Rockwell Automation Fair 2019 – Expanding System Integration/Services & Leveraging PTC Software

  • December 17, 2019
  • Rockwell Automation
  • Rockwell Automation
  • Feature
Rockwell Automation Fair 2019 – Expanding System Integration/Services & Leveraging PTC Software
Rockwell Automation Fair 2019 – Expanding System Integration/Services & Leveraging PTC Software

By Bill Lydon, Contributing Editor, Automation.com 

Integration was the heavy emphasis for Rockwell Automation at Automation Fair 2019, with a particular focus on expanding the system integration business and launching Rockwell Automation Lifecycle Services, as well as greater PTC software integration.  Rockwell Automation highlighted partnerships, and collaborations to illustrate their efforts to improve the ability to help the manufacturing/process industries digitize production.  This was described as part of the Rockwell Automation journey to become a valued supplier to support new manufacturing business models, during the bustling fair.

Many manufacturing companies are rapidly coming to an understanding that the application of technology to digitize operations has become a requirement to be competitive and are seeking suppliers, with which to achieve these goals.   The digitalization of manufacturing includes the integration of technologies including real-time enterprise business systems (i.e. ERP, Supply Chain, etc.), analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning  (ML), predictive maintenance, real-time commissioning, and cloud applications.  The Digital Twin has become one of the more powerful concepts of Industry 4.0. With the implementation of model-based, real-time, closed-loop monitoring, control, and optimization of the entire manufacturing and production process, the Digital Twin concept is helping organizations achieve real-time integrated manufacturing. The fundamental idea of the Digital Twin is to have a virtual model of the ideal manufacturing operations and processes, to use as a benchmark for the actual production metrics in real time. The broadest implementation models include all of the factors that affect efficiency and profitability of production, including machines, processes, labor, incoming material quality, order flow, as well as economic factors.  This can provide a wealth of information, which organizations can use to identify and predict problems before they disrupt efficient production. The Digital Twin is a prominent example of a practical macro-level, closed-loop control which is now feasible with the advanced hardware, software, sensors, and systems technology now available.

 

Digital Partner Program

At the Fair, Blake Moret, Rockwell Automation chairman and CEO, announced the formation of the Digital Partner Program to align with subject matter expert organizations, with an aim to increase adoption of Rockwell Automation products as part of digitalization and Industry 4.0 solutions. The new program includes collaborations with Accenture, a strategic partnership with ANSYS and accelerated work with Microsoft which are intended to help customers simplify technology deployments and quickly achieve goals like higher productivity.   Several Rockwell Automation people described the Digital Partner Program as providing customers with access to consult with industry advisors to create roadmaps for their digital initiatives and a means to learn how industrial IoT concepts like digital twin, the factory of the future and a connected workforce can improve uptime and efficiency.   

“Seamlessly connecting all levels of a business and turning raw data into powerful insights happens when devices are integrated and data is standardized. No one vendor can do this alone. Instead, companies need an ecosystem of proven partners with the right mix of expertise and technologies to expand what’s humanly possible. We’re proud to expand our work with existing strategic alliance partners like Microsoft and PTC, and add new partners like Accenture, ANSYS, and EPLAN in this effort.”  - Blake Moret

The Digital Partner Program is part of the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork program

 

Inside Rockwell Automation’s Efforts with Accenture and Industry X.0

Rockwell Automation announced plans to team up with Accenture’s Industry X.0 with a goal to develop a digital offering to help industrial clients move beyond existing manufacturing solutions to transform their entire connected enterprise.  Accenture is a global professional services company with 492,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations across more than 40 industries and all business functions.   Accenture describes themselves as working at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance.

Accenture will provide enterprise business and technical capabilities, including consulting, analytics, application development, systems integration, change management and support as part of this effort.  To date, the collaboration has yielded a prototype for supply chain management designed to deliver supplier cost optimization and an improved ability to track the exact movements of products.  Accenture Industry X.0 works to help businesses master the digital reinvention of industry when they use advanced digital technologies to transform core operations and unlock new revenue streams and business models. Accenture further described their efforts at supporting every aspect of their clients’ multi-phase transformation, including workforce, customer experience, R&D, engineering, manufacturing, business support, and ecosystems.

There are more than 100 Accenture Innovation Centers around the world,

 

A Partnership with ANSYS

Product and manufacturing simulation benefits has been proving to have great value in Rockwell Automation is partnering with ANSYS, a provider of simulation software.  ANSYS founded in 1970 has simulation offerings that are respected throughout industry. The goal is to help customers design simulation-based digital twins of products, processes and manufacturing to virtually design and test, in order to accelerate development and analysis, improve product quality and reduce time to create solutions.   “Simulation-based digital twins optimize factory operations, saving money by reducing unplanned downtime and empower engineers to test solutions virtually before doing physical repairs,” claimed Ajei Gopal, President and CEO at ANSYS. “Combining Rockwell Automation’s extensive expertise and portfolio of industrial solutions with ANSYS’ leading-edge simulation solutions is making it easier for industrial companies to build, validate and deploy digital twins.”

