of-concept; last year at the France Plugfest there were so many implement ECUs that the timeslots at each station got uncomfortably short. If they have that situation again, the idea will be to have doubled-up stations like this as the standard practice. Since it is quite common to find multiple ISOBUS implement ECUs on a bus, and multiple VTs on the same bus, it is more of a real-world scenario anyway.
A highlight of this Plugfest was the attendance of 3 of the 4 AEF steering committee members. Mark Benishek, Secretary of AEF, usually comes from his office at AEM in Milwaukee. This year he was joined by the chairman Peter van der Vlugt from Kverneland and the treasurer Philipp Fuchsenberger from VDMA. I am glad I had the opportunity to visit with all three of those members, and I greatly appreciate the commitment shown by the AEF leadership to the North American market by attending this Plugfest.
This was my sixth Plugfest and my third spring Plugfest in Lincoln. Each fall another Plugfest takes place somewhere in Europe. This year, fall Plugfest is going to be near Frankfurt, Germany, at the end of September. It is a very big deal as Agritechnica, the world’s largest Ag show, takes place in Hanover in November, so all the engineers want a few weeks to iron out and fix all the bugs they find at Plugfest.
Even if you are not in the Ag electronics or ISOBUS world, Plugfest is still an interesting event. If you have any interest in technology in heavy equipment, it would be worth your time to attend for a day or two. For those Western hemisphere readers, the spring Plugfest for 2016 is again planned for Lincoln in May, so mark it on your calendars.