Around 650 attendees gathered at the Philadelphia Convention Center for the annual Rockwell Automation (www.rockwellautomation.com) Process Solutions User Group. This is the largest attendance excepting for last year's Chicago event. Global Marketing Director Steve Pulsifer noted that attendees trekked there from 27 different countries.
Build a better...
Kicking off the theme of "Build a Better...", John Benovesi, vice president and general manager of the Information Software and Process Business at Rockwell discussed "Build a Better Enterprise." Beginning with a little pat on the back, he noted that ARC Advisory group reported Rockwell as the fastest growing major DCS supplier. Sales over the past several years have shown a 25 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR for you who love shorthand).
Rockwell has taken its core architecture, Logix, and pushed it into both the information and process spaces. A study into use of it Model Predictive Control initiative should a company increasing yield and productivity while lowering energy costs. On the information side, Rockwell is taking a commercial-off-the-shelf (or COTS) approach with modularized products and vertical industry suites that are designed to lower costs of installation and startup. "Our DCS strategy offers the lowest cost plant-wide control lifecycle cost," he proclaimed.
Som Chakraborti, director process control business, discussed "Build Better Control System." The key takeaways included a range of value-added tools, emphasizing the development of libraries, to make it easier for newer people to get up to speed and for projects to scale properly. Then Chakraborti dropped in the announcement, "Rockwell Automation has launched the industry’s first production-grade virtual image templates so users can quickly deploy preinstalled system servers, operator workstations and engineering workstations on their virtualization infrastructure. These templates take the time required to install, update and activate a new system down to mere minutes."
This last tool is built upon VMware (www.vmware.com) virtualization. Explaining virtualization--which began many years ago in the IT world--VMware's Director of ISV Alliances, Nancy Youn, in her talk "Build Better Infrastructure" clearly and logically explained the IT concepts to the process control audience. She showed how abstracting applications from the hardware for automation can have some significant benefits. The one comment that drove the point home was that virtualization enables various devices, say tablets, to access the application without the need to buy yet another seat license." This technology is essential to support the post-PC era.