From the Ridiculous to the More Ridiculous

So, the court system is now tied up by a law suit about what a chicken wing is. [Disclaimer: I have not eaten poultry since I was about five. I have no personal experience.] It seems a guy visited Buffalo Wild Wings. He ordered their “boneless chicken wings.” They were not wings, he exclaimed, they are nothing but chicken nuggets.

So, he sued.

Silicon Valley is filled with ultra-wealthy “libertarian tech bros.” They don’t need government. Just leave us alone with our money. One of these is Jason Calacanis. I used to listen to his podcasts years ago, but I grew tired. By the way, this same Jason is one of his friend Elon Musk’s advisors on how to fire most of the people at Twitter.

But then a big “oops” in Silicon Valley. The favored bank of these investors got itself into trouble and looked to be tanking. I read a post from that same Calacanis—the government must step in and save our bank.

So all the kids who were duped into over-priced university “educations” should pay back their debts to the very last dime. But we billionaires should be bailed out by the government.

Take your pick on your politics. I don’t care. Only that you don’t just knee-jerk someone else’s opinion. But, when things turn around to bite you in the butt, remember this old folk wisdom:

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

New Entrants In Smart Conveyance Market

While I’m compiling my thoughts from last week’s ARC Industry Forum, I’m taking a look at some earlier news. This news comes from Tim Dawson, senior research director at Interact Analysis. This firm performs market research more closely aligned with what I’d like to see.

This news relates to smart conveyance technology. The current market leaders are Beckhoff Automation and Rockwell Automation. 

Dawson offers this broad picture of the market:

Since the majority of smart conveyance technology vendors are headquartered in Europe, EMEA was the largest market in 2020, registering a total market value of around $100 million. Closely following behind was Asia Pacific ($84 million) and the Americas ($50 million). Despite being second historically, the APAC market is set to surpass EMEA during 2023, as linear smart conveyance technology gains traction in the region. By 2026, the APAC smart conveyance technology market is anticipated to be worth $450 million, ahead of $350 million for EMEA and $185 million for the Americas. The market is set to quadruple in size between 2020 and 2026 with a CAGR of 26.5%.

The point of his research concerned new entrants into the market who just might disrupt things a bit. The new entrants include:

  • In October 2021, Schneider Electric entered the market with the launch of its Lexium MC12 multi-carrier system. Schneider is the largest vendor to have launched a linear smart conveyance product post 2020.
  • Motor Power Company is another new entrant who recently unveiled the Independent Linear Synchronous Motors (ILSM) product. The solution is fully customizable and is stated to be compatible with any company’s PLC, making the new product attractive to users.
  • Bosch Rexroth launched a new planar smart conveyance technology system ctrlX FLOW6D, which incorporates free-floating transport systems to allow for high-performance transportation and freedom of movement. Planar systems can offer extreme flexibility (beyond the capability of linear systems) and can work overhead, horizontally or vertically.

This is interesting technology with applications in several market verticals. It will be enlightening to see where the market is by the end of 2023.

Research Reports Reveal IoT Cyber Risks Plus Value of Manufacturing

ABI Reasearch sent the results of a couple of research studies last month. I’m still catching up on an unusual amount of news. One report is on the value of manufacturing to the world’s economy. The other relates to Cyberattack risks relative to the growth of Internet of Things (IoT) connections.

Cyberattack Risks to IP Rich Data Double as Manufacturing IoT Connections Grow at a CAGR of 53% by 2026

Intellectual Property (IP) theft, including industrial trade secrets, is one of the costliest security breaches costing the U.S. economy, which is between US$225 billion and US$600 billion annually. Most IP forms are stored as IP-rich data via digital mediums, including cloud platforms, servers, and laptops. 

ABI Research, a global technology intelligence firm, forecasts that manufacturing Internet of Things (IoT) connections will increase by a CAGR of 53% globally, significantly expanding the vector of attack to obtain IP-rich data. While this is a potential opportunity for cybersecurity vendors, they must explicitly showcase that their usual IT/OT solutions can also help protect IP. Vendors that provide Identity and Access Management (IAM) or those providing encryption services contribute to IP security but need to emphasize that IP security is embedded in their solutions. 

Protecting sensitive data is a primary strategy for protecting IP. Protecting data can be achieved by identifying, managing access, and encrypting sensitive data.  

These findings are from ABI Research’s Industrial Data Security: Protecting Intellectual Property application analysis report. This report is part of the company’s Industrial Cybersecurity research service, which includes research, data, and analyst insights. Based on extensive primary interviews, Application Analysis reports present an in-depth analysis of key market trends and factors for a specific technology.

Industrial and Manufacturing Contributed US$16 Trillion Worth of Value to the Worldwide Economy in 2021

According to a new global technology intelligence firm ABI Research report, the world manufacturing value add rose by around 20% from 2020 to 2021 to reach more than US$16 trillion.

The largest manufacturing companies globally remain a mix of petroleum refining, mining, electronics, and automotive. However, nine out of the ten biggest factories in the world are automotive manufacturing plants, notably the Volkswagen Wolfsburg Plant, Hyundai’s Ulsan Factory, and Kia’s Hwaseong Plant. In fact, five of the top ten plants are Kia factories. 

Despite this, the automotive market is not dominant in digital transformation expenditure. Interestingly, in the United States, out of the six CAPEX spends measured (machinery and equipment, computers and peripheral data processing equipment, software purchases, data processing, and other purchased computer services, communications services, and professional and technical services), the automotive industry was only the top spender for three of these. 

