Real-time, real collaboration, innovation: these were the main themes considered during the OpsManage'10 Paris event Nov. 16-17, organized by automation supplier Invensys Operations Management (IOM, www.iom.invensys.com), Plano, Texas, and attended by more than 800 buyers, system integrators and final users.
Innovation was also a major theme at a recent event in Italy sponsored for the Italian trade press by Siemens. Executives from the German engineering conglomerate described how innovation applied to several global “megatrends” form the basis for the company’s future strategy.
For the Invensys event, the anticipation was high, as a preview of IOM’s vision for the future evolution of the entire sector was expected. And IOM Chief Executive Officer Sudipta Bhattacharya didn't disappoint. “The whole industrial world looks for excellence: We own the technologies to overcome the existing limits to it,” he said. “Excellence is the right thing companies are investing in, integrating automation equipment and innovative software solutions, in order to react to market changes faster and better than in the past.”
Just thinking about energy management, “the cost of energy is changing minute by minute,” Bhattacharya said. “Companies will have a great advantage if they can manage the processes with the highest energy consumption according to energy cost variations.” The same is true about stocking, he noted. “Products become 'old' very fast.”
To realize the excellence “dream,” all of a company's “floors,” from the enterprise to the plant ones, have to cooperate and share the same information in real time. “Wonderware solutions have proved to be the best to integrate businesses, processes and production, gathering data from different systems, also from different vendors, and feeding analytic and business solutions to help managers make the best decisions,” Bhattacharya contended.
Innovation is the key word concerning future growth, according to Bhattacharya. Here, IOM cites its relationship with software giant Microsoft Corp. (www.microsoft.com), Redmond, Wash. “With realistic 3D simulation, pilots today can learn how to fly airplanes,” said Colin Masson, worldwide director, Solution Category Enterprise, at Microsoft. “In the same way, industrial operators can learn how to operate dangerous plants without risks.” The solution is already available and it is being used by Eni s.p.A., a Rome-based engery company, in the Gela pilot plant, and in Sicily in the south of Italy. Simulation will be soon adopted in other Eni refineries. Last, but not least, cloud computing will bring a “new approach to industrial technologies, considering them 'As-A-Service.' It is a world we still need to explore,” Bhattacharya concluded.
Future strategies, but also today's results, were “on the table” during the Siemens Italia event, specifically organized by automation supplier Siemens for Italian technical press. Revenues of 2,509.6 million Euros in 2009-2010 (a decline of 2 percent from the previous year), and orders up to 2,636.2 million Euros (an increase of 4.1 percent) prove that “Siemens stability is real, thanks to our skill in forecasting the crisis’ negative impacts,” said Federico Golla, Siemens Italia (www.siemens.com/entry/it). “For the future, we are looking to new markets but also to ‘old’ ones,” Golla said. “Next year, the industry sector’s revenues, representing more than a half of our business in Italy, will grow up.”
Siemens’ focus will be innovation, and this is the core activity of the new strategic platform Siemens One. “Innovation will be led by four global megatrends: urbanization; increasing of the population age; climate; and globalization. Siemens solutions will also increase energy efficiency and industrial productivity, create better healthcare services and smart technologies for buildings,” Golla added.
Energy efficiency, together with water treatment and infrastructures linked to big events, such as Expo 2015 in Milan, will drive the market growth in the future. “Smart grids and e-mobility (electric cars) and smart cities projects will be the next main topics for Siemens Italia,” said Golla. The company will also continue to develop a better environmental approach with its “green technologies,” which represent a third of the company’s sales in Italy.
About the author
Ilaria De Poli, firstname.lastname@example.org, is an editor at “Fiera Milano Editore,” a magazine covering automation and manufacturing in Italy.
Invensys Operations Management