“First and foremost, we’re a technology company,” said David Cote, chief executive officer (CEO) and chairman of the board for Morristown, N.J.-based Honeywell International, in his keynote address to the Honeywell Users’ Group Symposium. “We also view ourselves as problem solvers. With our customers’ valuable input, we can continue to develop innovative solutions.”
This theme of supplier-customer partnership—“Partners in Innovation”—was carried throughout the five-day event, which was held in Phoenix in mid-June. A record attendance of more then 600 process industry users from 26 countries, as well as about 400 Honeywell professionals, gathered to discuss topics ranging from control system migration to wireless applications to the “process control plant of the future.”
A 12-member steering committee, chaired by Procter & Gamble’s Lonnie Koeltzow, determines the symposium theme and agenda, which included a number of technical sessions, a theater presentation of Honeywell’s Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS), and a Honeywell exhibit room featuring technology, services and solutions.
“Honeywell innovation is visible everywhere,” noted Cote in his remarks. He said Honeywell is focused on three areas: First, on the development of technologies that will help its customers succeed; second, on strategies that will impact the customer’s bottom line; and third, on “putting the customer at the center of our business.”
Honeywell’s 2003 revenue of $23 billion is divided among four business units. These are Aerospace, with $8.8 billion in 2003 sales; Automation and Control Solutions, with $7.5 billion revenue; Transportation Systems, with $3.7 billion revenue; and Specialty Materials, with $3.2 billion. “Our diversity is allowing us to put technologies developed for one industry to work across multiple applications,” said Cote, citing as examples, sensing, wireless and security technologies.
Automation “sweet spot”
Cote said he considers the Automation and Control Solutions (ACS) business to be one of Honeywell’s “sweet spots,” contributing one-third of Honeywell’s revenue and profits. The Process Solutions business, which sponsored the Users’ Group meeting, is part of ACS, and, according to Cote, is on the forefront of listening to its customers’ needs. Last year, Honeywell invested $250 million of research and development funds in the ACS business, $75 million of which went directly to the Process Solutions group. “We intend to expand and grow our installed base,” said Cote, and expand geographically and in new markets.
Jack Bolick, president of Honeywell Process Solutions, identifies the top six industry markets for Experion PKS as downstream refining, upstream refining, batch chemistry, pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, and power. In positioning Experion PKS, Bolick cites the five-layer automation model, developed by Purdue University. At the bottom of this model is the field layer of instruments and devices. Layer 2 is the distributed control system (DCS). Layer 3 includes the advanced control applications. Layer 4 is the Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) layer. At the top is the Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) layer.
“The Experion PKS platform addresses Layers 2 and 3 of this model,” says Bolick. “I think of the DCS as the foundation module for PKS.” Honeywell also offers several MES products, including BusinessFlex software.
Bolick predicts a technical labor shortage in the United States, but he believes Honeywell’s domain expertise, coupled with technologies such as e-diagnostics and network-based asset management, will aid its customers in addressing these shortages.
Changes in the labor pool, as well as the higher-level business applications that Honeywell serves with its Experion platform, have changed the audience for Honeywell’s solutions and services. Harry Sim, vice president of marketing and business development for Honeywell Process Solutions, says the company now needs to address plant managers, information technology and security personnel, finance and business managers, and even CEOs, in addition to the traditional control engineers.
Adds Sim, “Although Honeywell is one of the largest sensor manufacturers, we think our bigger claim to fame is the capability to package multiple sensors together to sense and manage such things as corrosion.” Sim considers wireless sensing an important enabling technology that will allow the remote and automated monitoring of points that are not currently being monitored. “There will be an explosion of sensors in the plant to sense things as never before. Sensors will tell you how to run your business,” predicts Sim.