There are some specific product launches from Rockwell Automation, as well as from some partners, to write about coming soon. Here is a general recap of some thoughts about last week’s Automation Fair.
As I reflect on the week and my many interviews, connectivity and safety stand out as key topics. CEO Keith Nosbusch addressed the media during a special media event on 12 November detailing the Rockwell vision of the Connected Manufacturing Enterprise. Connectivity defined by Rockwell means Ethernet and specifically EtherNet/IP its version with the CIP protocol and the standard Internet Protocol (IP). Rockwell’s partnership with Cisco Systems and Panduit for Ethernet connectivity seems to be growing stronger.
The three companies have joined forces on a website promoting IP connectivity. The site features a forum and training with additional training modules to be continually added.
Another company joining the EtherNet/IP movement is Endress + Hauser. This process instrumentation company has been busily adding EtherNet/IP connectivity to instrumentation. E+H and Rockwell together are bringing standard Ethernet into process automation. Rockwell has been seriously pursuing business expansion into the process automation arena for several years, and this year’s PSUG showed just how far it has progressed.
Charles Duhigg told the story of how Paul O’Neil transformed Alcoa by beginning with building safety as a habit in his recent book, “The Power of Habit.” Wall Street analysts were skeptical about how focus on such a seemingly simple strategy would turn around the aluminum industrial giant. However, by developing safety as a habit throughout the organization, O’Neil actually transformed the entire organization leading to growth and profitability.
My safety contacts at Rockwell had not yet read that book, but they were singing very much from the same hymnal. As the marketing leader told me, marketers like alliteration. The Rockwell safety story for factory automation (primarily) is Culture, Compliance, and Capital.
Cultural refers to the behavioral aspects of safety. Unless people adopt a safe lifestyle from home to work, then a safety-based organization will be impossible to achieve.
Compliance refers to the procedural aspects of safety. All employees must be aware of compliance to both legal requirements and company policies. Machines should be designed with the idea of compliance from the very beginning and not as an add-on at the end of the design or build process.
Capital refers to the technologies and equipment itself. All technologies selected for machines and other equipment must be appropriate to the designed safety level rating. They should be designed into the machine from the beginning. They must be installed, operated and maintained as intended.
Another safety-related announcement from the week involved process automation. Rockwell, benefiting from its acquisition of ICS/Triplex, developed and released new tools for designing and implementing safety systems in production applications. These are designed to support Rockwell’s initiatives in the oil & gas industry—particularly upstream applications.