“This year’s theme is Smart, Safe and Sustainable,” Keith Nosbusch, Rockwell Automation chairman and chief executive officer, told a gathering of international press as Manufacturing Perspectives, the prelude to Automation Fair, kicked off on November 2 at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center. Stressing the use of industry standards, Nosbusch said customers are looking for plant-wide optimization, sustainable production, and machine builder performance. “We are unique in our ability to deliver the entire requirement,” he added.
In addition to the previously reported registered attendance of 640 at the Process Solutions User Group on Nov. 1-2, Rockwell announced a crowd in excess of 11,000 attended the two-day Automation Fair trade show and training sessions. Attendees could browse 10 large Rockwell booths and 98 partner booths.
During a series of one-on-one interviews with Rockwell executives, I asked Nosbusch about his visibility on the speaker circuit in Washington, D.C. trying to stir up action on a national manufacturing policy. “Manufacturing is important to an economy,” he said. “It’s not just about jobs, it’s about the overall strength of the economy. We need a strong manufacturing sector for wealth creation. It’s the role of government in setting the environment for manufacturing. We need to raise awareness.” I followed up asking why, as CEO of a global company, he doesn’t speak globally. “Other countries know manufacturing is important,” he added.
“We need to position manufacturing as technology-intensive to make it more attractive,” Sujeet Chand, senior vice president and chief technology officer told me in a later interview. “We’re doing model-based control, using Ethernet. We need to develop manufacturing to be prosperous. There are many areas that remain for innovation and development. Take sensors, for example. You need them for information from manufacturing. Perhaps we could sense bacteria in tomato sauce or other types of sensors. Customers are focusing more on advanced control, and you need to measure in order to apply the control.”
Some significant products included a new release of the Logix control platform, high availability/redundant Ethernet networks, a layer three Ethernet switch that supports virtual local area networks, new Panelview visualization products and embedded ViewPoint that enables Web-based visualization clients.