We keep touting manufacturing jobs in America. An electronics assembly company has announced another plant in the US. When a process automation company lands a contract with a customer, it sends a press release touting the fact. But in process industries, the amount of the contract can be significant.

I seldom see one in discrete manufacturing.

On the heels of the Taiwanese manufacturer known as Foxconn announcing plans to perhaps build an assembly plant in Wisconsin, local automation supplier Rockwell Automation announces a partnership.

Main Point: This may be the most significant release I’ve ever seen from Rockwell. Not in terms of business value. Read this carefully and tell me where there is a product mentioned! This encompasses two things–one is workforce development and training. The second thing is a strategy. Sure, there will be products involved probably. But Connected Enterprise sounds more strategic, more consultative. This is decidedly not one of those things where we’ll cut you a deal if you buy 5,000 PLCs.

Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I’m thinking this signals a direction shift under new CEO Blake Moret. Could be interesting times.

Downside: However, my research on Foxconn and America reveals a pattern of big announcements followed by little activity. For the people of rural Wisconsin, I hope this time they follow through.

News: Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., also known as Foxconn, and Rockwell Automation announced July 28, 2017, that they are collaborating to implement Connected Enterprise and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) concepts for smart manufacturing in Foxconn’s new U.S. facilities.

The companies will also collaborate to develop and apply Smart Manufacturing solutions at Foxconn’s global electronics assembly operations and within the related industry ecosystem. Technologies and extensive domain expertise of both companies will be combined to deliver a state-of-the-art manufacturing system with unparalleled levels of operational efficiency.

Terry Guo, Foxconn chairman and CEO, said, “I am very excited about the opportunity for Foxconn and Rockwell Automation to work together. Foxconn is the global leader in electronics design manufacturing, and Rockwell Automation is the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information. I am confident that together we will increase operational efficiencies in electronics manufacturing to new levels, achieving the vision of Smart Manufacturing and Made in China 2025.”

The companies will also work together on workforce development and training. Specifically, as Foxconn increases its employee base in the United States, it has committed to participate in the previously announced program developed by Rockwell Automation and ManpowerGroup to upskill military veterans and create a pool of certified talent for in-demand advanced manufacturing roles across the United States.

Blake Moret, Rockwell Automation president and CEO added, “We are excited about the opportunity to work with a global technology and manufacturing leader to deliver advanced IIoT solutions to the electronics manufacturing industry. Our work with Foxconn will further demonstrate the power and broad applicability of The Connected Enterprise. We are also pleased that Foxconn shares our commitment to expanding and upskilling the U.S. workforce to ensure there is the necessary talent for advanced manufacturing roles.”


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