This is the longest I have gone without posting in many years. It has been a busy week around the Manufacturing Connection office, though. I have been assigning soccer officials to games for 33 years. There were more schedule changes, injuries, and dropped games than any previous year. Not to mention several cases of Covid taking referees out for up to three weeks. Today is the last day of my season, so it’s back to normal. Further sign of back to normal comes from using my United and Marriott apps to book a trip to Houston for Rockwell Automation’s Automation Fair. I will be down there November 9-11. If you’re there, ping me. Perhaps we can meet for a coffee or something and some conversation.

Naturally, much news accumulated. Following are some snippets of information. I will follow up with more detailed essays next week.

Schneider Electric Innovation Summit

Schneider Electric held a world-wide Innovation Summit in October. The company’s overall focus seems to be electrical power. But it has a significant automation portfolio. The Summit theme was Powering The Digital Economy and CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire discussed the many benefits of digitalization. Spokespeople discussed four new offers.

Under the broad theme of Efficiency Chief Marketing Officer Chris Leong discussed  Automation Expert. This universal automation solution actually launched last year. It “breaks dependency of hardware and software” with its virtualized controller. Leong noted that the IT world has recognized this architecture for years; it is time for the operations world to adopt.

Under the broad theme of Resiliency, she introduced SmartUPS the Ultra 5Kw. It comes in a 2u form factor with a lighter weight than previous models.

With the broad theme of Sustainability, Leong introduced RM Air Set Medium voltage switches. These gas insulated switches are insulated with pure air and include a small footprint. Also introduced were solutions for electric vehicles. EcoStruxure for emobility includes electric vehicle charger system called pro charger. Also included are Charging Expert that varies charging depending upon time and energy usage, EV Advisor, a cloud based monitor and control of a fleet of chargers.

Emerson Acquires AspenTech, Sort Of

Emerson and AspenTech announced that the companies have entered into a definitive agreement to contribute Emerson’s industrial software businesses – OSI Inc. and the Geological Simulation Software business – to AspenTech creating a new company called New AspenTech.  

The transaction accelerates Emerson’s software investment strategy as the company continues to build a higher growth, more diversified and sustainable portfolio, by creating an industrial software company with immediate scale and relevancy. Emerson expects the usual synergies (which realistically never materialize) and flexibility to strategically deploy capital for growth. Software businesses have different financials than hardware ones, and this financial structure may help Emerson in the way a similar financial structure has helped Schneider Electric with AVEVA. New AspenTech will be fully consolidated into Emerson financials and is expected to be accretive to adjusted EPS after year one.

Time Sensitive Networking

Things have been quiet in the Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) area for some time. So, it is refreshing to see the results of some activity. Avnu Alliance announced globally-scaled testing capabilities and a comprehensive update of its certification testing procedures at newly authorized, commercial test houses around the world. This advanced global certification program will streamline certification testing of devices with Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) capabilities, including devices implementing the Milan network protocol (using TSN) for professional media, making testing easier and more convenient for Avnu members around the world. 

Blockchain–A New Look

Blockchain has been highly touted as a useful technology for tracking transactions, supply chain, and even IoT. It failed to live up to expectations. In October, I talked with David Iseminger Founder and CEO, Upheaval LLC and developer of Ironweave blockchain. This new technology holds promise for fulfilling blockchain application in manufacturing. This new blockchain technology was built to scale ensuring business continuity, efficient collaboration, and meeting regulatory compliance with automated data creation. Its strength lies in technology that its data is immutable, locked by multiple hashes in each block. It allows millions of interactions per second, and it requires no risky or volatile coins. Finally, each block is independently encrypted with unique keys, it is immune to ransomware, its multiple backups are immediate and automatic, and it allows blocks of any size, any data from small IoT updates to medical images.

Dell Technologies at the Edge

And a few bullet points from Dell Technologies I have lifted from a press release. I once talked with Dell people when they developed the Edge Gateway and had an IoT group. That group has long since dispersed. Everyone I knew is gone except for two who moved into other groups. But, the company still provide some products at the edge.

  • Dell EMC VxRail satellite nodes extend automation and lifecycle management capabilities to smallest configuration to date for edge workloads 
  • Dell Technologies Validated Design for Manufacturing Edge with Litmus helps manufacturers make quick decisions to improve quality and reduce costs 
  • Dell EMC Edge Gateway connects multiple edge devices across operational technology and IT environments to deliver real-time data insights 
  • Dell EMC Streaming Data Platform optimizes GPUs to ingest streaming video and supports real-time analytics on Dell EMC VxRail and PowerEdge systems 
  • Dell Latitude Rugged laptops can withstand harsh edge environments while maintaining high levels of performance and connectivity 
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