I thought I’d stir up a little controversy with my last post about where automation business is heading. Not so much, I guess. But a lot of companies are chasing utility business these days. Or other extensions of what is called the smart grid. Those that aren’t chasing smart grid opportunities at the utility / transmission / meter levels are chasing energy efficiency.

What has amazed me over the years is the increasing power and flexibility of control platforms. B&R and Beckhoff are integrating electric and hydraulics into a common automation system. These modern platforms can also handle a lot of process control. Talk about PLC vs. DCS is oh so 20th Century.

ABB has promised more attention to the automation side of the business in this year’s user group event–Automation and Power World. I’m in Florida at my son’s house today, but heading over to Orlando this evening for a couple of days of immension into the world of ABB. I plan to sit in some operator performance sessions.

If any of you are there, look me up.

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