Rockwell Automation Has Its Sights Set On the Cloud

July 12, 2021
The industrial automation supplier’s recent acquisitions of Plex and Fiix expand its supply chain and operations management vision.

Rockwell Automation announced in June that it will acquire Plex Systems for $2.22 billion in cash, thereby expanding its industrial cloud software offerings for manufacturing execution systems (MES), supply chain planning, and quality management capabilities across discrete, hybrid, and process industry segments.

Plex provides a single-instance, multi-tenant software-as-a-service (SaaS) manufacturing platform which is currently used by over 700 customers, the company said. The business deal, expected to close in Rockwell’s fiscal fourth quarter, will fold Plex into Rockwell’s Software and Control operating segment. And, the SaaS offering will complement Rockwell’s existing on-premises offerings, thereby accelerating the digital transformation for many manufacturers, Rockwell executives said.

 “There’s a growing need to increase production and improve resilience while driving efficiency and compliance at every stage,” said Rockwell Automation chairman and CEO Blake Moret during the ROKLive event keynote in June. “Companies across industries are looking to upgrade production systems to achieve that, and one solution is a modern, cloud-based MES that is easy to use and maintain.”

Read more on why MES in the cloud is a viable option.

The Rockwell software strategy is to connect day-to-day manufacturing apps with connected enterprise production systems by providing intelligent devices, control and communication capabilities, and operations management software to help with jobs at all levels of the technology stack.

“At the heart of it is the production data platform, said Brian Shepherd, Rockwell’s senior vice president of software and control during a ROKLive session. “We bring new apps, analytics, and access to that data to help create even more value. The Connected Enterprise production system forms the basis of everything we are doing.”

Shepherd noted, too, that Rockwell’s recent acquisition of Fiix Inc., a cloud-based artificial intelligence-enabled computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), together with the Plex deal, will position the company with a strong portfolio of cloud-native solutions for customers’ production systems. The benefit of the cloud offerings is ease of deployment and management, scalability, and software updates can be rolled out seamlessly.

Watch this Take 5 video on supply chain technology for a changing world. 

“We are bringing the connected enterprise to life by connecting the imagination of people with the power of technology to deliver business results,” Moret said. “There’s no one in a better position to bring IT and OT together to inspire bigger returns and a brighter future for business.”

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