Yesterday was the media/analyst kick-off for the 28th Automation Fair event sponsored by Rockwell Automation. Piecing together information from my 1:1 interviews and presentations to the group, major themes for the week seem to be importance of partnerships, open connectivity, and historical OT expertise. Although Rockwell has made a few acquisitions, executives all emphasized the importance of partnerships for filling out the portfolio.
Rockwell Automation continues to show good growth in sales and profits. This week will set an attendance record with almost 20,000 attendees expected.
Rockwell and Accenture
Rockwell Automation and Accenture’s Industry X.0 announced plans to team up to develop a digital offering to help industrial clients move beyond existing manufacturing solutions to transform their entire connected enterprise.
The engagement is designed to capitalize on the expertise of both companies to deliver new capabilities for greater industrial supply chain optimization. By providing customers with a single, trusted provider of digital solutions, the collaboration will enable clients to more effectively leverage the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and ultimately drive measurable growth outcomes.
To date, the collaboration has yielded, among other early-stage successes, a prototype for supply chain management designed to deliver supplier cost optimization and an improved ability to track the exact movements of products – two particularly important areas of investment for industrial companies seeking growth.
“Our customers are looking for measurable business outcomes when they invest in our software, products, and solutions. Together with Accenture, we will be able to help industrial companies quantify the financial benefits of their investment and to capture this value at speed and scale,” said Blake Moret, Rockwell Automation Chairman and CEO. “By teaming up, we reduce complexity, reduce risk, and achieve better results with comprehensive enterprise-wide expertise.”
Rockwell Automation will provide industrial automation technology and domain expertise, including FactoryTalk InnovationSuite IIoT software, and analytics solutions. It will also bring network services, operational technology security, and application development, installation, integration and support.
Accenture will provide enterprise business and technical capabilities, including consulting, analytics, application development, systems integration, change management and support.
Rockwell Automation and ANSYS
Industrial companies now have access to a streamlined, holistic, end-to-end solution for design, automation, production and lifecycle management, thanks to a new strategic partnership between Rockwell Automation and ANSYS, a leader in simulation software.
ANSYS and Rockwell Automation will help customers design simulation-based digital twins of products, processes, or manufacturing. Historically manufacturers would dedicate time and money to develop and test physical product prototypes. Now customers can design and test through simulation to accelerate development and analysis, improving product quality, and reducing testing time across their organization.
Virtual simulation on the front-end of production is just one way customers save time and money. Co-innovation between Rockwell Automation and ANSYS allows customers to benefit through the entire digital thread. Once a machine or production line is running, manufacturers can create a digital twin of their full manufacturing process to create and test virtual “what-if” scenarios. This is crucial in the industrial space, where manufacturers need to change line configurations quickly to adjust to market demands. Now customers can understand an outcome without disrupting physical assets, resulting in faster time-to-market and large cost savings.
The partners believe in what these joint solutions can deliver. In fact, Rockwell Automation will accelerate its own internal new product and process development using ANSYS’ engineering simulation software. Rockwell Automation expects improved product quality and reduced testing time across the organization.
Digital Partner Program
Businesses that are digitally transforming their operations need an ecosystem of partners that can help them simplify technology deployments and quickly achieve goals like higher productivity. The new Rockwell Automation Digital Partner Program connects companies to expertise and solutions from market leaders like Accenture, Microsoft, PTC, ANSYS, and EPLAN to streamline the implementation and enhance the quality of digital initiatives.
Through the Digital Partner Program, businesses can consult with industry advisors to create roadmaps for their digital initiatives and learn how industrial IoT concepts like digital twin, the factory of the future and a connected workforce can improve their uptime and efficiency. During implementation, businesses will have access to integrated hardware, software and turnkey systems from industry leaders that improve business performance leveraging their existing assets.
Upcoming PlantPAx DCS System Release
From the control room to the board room, process system users face persistent challenges. Traditional and proprietary DCS systems are limited in their ability to modernize, which introduces risks and costs. Keeping equipment online can be difficult with limited system capabilities. Driving business improvements can be complicated and costly without access to key information.
The latest release of the PlantPAx distributed control system (DCS) was announced at the Process Solutions User Group (PSUG) event emphasizing each phase of the plant lifecycle. The release is planned for the summer of 2020.
This release introduces state-of-the-art process controllers that improve scalability and skid integration as well as provide a simplified, low-cost architecture due to higher controller performance. Embedded native process objects help reduce engineering costs and drive consistency in projects. New cybersecurity capabilities and system certifications help ensure safer and more secure operation.