 

Increased PTC Integration

PTC was prominent at this year's Automation Fair and is becoming the cornerstone of Rockwell Automation new industrial digitalization software strategy.  PTC offerings are impressive with the company creating the most open system architecture which manufacturers can use to leverage digitalization and collaboration, with an aim to achieve strong competitive positions in their industries.  PTC has created a logical system architecture platform with a large and growing partner ecosystem. PTC’s effort democratizes application development and unleashes the creativity of subject matter experts in manufacturing & process operations.  The PTC software platform complemented with its partner ecosystem is a scalable and flexible platform architecture for digitization of both discrete and process functions including design, manufacturing, product lifecycle management (PLM), and services. The PTC philosophy embraces providing functional modules to create systems with tools and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) for those that want to develop their own software using fundamental building blocks. 

The PTC FactoryTalk InnovationSuite, part of the Rockwell Automation FactoryTalk offering, was the first step.   “In the past year, the Rockwell Automation and PTC teams have worked closely to integrate and optimize FactoryTalk InnovationSuite to the needs of a very fast growing, dynamic market,” noted John Genovesi, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Accounts & Software at Rockwell Automation, “We’re very pleased to see the results in terms of the rapid growth of new customers and the significant industry recognition of our solution as highly innovative and a leader in modular and integrated capabilities spanning MES, analytics, Industrial IoT and augmented reality.”

 

Expanding Systems Integration

Rockwell Automation continues to expand their system integration business and services through acquisitions complementing Maverick Technologies and other groups in the company.

 

MESTech

Rockwell Automation acquired MESTECH Services in October 2019  a global provider of Manufacturing Execution Systems/Manufacturing Operations Management, digital solutions consulting, and systems integration services expanding the consulting and systems integration business.  MESTECH, founded in 2008, is headquartered in Pune, India, with operations in Germany and the United States. They offer  technology consulting services, solutions design and deployment, support, plant asset management, and staffing solutions for discrete, hybrid, and process applications across multiple industries including Life Sciences and Automotive.  

“The acquisition of MESTECH expands our capabilities to profitably grow Information Solutions and Connected Services globally and accelerate Rockwell’s ability to help our customers execute digital transformation initiatives. India is one of Rockwell’s fastest growing markets and MESTECH’s footprint and expertise will enable us to implement solutions faster, helping our customers increase their connectivity, efficiency, and productivity. At the same time, by joining the Rockwell family, MESTECH will be able to leverage Rockwell’s products and solutions in the areas of control, process, power information solutions and industrial IoT, including FactoryTalk Innovation Suite, powered by PTC, in order to help customers develop the best possible solutions while minimizing risk.”  - Matthew Fordenwalt, Vice President and General Manager, Systems & Solutions Business, for Rockwell Automation

“We are excited about our future with Rockwell Automation, which will enable us to help more customers simplify their industrial transformations and accelerate their production timelines. Over the past decade, we have grown MESTECH into one of the world’s leading manufacturing execution service providers, with a focus on Technology Consulting and Software Implementation for managing manufacturing operations. By joining forces with Rockwell, we will be able to expand our market access and offer more customers the benefit of our strong industry expertise.” - Yatin Sankholkar, Managing Director, at MESTECH

 

Sensia

Rockwell Automation is the majority owner of Sensia, a joint venture with Schlumberger to enhance Rockwell Automation’s expertise and credibility in the oil & gas industry.  Sensia is headquartered in Houston, Texas and stated projected $4 million initial annual revenue with approximately 1,000 employees.  The Sensia mission is to leverage analytics and artificial intelligence, remote monitoring, and other tools for oilfield automation to help oil and natural gas customers cut costs and improve efficiencies on the oilfield. 

 

More Acquisitions

Based on comments from Blake Moret at the Rockwell Automation annual investor meeting, held in conjunction with the Automation Fair, it is likely more acquisitions will be made in order to accelerate inorganic growth.   Moret stated the goal to add a percentage point or more per year from inorganic investments, citing the most recent acquisitions Sensia and Emulate 3D as examples.

 

Lifecycle Services

Rockwell Automation Lifecycle Services was featured prominently in a large booth at Automation Fair.  The booth included digital demos on how Rockwell Automation service offerings can help manage the full lifecycle including engaging experts on networks, security, modernization and analytics solutions. Topics and solutions highlighted in the booth included addressing the skills gap, aging infrastructure, regulatory compliance, MRO spend, cyberattacks, and IT/OT convergence. The display featured new products and solutions including.

 

A Growing Services Focus

Increasing recurring revenue from services was one of the major themes which Blake Moret highlighted at the Rockwell Automation investor meeting.  Moret used the term” Resilience Revenue” to describe plans for recurring income including Lifecycle Services, Software Subscriptions, Managed Services, and Anything as Service (XaaS) with the goal of these being greater than 10% of sales by fiscal year 2025.

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