Automation Suppliers Announcements At ARC Forum

Feb. 14, 2012
The annual Manufacturing Forum sponsored by the ARC Advisory Group, perhaps the industry’s largest gathering of automation suppliers, was held from Feb. 6-9 in Orlando. Where ever more than 600 industry people are gathered, rumors abound. I spent much time finding facts among the rumors and learning much about the state of the industry.

Mike Caliel, the new President and CEO of Invensys Operations Management (iom.invensys.com) was my first interview on Tuesday. He said he was excited to be back in the industry and was delighted with the success of InFusion so far. His first goal is to get the company to execute on its vision.

Rumors and speculation about the sudden departure of previous IOM CEO Sudipta Bhattacharya captivated hallway conversations. After discussions with over a dozen people, I reached these conclusions about the situation at that company (which I hope to be the last time to re-hash this even though it holds great interest for many people). The Invensys plc CEO and Board decided to integrate several divisions into one—dubbed Operations Management. They then picked Bhattacharya for the dubious task of leading the integration effort. This was a task that was doomed in the sense that the person who does the integration almost never remains to run the new organization. The process systems people were never happy about the new organization. Bhattacharya, given his SAP and Wonderware roots, most likely would never be accepted at Foxboro and Triconex. I feel he accomplished his mission but had to be replaced by a neutral person who could bring healing and focus.
Industry leader meetings
Helmut Ludwig, CEO of Siemens Industry (www.usa.siemens.com/industry) in the United States, pointed to the emerging digital enterprise where Siemens is building the essential infrastructure from PLM to Software to Controls. He challenged industry professionals to do the hard work and make the tough decisions to move manufacturing forward to new success.
Glenn Schultz, managing director of the FDT Group (www.fdtgroup.org), reported that FDT is getting so strong in India that there is now an FDT national office in that country.
Greg Bodenhamer, vice president Industry End User Business of Schneider Electric (www.schneider-electric.com/us) in the United States explained the role of energy management to maintenance and asset management. Schneider is also working on driving energy information into the lowest place in manufacturing in order to enable better cost analysis and energy control.
Chet Mroz, president and CEO of Yokogawa Corp. of America (www.us.yokogawa.com), discussed the recovery of the company from the loss of a major sale when the customer cancelled its project. YCA is now focusing on smaller projects working with systems integrators where possible and changing market focus away from large refineries.
Several new products were introduced during the Monday press conferences at the Forum.
Invensys Operations Management (iom.invensys.com) has expanded its certification for virtualization technology, claiming to be the first industrial automation provider to be certified for high availability, disaster recovery and fault tolerance in supervisory control applications leveraging both the VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization platforms. The company’s ArchestrA System Platform 2012 and Wonderware InTouch 2012 software are now certified for the latest VMware solutions, including VMware vSphere version 5.0 and ESXi version 5.0 for mission-critical applications.
PAS (www.pas.com) announced the release of inBound, an application that makes plant operators continually aware of safe operating limits. It is a layered application for PAS’ PlantState Suite alarm management software. It aggregates, validates, and displays physical constraints such as a vessel’s Maximum Allowable Working Pressure (MAWP), design constraints such as relief valve settings, and safe operating limits.
Apprion (www.apprion.com) unveiled ION Collaboration and ION Mustering, both integrated into the ION System and presented in ION's unified dashboard interface. ION Collaboration is a real-time communication system that allows work teams to communicate collaboratively with message streams filtered according to topic, avoiding unnecessary distractions. ION Mustering Application provides wireless technology and the integrated ION dashboard to verify the location and status of all personnel during an emergency.

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