“We have listened to a wide range of customers, including members of our customer advisory board, who identified the key issues driving their lifecycle costs,” said Jim Winter, director, Global Process Business, Rockwell Automation. “With PlantPAx 5.0, we extended the capability of our modern DCS approach and added innovative capabilities to deliver a smarter, higher performance, more cost effective, future-proofed system.”
Here is a little bit of merger and acquisition activity of interest. One involving industrial cybersecurity; the other IT-oriented. Owl Cyber Defense and Tresys are coming together. I have been anticipating some consolidation in that space. Lots of startups. Can’t be that much business. In the other Dell Technologies appears to be rationalizing its organizational and investing complexity.
Tresys and Owl Cyber Defense to merge
Tresys Technology was recently acquired by DC Capital Partners, a private equity firm, and placed in a common holding company with Owl Cyber Defense. “The intention is to merge the two companies in the coming months, creating what we believe is the number one boundary security product and services company in the world. To both of us, nothing makes more strategic sense than this combination, and with DC Capital’s support we will be exploring additional strategic acquisitions to broaden our investment in innovation, geographies, and vertical markets. While we will continue to operate as separate businesses in the short term, over the coming months we will work on merging all operations and we will keep you fully apprised of those changes.”
Further from the message I received, “What does this mean for you? Both companies are fully committed to customer service excellence. You will continue to have access to our industry leading expertise in technology services and support; to help you select, configure, customize, maintain, and accredit solutions for any network separation issue. With our new ownership, there is a commitment to grow our international presence and resources, while markedly increasing the investment in R&D and integration services. You can expect to see an acceleration in the development and availability of new technologies, with deeper absorption of specific business use cases.”
The current plan with our investors is for Robert Stalick, CEO of Tresys, to lead the merged company. Michael Timan, CEO of Owl Cyber Defense, will continue to actively work alongside Bob in developing the vision, applying diligent process focus, and maintaining the sales and services engagement excellence for which we strive. “Our shared goal is nothing less than defining the future of network boundary security technology for the coming decades.”
VMware To Acquire all outstanding shares of Pivotal
I saw this story on Launch Ticker newsletter from CNBC.
Pivotal Software surges after VMware says it’s in talks to acquire the company.
- VMware contributed to the formation of Pivotal in 2013.
- Pivotal stock has fallen 66% in the past year.
Pivotal shares rose as much as 72% premarket Thursday August 15 after VMware said Wednesday it’s proceeding with an agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of Pivotal’s class A stock at $15 per share in cash, an 80.7% premium on Pivotal’s $8.30 closing price.
VMware also said in a regulatory filing that it has requested that Dell exchange all outstanding shares of Pivotal’s class B stock, other than class B Pivotal shares owned by VMware, for Class A VMware stock. Dell controlled almost 81% of VMware’s outstanding common stock and more than 97% of the combined voting power of VMware’s outstanding stock as of May 3. Dell and Pivotal are negotiating an exchange ratio for the shares.
The transaction could contribute to the further diversification of VMware, which has moved to collaborate with cloud infrastructure providers like Amazon in order to enable existing customers to run their computing workloads in whatever environment they like.
Shares of Pivotal have declined 66% in the past year. On June 5 Pivotal stock declined 41% after the company issued guidance that was below what analysts were expecting.
Pivotal went public in April 2018. VMware and DellEMC both contributed assets when Pivotal was established in 2013.
As a result of an agreement with Dell, VMware is the selling agent for certain Pivotal products, such that VMware collects cash that is then remitted to Pivotal, net of a contractual agency fee. As of May 3, VMware had a 16% financial interest in Pivotal and a 24% voting interest in the company.
In a statement of its own, Pivotal said on Wednesday that although it is in talks with VMware about a “potential business combination,” an agreement has not been made.
Senior leadership among leading automation companies has been regularly shifting during the past few years. ABB, Emerson Automation, GE Digital, Honeywell Process, Rockwell Automation have all experienced changes. Sometimes a few.
ABB’s board evidently didn’t like the direction former GE executive Joe Hogan was taking the company and looked closer to home to bring in Ulrich Spiesshofer. He accomplished some massive restructuring, but apparently his results did not match the expectations of the board, so he was replaced by Board Chair Peter Voser.
In today’s announcement, the Board of ABB has unanimously appointed Björn Rosengren, as Chief Executive Officer. He will join ABB on February 1, 2020 and succeed CEO, Peter Voser, in this role on March 1, 2020. At that time Peter Voser will revert to his position at ABB solely as Chairman of the Board.
