Rockwell Week: Day Two Perspectives, Process and Safety

Nov. 7, 2012
Most people know Automation Fair as the annual large trade show sponsored by Rockwell Automation.

Rockwell Automation ( traditionally holds a day before the trade show to brief media and analysts about trends and technologies its executives believe are important now and will be in the future.

There are many events brought together in one place during the week. Monday I reported from the Process Solutions User Group. Tuesday, PSUG continued with customers talking to customers about applications. The Manufacturing Perspectives event for media and analysts gathered in the morning. Then the Safety Automation Forum, which drew between 250-300 people, took place all day down the hall from Manufacturing Perspectives.

Themes for Manufacturing Perspectives included manufacturing matters for economic prosperity, smart manufacturing, cloud, open standards, Ethernet, security, flexibility and energy.

Smart Industrial Manufacturing

Craig Giffi, vice chair US leader, consumer & industrial products, Deloitte & Touche USA, presented convincing evidence that manufacturing is essential to a society's economic prosperity. Some of the key trends leading to it include free trade, digital technology that enabled manufacturing plant replication, manufacturing growth rates and share of total GDP, and a growing middle class. Current challenging trends include rising protectionist policies , currency volatility and fading labor arbitrage. He concluded that research showed that high performing companies are good at innovation--especially talent-driven innovation.

If you've ever followed technology advancements in manufacturing, you'll recognize the truth stated in this quote Giffi heard from former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, "What seems impossible at the moment, seems inevitable in retrospect."

Keith Nosbusch, Rockwell CEO and chairman, discussed the state of smart manufacturing--an initiative to which he has lent his prestige and effort. This initiative is attempting to raise the visibility of smart, connected, knowledge-enabled manufacturing in the country. Later in a private interview we discussed his passion for manufacturing and work to promote it at the highest policy levels.

In some of the technology-oriented talks, Peter Daenen, manufacturing manager at Ford South America, demonstrated the need for manufacturing flexibility in Ford's drive to meet diverse customer demand. Rockwell Sr. Vice President Frank Kulaszewicz discussed some of the technologies Rockwell provides to enable that flexibility. In discussing software solutions, he mentioned that Manufacturing Operations Management applications align work flow and business process, while Manufacturing Intelligence applications take real-time manufacturing data and turn it into actionable information.

Use of the "cloud" dominated the discussion between Fran Dougherty, CTO Worldwide Incubation Enterprise & Partner Group at Microsoft, and Blake Moret, Rockwell Sr. Vice President. Cloud technologies are enabling better service delivery from Rockwell to its customers and enabling customers to add value to their products and solutions.

Sr. Vice President and CTO of Rockwell, Sujeet Chand, and Cisco Vice President and General Manager of the connected industries group, Maciej Kranz, discussed the future of manufacturing networks that enable the "bring your own device" phenomenon" and employee collaboration along with the risks and solutions to the cyber security problem.

Safety Forum

In the afternoon, I sat in on three presentations at the Safety Automation Forum. There was so much content delivered that attendees surely got their money's worth if they paid attention. Each presentation was worthy of a feature article. From three perspectives, they discussed the need for design, planning, validation, documentation, working together and change management.

Presenters were Dan Pienta, Automatic Handling with OEM perspective, Steve Zuberbier, Kimberly-Clark with end user perspective, and Patric Brown & Michael Lohmeyer, Grantek with system integrator perspective.

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