Some Manufacturing Industry News Links

Here are a few items that I’ve come across plus one where I’m the news (so to speak).

Mark your calendars! The Ignition Community Conference will return to the Harris Center on September 26–28, 2023. Registration will be open soon.

I’ve been asked to present at a Webinar on a new Website–Manufacturing Technology Today. Going Beyond Digital Transformation: The Real Innovations in Manufacturing. Check it out. Register. Heckle me in the chat 😉 April 5, 2023.

Emerson sent an email about its Virtual Exchange–a rerun of its live/virtual event from last October. I wrote about Boundless Automation and other news from the event back then. Check it out for a refresh.

Telit Cinterion Unveils New Branding

This news of Telit rebranding sent my memory back many years to a spinoff company called ILS Technology whose executives would whisk me off to a hotel suite for demos of their connectivity technology. That company was acquired by what eventually became Telit. That company has continued to evolve into applications as diverse as telematics/ asset tracking, EVs, smart utilities, smart cities, security/ surveillance, healthcare and enterprise all related to IoT technology.

A side note: I’ve often pondered this “rebranding” idea. I’ve been involved with a couple of companies who “rebranded”—often accompanied with a two-page letter explaining the name, font, color, logo. Are they covering up something of the past? Or just needed a new identity? At any rate, here is the news from Mobile World Congress.

Telit Cinterion, a global enabler of the intelligent edge, February 27 announced the completion of its global rebranding effort emphasizing the company’s established and rapidly expanding position in the IoT marketplace. Following on the heels of Telit Cinterion’s debut earlier this year, the brand unveiling at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona exemplifies the company’s end-to-end IoT offering serving the world’s largest enterprises, OEMs, system integrators and service providers. 

Telit Cinterion’s new branding encapsulates the company’s vision of enabling a new era of hyper-connectivity, where everything is seamlessly and securely networked, with full orchestration of edge and cloud data. Harnessing invisible intelligence, Telit Cinterion maps data points spanning numerous industries including transportation, education, medicine, energy, and security — to solve business problems efficiently and securely.

More Thoughts On Emerson and NI plus Last Newsletter

My last newsletter coming from the ARC Forum of February 6-9. Sign up for newsletters by clicking on the envelop icon on the website or clicking here.

The annual ARC Industry Forum was last week. It was great to catch up with many people I have not seen for a while. Attendance was good considering there is now a Forum in Europe as well as Asia. Many do not have to travel so far. Attendees were energetic in the initial receptions and the conference tracks I attended attracted interest and questions.

I always have many meetings during the event. Sometimes more information is gleaned in hallway conversations, though.


There were several conversations regarding the pending Emerson acquisition of NI. My first reaction was somewhat negative thinking from an automation point of view. Emerson, duh, is a conglomerate. In order to grow, it requires acquisitions. Organic growth will not yield the growth Wall Street seeks. This acquisition would add markets and adjacent growth to Emerson’s current businesses. It has recently divested several business units, which must be replaced in its portfolio in order to sustain growth.

NI has restructured a couple of times over the past several years and now has a structure that would allow business units to be separated and perhaps even sold to provide funds for the acquisition. 

I’ve worked for a few conglomerates in my career. Sometimes they leave the business units alone to pursue their businesses without too much interference from the “suits” from corporate. Trust me, that’ll only last as long as profits are rolling in. Been there, done that!


Search has become increasingly frustrating. Some many companies use SEO that results after page 2 often are just repeats of page 1. I’m seldom surprised by search anymore.

Microsoft thinks the “large language models” of AI like GPT that it invested in will totally change search. Google countered with its Bard, which failed miserably in its debut demo. But GPT isn’t all that good either. An article in the MIT Technology Review pointed to many mistakes that it makes.

Something else to think about—Google and followers gave a list of links to a query. It didn’t point to a definitive answer. It gave you more options. GPT spits out a paragraph of text, which may or may not make sense. This sounds like a definitive answer, rather than a list of suggestions. That has implications for future generations using search.