The other three were dominated by the chemical manufacturing industry, where Dow, Exxon Mobile Chemical, and Dupont are some of the largest players. However, the largest difference in spend did belong to automotive, with its data processing and other computer services coming in 469% higher than the closest second spend.

These findings are from ABI Research’s 2022 Manufacturing Market Data report. This report is part of the company’s Industrial and Manufacturing Technologies research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Market Data spreadsheets are composed of deep data, market share analysis, and highly segmented, service-specific forecasts to provide detailed insight into where opportunities lie.

Changes For Automation Trade Shows

We have two movements on the automation trade show front that are interesting. IMTS, the International Manufacturing Technology Show and formerly the International Machine Tool Show, is a huge event held in September every other year. Some time ago, organizers added an automation segment partnering with the company behind Hannover Messe.

This automation show was given a few aisles in the East Hall. The first year is was only a couple of aisles, but even this year there were not that many exhibitors. They were mostly German automation suppliers. 

The Hannover Messe group pulled out of IMTS  after the last event. It has announced the formation of a new annual show that will be held in Indianapolis in October. IMTS, meanwhile, has filled the open automation slot with a joint venture of AMT and Mesago Messe Frankfurt.

The new Hannover Messe event.

Industrial Transformation USA in 2023. The organizers of Hannover Messe USA have announced the event will be rebranded as Industrial Transformation USA and held annually, beginning in October, 2023 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. 

“Our exhibiting companies have been telling us they want to get in front of their customers more frequently (annually) for a number of years,” said Ed Nichols, CEO of Industrial Transformation USA.  “Our focus groups at HANNOVER MESSE USA 2022 demonstrate that our attendees, primarily OT, also want to meet more frequently and bring more members of their team.”

Industrial Transformation USA joins the Industrial Transformation brands currently serving Mexico and Asia-Pacific. Industrial Transformation USA will be built from the Operational Technology (OT) user perspective, engaging a Board of industry professionals that will guide the development of the events format and content.​​​​

Filling the opening at IMTS are AMT and Mesago, Messe Frankfurt

Two of the global manufacturing industry’s premier organizations, AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology and Mesago, a subsidiary of Messe Frankfurt Group, announced a collaboration to create the Automation Sector at IMTS – The International Manufacturing Technology Show in 2024, and SPS – Smart Production Solutions in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2025.

The Automation Sector at IMTS and SPS – Smart Production Solutions in Atlanta will be held in alternate years, and both events will be supported by Gardner Business Media (GBM), the leading publisher for manufacturing in North America.

IMTS 2024 runs Sept. 9-14 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois.

SPS – Smart Production Solutions will be held Sept. 23-25, 2025, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. The inaugural event will host exhibits from simple sensors to intelligent solutions, from what is feasible today to the vision of a fully digitalized industrial world.

The Atlanta event is an expansion of the SPS – Smart Production Solutions trade show held annually in Nuremberg, Germany. It is Europe’s leading trade fair for digital industrial solutions. SPS 2022 attracted 44,000 visitors and featured about 1.2 million square feet of gross exhibition space and 1,000 exhibitors involved in advanced automation solutions.

Mesago Messe Frankfurt also produces SPS fairs in China, Italy, and the Middle East, as well as events focusing on electronic assemblies, intelligent motion, and additive manufacturing.

Emerson On Another Major Acquisition Hunt

My phone exploded yesterday afternoon with news. Emerson initiating a hostile takeover fight for NI (formerly National Instruments). Right now the figure on the table is $7.6 billion. According to my scanning of the news from a number of outlets, NI is developing a “poison pill” to avoid the takeover.

That latter makes sense to me. NI stopped emphasizing automation applications of its technology several years ago. News sources said Emerson was interested in NI’s test technology and “technology stack”.  In other words, Emerson would strip NI of what makes the company unique, suck up some technology, probably devalue LabView since it’s not compatible to Emerson’s control technology.

I don’t see the value here, just like I didn’t think the attempted takeover of Rockwell Automation a few years ago made sense. I thought there was no way Emerson could merge the Rockwell culture into its own. Maybe Emerson thinks the industry is still consolidating and that would be a gigantic consolidation?

NI’s market is not Emerson’s market. I’m not even sure it is adjacent, exactly. How much would this assist the drive toward industry consolidation? Where would this help in the global competition toward size among ABB, Schneider Electric, and Siemens?

Is this action just another example of corporate hubris of which we’ve seen plenty in the past decades?

We’ll see how this dance ends. I’d personally hate to see NI go away. I’ve always liked the company’s culture of technology and innovation. And great people. Not that I have anything against Emerson. But I don’t see the $7 billion in benefits resulting from the acquisition. I did tell a CEO whom I was interviewing yesterday, though, “I am not a financial analyst.” I am a student of strategy. Wonder where this strategy will lead.

ARC Advisory Group Again Acknowledges ABB as Global DCS Market Leader

In the “I’m not surprised” category, the ARC Advisory Group conducts market studies in the industrial and manufacturing market. For the 23rd consecutive year it has calculated ABB as the global DCS market share leader.

In a Distributed Control System market worth more than $15 billion, the official ARC Advisory Group report confirms that ABB has maintained its number one position with a leading share of 19%, as it continues to support the acceleration of digital transformation across industry. 

The report highlights energy transition and sustainability as key growth drivers for ABB. Growth also came for ABB thanks to the upturn in DCS segments across the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology which was generated by continued external investment in vaccines and medications. 

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