Rockwell Automation Makes Strategic Investment in Momenta Fund

Investment in Momenta Industry 5.0 venture capital fund gives Rockwell early access to innovative technology that promotes resiliency, agility, and sustainability

The first Automation Fair by Rockwell Automation that I attended was in 1997. The last one in 2022. I decided that a trip to Boston was just too expensive with no anticipated financial return on that investment. I also looked at the agenda available at the time and calculated that I could cover the even just as well from the comfort of my home office and local coffee house. And, sure enough, here is the first press release. 

I may rearrange my schedule to watch the keynote livestreams, but keynotes seldom add much to my coverage. If I could have been assured of more interviews, but those are off the table for mere trade media types now. I don’t ask many questions in the canned media events because why give everyone else answers?

Enough of my justifications. Rockwell made a big splash with a huge investment in PTC a few years back. They have since divested. They did pick up some crucial software technology, but  then they acquired Plex and FiiX and plugged a big software hole.

This is another strategic investment with the hopes of picking up early stage technology that may take the company to the next level.

Rockwell Automation, Inc., the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and digital transformation, announced its investment in Momenta’s Industry 5.0 Fund, a venture capital and value creation fund that supports entrepreneurs focused on resilient, sustainable, and human-centric industrial operations, providing Rockwell early access to innovative technology that has the potential to disrupt industrial markets and increase sustainability.

Switzerland-based Momenta launched the $100 million fund in cooperation with the EU Commission to support start-up companies working to advance the Commission’s Industry 5.0 initiative. The initiative highlights research and innovation as drivers for a transition to a sustainable, human-centric, and resilient industry, moving the focus from shareholder value to stakeholder value. It puts people at the center by empowering them with information and technology to make decisions with clarity and confidence. Aimed at early growth-stage innovators driving the digital transformation of energy, manufacturing, smart spaces, and supply chains, the Industry 5.0 Fund will deliver venture capital investment and direct value-creation to entrepreneurs in Europe and North America.

Rockwell is an anchor investor in the fund, and its Venture team will work closely with Momenta and the portfolio companies, offering a wide breadth of expertise and Rockwell’s strategic network. The investment complements Rockwell’s inorganic growth strategy, giving the company insights and access to next-generation technologies driving digital transformation that are still in the early development stage.

Rockwell Automation To Acquire Verve Industrial To Bolster Cybersecurity Offering

Rockwell Automation keeps its acquisition team busy. This announcement reveals an acquisition in the cybersecurity area bolstering the services business part of the company. Before long the services business will be larger than the software & control business. Still trailing the traditional product portfolio, though.

Rockwell Automation Inc., the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and digital transformation, announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Verve Industrial Protection, a cybersecurity software and services company that focuses specifically on industrial environments, expanding the offerings of Rockwell with an industry-leading asset inventory system and vulnerability management solution.

The Verve Security Center platform enables real-time asset inventory, vulnerability management, and risk remediation that will strengthen Rockwell’s current offerings and address these issues.

“The foundation of OT cybersecurity starts with visibility into assets – you can’t protect what you don’t know you have. This continues to be a critical challenge for manufacturers,” said Matt Fordenwalt, Rockwell’s senior vice president, Lifecycle Services. “With the Verve acquisition, our customers can quickly assess their assets, prioritize risk, and apply countermeasures to mitigate vulnerabilities – all within a single platform. The addition of Verve to our suite of solutions allows customers to further build resiliency and continuously improve the security, safety, and availability of their operations.”

The Verve Security Center platform was built to provide IT-level security while addressing the unique challenges of the OT environment. At the center of the Verve platform is an asset inventory system that recognizes all industrial assets, regardless of manufacturer. Verve’s proprietary approach communicates directly with the assets, gathering critical information without impacting network performance and interrupting production. It then aggregates a wide range of data sources, including Rockwell’s partner technologies, into its platform as a “single pane of glass” that provides actionable insight for customers to quickly address their highest risk assets.

Verve professional services also provide ongoing remediation, along with strategic roadmap and business case development, further deepening Rockwell’s cybersecurity consulting capabilities. Going forward, customers will benefit from comprehensive capabilities that span the entire attack continuum with the combined expertise of Verve, Rockwell, and Rockwell’s technology partnerships.

The acquisition is subject to customary approvals and is expected to close in the first quarter of Rockwell’s fiscal year 2024. At close, Verve will report into Rockwell’s Lifecycle Services operating segment.