It is not over, yet.


One hallway conversation I had was with Mark Fondl. When I first became an editor, he was a vice president of an automation technology provider. We had many meetings where he extolled the virtues of Ethernet in automation.  I recalled several of my early podcasts explaining Ethernet. They still are downloaded after 15 years. Here they are:

Paul Wacker interview on Ethernet from 2007

Paul Wacker follow up for more on Ethernet from 2007

A third Paul Wacker interview on Ethernet from 2008

Two other podcast interviews I did with Rockwell on safety are still downloaded:

Interview with Rockwell Automation on machine safety

Follow up interview with Rockwell Automation on functional safety

Inductive Automation (who sponsors this newsletter and my website and podcasts) is 20 years old. Here is an interview I did with two early employees from 2011.

Interview with Inductive Automation 2011

And I have a new podcast recently released focusing on Twitter, AI, and Video.


I’m an avid learner and practitioner of fitness and nutrition. I recently came across this newsletter from Arnold Schwarzenegger called Pulse Daily.

Schneider Electric Launches Digital Transformation Services

My first digital transformation project in manufacturing was in 1978. We had an IBM Series 3 minicomputer. I procured (leased) a set of programs from IBM. There were classes and other training. I remember a trip to New York City. We put all current engineering data on that little machine (not nearly as powerful as the thing in my lap that I’m typing on). Then…the market tanked, the company was sold, the president was fired by the corporate overlords, the new president fired my boss the vice president, the new vice president fired me (stuff runs down hill).

But they couldn’t take away the learning.

That’s why I look with prejudiced eye at the marketing and analyst aspect of today’s articles on digital transformation. We’ve been at it for a long time.

On the other hand—

  • Compute platforms grow ever more powerful
  • Databases become ever better servants of our data needs
  • Organizations grow to incorporate new digital realities

New products and services that help end users get better at this digital journey provide needed support. Aside from hype, these are good. 

At the ARC Industry Leadership Forum in Orlando February 6-9 this year, I had a chance to listen to people from Schneider Electric describe their new offering. I’m sure many customers will find it quite useful.

  • Industrial Digital Transformation Consulting and Deployment Service 
  • Specialized end-to-end service to accelerate successful digital transformation strategic planning and implementation for industrial businesses 
  • Sustainability, industrial performance, digital operations, and energy management experts to drive transformation at enterprise and local levels 

Industrial Digital Transformation Services offering is designed to help industrial enterprises achieve future-ready, innovative, sustainable, and effective end-to-end digital transformation. (OK, that was the marketing hype.)

The targeted benefits include:

  • operational efficiency and workforce empowerment 
  • sustainability and energy efficiency 
  • asset optimization 
  • cybersecurity

And, I’ll close by giving you a quote from the organization leader:

“Successful industrial digital transformation requires a global vision that is agile enough to support local needs,” said Marc Fromager, SVP Industrial Automation Services, Schneider Electric. “Successful programs encompass efficiency, sustainability, and employee empowerment, underpinned by robust cybersecurity. What elevates Schneider Electric is our unmatched combination of digital transformation experience across a myriad of industries, supported by our world-leading energy management and automation technology and software—all delivered by local experts with the full backing of our global teams.” 

Interact Analysis Market Research Shows US Up, APAC Steady

Many research firms send news releases. Most have suspect (to me) research methodology. I only had one grad school seminar and a couple of statistics classes, but I’ve also gathered considerable experience. So, my BS sensor is usually pretty good. After a couple of conversations with Interact Analysis CEO Adrian Lloyd, I have a comfort level with how they approach these studies.

This study of global manufacturing industry growth in 2022 shows:

  • Global manufacturing industry growth reached 3.8%
  • Machinery sector growth outperformed manufacturing in 2022.
  • Americas region to grow by 3.1% in 2023.
  • Germany and the UK experiencing significant challenges in current economic climate.