Björn Rosengren (60), a Swedish citizen, is a highly experienced, international executive and leader of industrial businesses. He has been the CEO of Sandvik, a high-tech global engineering group, since 2015. During this time, he has overseen the successful implementation of a decentralized structure and improved both the profitability and financial strength of Sandvik. Prior to that, he was CEO of Wärtsilä Corporation, which manufactures and services power sources and other equipment for the marine and energy markets (2011-2015) and spent some thirteen years (1998-2011) in a variety of management roles at Atlas Copco, a world leading provider of sustainable productivity solutions.
“The Board is pleased that Björn Rosengren will be taking the lead at ABB, bringing with him a proven track record of value creation and exactly the managerial skills ABB needs during the next stage of its transformation,” said ABB Chairman and current CEO, Peter Voser. “After undertaking a thorough search, the Board is convinced that Björn Rosengren is the best candidate for the role. He understands how to establish successful decentralized organizations, empower people and demonstrates the culture of cooperation and high performance. Together with our strong management team, he will drive ABB’s strategy and deliver long-term value to all our stakeholders.”
CEO-designate, Björn Rosengren, said: “I am honored to have the opportunity to join ABB, a truly global technology leader, after I have completed my current commitments. At such a pivotal time for manufacturing industries, ABB must continue to best serve the needs of global customers with a unique technology and digital solutions portfolio to help enhance their productivity. I look forward to working with my new colleagues around the globe to enhance value through the delivery of the group strategy and fully empowering our businesses and people.”
Short take: OSIsoft appoints Michael Siemer President and Wolfgang Kuchen Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing revamping the senior management ranks.
OSIsoft, a leader in data technology for critical operations, recently announced these new appointments. I had thought that the transition from founder Pat Kennedy to his daughter running the operations was well under way. But Kennedy took on some VC investments a couple of years ago [https://themanufacturingconnection.com/2017/06/osisoft-announces-softbank-investment-fund-internet-things-infrastructure-growth/]and I’m betting that the investors were looking for experienced leadership to grow their investment.
Siemer, an energy industry veteran with extensive experience in leveraging software technologies to transform complex industrial operations, comes to OSIsoft from Devon Energy Corporation, a North American oil exploration and production company, where he served as Vice President of Engineering, Exploration and Production, Data and Analytics. Siemer led many enterprise-wide digital transformation efforts at Devon, including initiatives around field automation, data management, advanced analytics, decision support and strategic innovation. Prior to Devon, Siemer worked at SandRidge Energy, a startup E&P energy company, and prior to SandRidge he was employed for 18 years with 3M/Imation.
Kuchen, meanwhile, brings more than 20 years of experience providing financial, strategic and operational leadership in challenging business environments. Most recently, he served as President of Allergy Research Group (ARG), a Kikkoman portfolio company in the healthcare professional market. Prior to ARG, he was responsible for the growth and acquisition strategy at Soho Flordis International, a global healthcare company based in Australia.
Both Siemer and Kuchen will also serve on OSIsoft’s newly formed Executive Committee. Siemer will officially begin on September 1, 2019 while Kuchen will begin on August 1, 2019.
“Customer satisfaction has always been one of our most important principles at OSIsoft so we are very excited to bring in executives like Michael and Wolfgang who have experience in the type of digital transformation initiatives that many of our customers are starting to implement,” said Dr. J. Patrick Kennedy, CEO and founder of OSIsoft. “They will play a pivotal role in our growth as we enter a new decade.”
39 Years of Digital Transformation
Founded in 1980, OSIsoft has consistently been focused on software that lets people collect, understand and use data from critical operations, i.e. data generated by the production lines, safety equipment, power grids, and other systems that are at the foundation of their success. OSIsoft’s PI Systems acts as a data infrastructure, enabling individuals from across an organization to quickly obtain real-time insights into operations to save costs, increase productivity, develop new products or extend their capital investments.
OSIsoft customers have used PI System technology to predict wind turbine failures, increase output at a mine site by $120 million, reduce the power consumption of a supercomputer center at a national laboratory, deliver water services to millions of new customers in a major metropolitan city, boost the fuel efficiency of cruise ships and improve the quality and consistency of beer, among other accomplishments.
Over 1,000 leading utilities, 80% of the world’s largest oil and gas companies and 65% of the industrial companies in the Fortune 500 rely the PI System in their operations. Worldwide, over 2 billion sensor-based data streams are managed by the PI System.
“It is an honor to join OSIsoft. The company has long been recognized as a leader in industrial innovation and a critical partner for improving the performance of real-time operations,” Siemer said. “OSIsoft has earned an admirable level of trust with its customer base through technology-leading software and a genuine and consistent emphasis on service and support. My own experiences as a customer of OSIsoft are a big part of why I’m here. I look forward to working with the team and expanding upon the success they’ve achieved.”