Emerson Outlines Strategy and Progress in 2022 ESG Report

I have heard executive tell a conference audience two consecutive weeks to take politics out of sustainability discussions. It is simply good business, as well as good for the environment. Here is a release from Emerson detailing its efforts.

Report highlights achievements of greenhouse gas emissions goal, culture evolution and energy transition solutions

Global technology and software company Emerson released its 2022 ESG Report, detailing the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) achievements, impact and continued priorities.

“Our organization has made tremendous progress over the last year, strengthening Emerson’s position as a global automation leader, accelerating our culture evolution and driving innovation,” said Mike Train, Emerson’s chief sustainability officer. “This report shares our achievements and details the pivotal role Emerson plays in the energy transition by helping customers across a variety of industries solve sustainability and decarbonization challenges. We remain committed to prioritizing actions that reduce emissions across our global operations, strengthen the communities we serve and accelerate value creation for all stakeholders.”

The report highlights notable sustainability goals and performance, including:

  • 42% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions intensity from the 2018 baseline, surpassing its original 20% target six years ahead of schedule
  • A- score from CDP
  • Score of 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2022 Corporate Equality Index
  • 2022 “Best Employer for Diversity” by Forbes
  • Approximately 70% of revenue tied to sustainability enabling technologies*

A Manufacturing Investment Supercycle Is Starting

I saw this news in one of my favorite news sources about funding and building new industrial plants in America due to the Investment Reduction Act. Axios is usually pretty good although it does slip into journalism 101 hype at times. At a time when news only wants to promote divisiveness and negativity, here is reason for us in our market to take heart. This news item is written by Neil Irwin. Click the link to read the entire article.

Why it matters: The 2010s were a period of chronic underinvestment. By contrast, now there are billions flooding into large, expensive megaprojects to manufacture batteries, solar cells, semiconductors and much more.

It is fueled by hundreds of billions of dollars allocated by the Biden administration’s signature legislation — the Inflation Reduction Act, Bipartisan Infrastucture Law, and CHIPS and Science Act — as well as pent-up demand.

It implies sustained upward pressure on demand for workers and raw materials for years to come, and makes a recession less likely by creating a floor of activity under normally volatile industries.

What they’re saying: “We believe the U.S. is in the early stages of a manufacturing supercycle,” wrote Joseph P. Quinlan, head of CIO Market Strategy at Merrill and Bank of America Private Bank, in a report this week.

Conversations At Conferences

I don’t travel like I used to. There is no pressure from sales to see and be seen in the faint hope of selling advertising.

However, I will be at Siemens Realize in Las Vegas June 12-15 and Honeywell User Group in Orlando June 19-21. I am curious to find out how people are using all of this technology, what they see with future applications, and perspectives on future job roles and functions.

You can schedule a time by pinging me at [email protected] or just stop me if you see me around. The pictures on the website are a bit dated, but I still pretty much look like them.

Survey Of Digital Investment Intentions

I doesn’t seem like the season. Many companies have completed research projects lately in a number of areas from market size to cyber threats. Once the domain of analyst firms (where I’d pick up some custom research work), now companies are either doing their own or partnering for this research.

This research by Valtech and Copperberg finds current market conditions are shifting manufacturers’ focus toward early value creation for digital investments.

Global business transformation agency Valtech, in collaboration with Copperberg, has released its second annual global research report titled the Voice of Digital Leaders in Manufacturing 2023, which surveyed global B2B digital leaders and decision makers from large industrial manufacturers.

Compared to the results from last year’s report, this year’s findings indicate a shift in manufacturers’ priorities towards digital investment against a backdrop of business disruptions, organizational change challenges, and customer demand for digital transactions. As a result of business strategies evolving, digital maturity and ambition levels have been impacted.

Interestingly, most metrics declined from the year before.

Almost half of the respondents (47%) said they will increase their digital investment budgets by up to 20% in 2023 – a decrease from last year’s 63%.

The number of respondents who increased their digital investment budgets by more than 20% in 2022 has dropped from 20% to 3% in 2023.

When asked about their organization’s digital maturity in building resiliency and improving foundational services, 63% of manufacturers state their digital maturity is on par with their competitors.

While the majority of respondents (59%) described themselves as ambitious regarding digital, just 3% would call themselves a market leader – a significant decline from last year’s 24%.

I find this one not surprising.

Almost a third (31%) of respondents said cultural transformation is the biggest hurdle when it comes to implementing digital strategies.

To download a complimentary copy of the report, please visit here.

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