Adrian Lloyd, CEO at Interact Analysis, adds, “The COVID-19 pandemic has had an undoubted impact on the world and many regions, especially China, are still suffering from the aftereffects. This, coupled with rising interest rates, inflation and supply chain constraints, have created the perfect storm. In Europe, the UK and Germany are perhaps suffering the most and this is expected to continue for the next few years. The situation in the US seems to be a little rosier, where growth in 2022 reached 8.7% for manufacturing, and 12% for machinery production overall.”

New Open Marketplace for Manufacturing Applications

Partnerships, collaborations, consortia constitute the theme of this era of technology. Siemens sent this item about a joint venture  called Cofinity-X formed to foster the adoption of the Catena-X network. What are these, you may ask. Well…

  • Cofinity-X aims to operate an open marketplace for applications and provide products and services to enable the efficient and secure exchange of data between all participants of the ecosystem initially focusing on the European market.
  • Cofinity-X will help to make important progress with the operationalization and build-up of end-to-end data-chains to trace material flows throughout the entire value chain.
  • Basis for the operation will be the trusted Catena-X and Gaia-X principles ensuring full data sovereignty for data sharing parties in an open, trusted, collaborative, and secure environment.

Cofinity-X founders are BASF, BMW Group, Henkel, Mercedes-Benz, SAP, Schaeffler, Siemens, T-Systems, Volkswagen and ZF.

Here is more detailed explanation.

Future customers will be able to access applications and services to implement use-cases in the automotive value chain such as CO2 and ESG monitoring, Traceability, Circular Economy or Business Partner Data Management: 

  • Approaches for decarbonization:  Carbon Footprint Tracking solutions enable concise, accurate calculation and reporting of CO2 values along the value chain. This will allow Cofinity-X customers to stay ahead in Carbon Footprint transparency and derive potential sustainability improvements to play an active role in the global effort to reach net-zero.
  • Consistent and reliable traceability: Tracing parts and components at any time throughout the entire supply chain starting with raw material and closing the loop with recycled parts. Traceability applications can give the possibility to display the entire value chain and help to find ways to increase supply-chain resilience.
  • Circular economy for a sustainable value chain: The recycling of materials is an ever-increasing topic of importance within the automotive industry. The information about the condition of components can be transparently displayed among suppliers and customers to properly re-use parts and components. By implementing circular economy, companies can improve the ratio of recyclable materials in their products and reduce waste.
  • Intelligent Business Partner Data Management (BPDM): Companies invest significant resources to keep customer and supplier data up to date. The BPDM services of Cofinity-X cleans and enriches business partner data across the automotive industry. Customers of Cofinity-X thus can benefit from sorted, analyzed, uncluttered, and enriched partner data.
  • Collaboration between suppliers and customers throughout the automotive value chain: “Increasing requirements to trace all materials throughout the entire value chain is one of the key factors Cofinity-X is built on. We will be an important part of a rapidly scaling ecosystem in which all companies in the automotive value chain can participate equally. Therefore, our product offering will initiate end-to-end data chains as well as generate value for all the participants.” Alexander Schleicher, Managing Director Cofinity-X

A product offering built to drive acceptance and adoption of small- and medium sized enterprises: End-to-end data chains can only be created if all parties are willing to collaborate. Most of the companies in the automotive value chain are small and medium-sized enterprises. Cofinity-X will offer an easy and fast onboarding for these key players. Cofinity-X will build a portfolio around four key product and service offerings. The first products and services will be available from the end of April 2023.

  • Open Marketplace aspires to enable the efficient “matchmaking” of network participants by creating an optimal environment for business applications which customers can implement. All applications offered will be compliant with the Catena-X and GAIA-X data exchange principles.
  • Data Exchange between parties will be based on sovereign, secure and standardized principles without forcing a lock-in effect to certain solutions. Every partner will stay in full control of their own data.
  • Federated and Shared Services will power the business applications offered on the marketplace and enable data exchange in an interoperable open-source approach ensuring added value for each customer.
  • Onboarding Services will foster the adoption of the Catena-X ecosystem and accelerate the digital connection of automotive partners in every step of the value chain to the ecosystem. 

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