Using connected technologies to gain business value
The recent Rockwell Automation TechED event in Melbourne attracted record numbers and revealed the latest techniques and technologies to help maximise manufacturing and production operations. With a focus on advancing industrial automation and solving business challenges, the event brought together the best in the industry including end users, system integrators, distributors, partners and machine builders.
“TechED has established a reputation as the industry’s only multi-day, hands-on event focusing on the latest technologies to help maximise assets and information across operations. The number of people attending TechED is growing year upon year because it not only focuses on the latest technologies to enable a Connected Enterprise, but demonstrates first-hand how companies can connect silos of information to extract real business value,” explained Matthew Treeby, commercial marketing manager, Rockwell Automation.
The event began with an informative keynote presentation by John Watts, marketing director, Rockwell Automation that highlighted the importance of investing in smart manufacturing and production to remain competitive on a global scale.
The growing middle class in emerging countries together with an aging workforce are key market drivers for smart manufacturing and production. As the consumer market grows and demands more choice, manufacturers need to embrace new technologies to address these changing requirements.
In light of these macro-trends, the Industrial IoT is estimated to have an economic impact of 4.6 trillion dollars by 2025 as new technologies including analytics, mobility, app platforms and the cloud, help securely connect plant information with enterprise systems.
In closing, Watts explained the importance of firstly understanding why you are taking the journey to smart manufacturing. “As a manufacturer, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the productivity and manufacturing issues you are working to solve. It is not all about the technology, think about the people and processes involved. Make sure you understand the business outcomes and why you are heading towards smart manufacturing.”
To help customers work towards increased productivity and profitability, he also shared a five-step guide to the Connected Enterprise; the first step being to identify desired business outcomes, then sourcing an outside perspective, assembling the team, starting small by implementing a pilot program and finally scaling for expansion to eventually enable The Connected Enterprise.
Michael Pantaleano, global business manager for analytics and cloud, Rockwell Automation, delivered the second keynote presentation focusing on how the company’s latest tools and technologies focus on scalable analytics to help customers meet production and operational goals.
Manufacturers rely on production data to solve challenges on the plant floor and across the enterprise. Scalable analytics, performed at the device, system or enterprise level, provide actionable information to the people who need it and a pathway to move data into higher-level systems.
Pantaleano emphasised the importance of running analytics where it makes sense, based on the real time nature and power required. For example, analysis of historical data and trends for future optimisation could and should take place in the cloud, whereas detection of device abnormalities requires a real time response and should be handled onsite.
The company’s new analytics solutions have the capability to scale from device through to enterprise. The devices that are in machines, lines and applications produce data. To run a connected enterprise, this data must be extracted and sent up to plant-wide and enterprise-wide information systems.
The new FactoryTalk Analytics for Devices provides information about the diagnostic health of devices, at the source. With plug-in appliances that automatically detect, digitise, analyse, and act on device data, real-time alerts on critical device and machine health are delivered at the device level.
Revealing insights into new and future products, Pantaleano explained that the focus of product development is on simplicity and experience so that devices are easier to use and deploy. In addition, collaboration and mobility requirements are met through the new FactoryTalk TeamONE app, helping to make customers more productive.
Another welcome addition to the company’s offering, Rockwell Automation ThinManager helps manage information and streamline workflows for a more connected production environment. ThinManager software allows centralised configuration and management of deliverable content to any combination of user, device or location.
Similarly, Studio 5000 Logix Designer has added new features to help improve productivity. It is clear that the company’s focus is on providing appliances that can begin delivering results quickly – products that already have analytics, are easy to use and deploy, readily integrated and scalable for future needs.
With more than 60 sessions on offer, attendees were able to experience the latest trends and technologies in the areas of scalable industrial analytics, operational data infrastructure and management, digital transformation, remote access and monitoring, and connected services and solutions.
The Process Solutions Users Group (PSUG) provided a unique perspective on how to optimise process applications and the opportunity to interact directly with the Rockwell Automation global process team. For process industries, PlantPAx embraces the cloud, mobility and virtualisation, providing an easy information flow and the flexibility to adapt to new technology.
Another area where Rockwell Automation has made significant advances is security. As manufacturing and production facilities connect the plant floor with business systems, a comprehensive approach to industrial security is required.
Securing the Connected Enterprise requires a holistic defense-in-depth approach. TechED provided the forum to learn about developing standards and regulations around security and the Rockwell Automation approach for building security into their products.
TechED demonstrated the importance of investing in smart manufacturing and production; and the costly danger of missed opportunities. The industrial automation market in Australia and New Zealand is expected to grow consistently over the coming years, making now the right time to reap the rewards of using analytics to transform data from smart, connected industrial assets into meaningful insights.
About Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation Australia and Rockwell Automation New Zealand are subsidiaries of Rockwell Automation, Inc.—a leading global provider of industrial automation and information solutions that helps manufacturers achieve a competitive advantage in their businesses. The company brings together leading global brands in industrial automation which include Allen-Bradley® controls and services and Rockwell Software® factory management software. Its broad product mix includes control logic systems, sensors, human-machine interfaces, drive controllers, power devices, and software.
Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE:ROK), the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information, makes its customers more productive and the world more sustainable. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., Rockwell Automation employs approximately 22,000 people serving customers in more than 80 countries.