“Data is the foundation of digital transformation and OSIsoft’s PI System is the gold standard for turning system data into an asset that people can use to make better decisions, improve their competitiveness and get the most out of their operations,” said Kuchen. “The impact of the PI System is set to expand rapidly.”
Last November I visited TÜV Rheinland where we were briefed on its progress on cybersecurity services. It is a well known testing and service agency in Europe with the same reputation in general as UL in the US. I once served on a UL Industry Advisory Group for one of its standards where I got a good view of the value of testing and certification as a value to companies as well as consumers.
TÜV Rheinland has announced expanded Customized Services coverage to North America, now making these services available worldwide. Featuring its Supply Chain Audit, TÜV Rheinland’s customized services enable companies to demonstrate they are good corporate citizens by showing transparency and responsibility regarding their business practices and employees, while reducing risk, increasing brand value and providing a competitive advantage in the market.
TÜV Rheinland has been delivering Supply Chain Audit Services across the globe for many years, and is bringing these services to North America now as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become a more important part of companies’ business strategy. Increasingly consumers are holding brands accountable for not only how they create and deliver a safe product, but also for employee conditions and overall impact on the environment. With expanded supply chains, growing international production and trade connections, supply chain audits are a critical tool for ensuring compliance on a wide range of points including labor, safety, environment, social and ethics.
“Customers have countless options for procuring their goods. And especially when a customer enters a business relationship with a company that has a global supply chain, it is hard to ensure that the products are of high quality and have been manufactured under fair working conditions,” explained Frank Dorssers, Global Field Manager for Customized Services at TÜV Rheinland. “In these instances, supply chain or social audits create transparency and compel suppliers to disclose critical information, creating trust between the business, their partners and the customer.”
Audits vary in scope based on the sector and company, but often assess a company’s responsible sourcing practices across the supply chain and analyse compliance with Labor Laws, Environmental Sustainability, Business Ethics, as well as Health & Safety Management Systems. Specific risks by industry may also be addressed, such as hazardous chemical management in the printing and dyeing industry. Audit results provide actionable insights that companies can undertake to ensure their business practices meet the CSR and HSE (Health, Safety, Environment) goals they have set for themselves as well as mandates.
I’ve been off for most of the past week celebrating Independence Day and family birthdays. For those of you in the US, I hope you had a restful time off and enjoyed some fireworks displays. And now, back to what’s happening in the industrial world.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) comprises far more than just the simple connecting of devices back to a database in a server. It’s integral to digitalization. Applying abundance thinking to the system, clearly IIoT plays a key role for successful business transformation.
The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has produced the IIoT Maturity Assessment, a web-based tool included in the IIC Resource Hub that enables users to better understand their enterprise IIoT maturity. The IIoT Maturity Assessment helps organizations become best-practice adopters of IIoT by guiding business managers through a range of questions about the adoption, usage and governance of IIoT within their organizations.
“The IIoT market has grown quickly and many businesses planned strategy while in the midst of execution and need to step back and assess their true IIoT maturity,” said Jim Morrish, Co-Chair of the IIC’s Business Strategy and Solution Lifecycle Working Group and co-author of the IIoT Maturity Assessment tool. “The IIoT Maturity Assessment will help companies get a baseline for their maturity right now and assess it in regular intervals to track their progress.”
This framework of four main dimensions and their corresponding strands will spur your thinking into broader areas beyond predictive maintenance or cost reduction programs.
- Business model innovation and refinement
Business Solution Lifecycle
- Interface to business strategy
- In service monitoring and feedback
- Reference architecture and standards
- Data location transparency
“There’s a real difference between using IIoT to streamline processes and using it to create new revenue streams or make better business decisions,” said Ian Hughes, Senior Analyst, Internet of Things, 451 Research. “A tool like this can be a real eye opener for an organization wanting to transform their business to remain competitive and increase profits.”
The IIoT Maturity Assessment considers 63 individual capabilities, each with five levels of maturity within the above framework. For example, under strategic context, a maturity level can range from a limited number of key individuals having stepped up to IIoT ownership to full ownership of IIoT within an organization. The IIoT Maturity Assessment provides feedback about the level of maturity and highlights areas that may require development.
The final outputs provided to users also provide links to the IIC Body of Knowledge for reference and to help improve their maturity. This includes collaborative resources developed by industry leaders from the IIC membership, including IIC foundational documents (Industrial Internet Reference Architecture, Industrial Internet Security Framework, Industrial Internet Connectivity Framework, Business Strategy and Innovation Framework, Industrial Internet of Things Analytics Framework, and Vocabulary Technical Report) and other IIC documents and tools.
The IIoT Maturity Assessment is available in three levels of analysis: Quick, Standard (both open to everyone) and Detailed (IIC members only).