Rockwell Automation TechED 2018: Empowering customers amid complexity
“We’re at an inflection point. It’s an opportunity for all of us to make a difference.” – Joseph Sousa, President for Rockwell Automation Asia Pacific, speaking at the company’s annual TechED™ training event.
With these words, we opened this year’s TechED™ event, where 400 customers, PartnerNetwork™ partners and staff came together in search of information and inspiration to adapt faster and smarter to competitive challenges.
A key theme of the event, held at the Australian Technology Park, was how we have reached a pivotal moment in the transition to smarter manufacturing. Scott Wooldridge, Managing Director for Rockwell Automation Australia and New Zealand, told attendees we’re at a technological tipping point where availability, demand and falling costs are creating enormous opportunity.
On the exhibition floor, John Watts, Marketing Director for Rockwell Automation Asia Pacific, explained how TechED's value lies in how it gives customers and PartnerNetwork™ partners the chance to experience firsthand the latest technology that will help to enable these opportunities. Among the new technologies from Rockwell Automation showcased were Flex 5000 and PanelView 5000.
“It’s about making sure our customers and PartnerNetwork™ partners have the chance to understand what’s happening with our technology, especially right now when there’s so much change in the big data and analytics space,” Watts said. “They’re interested to find out about the direction we’re going in and how they can apply that.”
Watts is seeing a trend towards clients wanting to learn from how those in other sectors are innovating to solve common problems. Around a quarter of those in attendance at TechED™ 2018 were from the food and beverage industry, with the remainder coming from mining and the metals sector. The exhibition area at the three-day event offered them a chance
to network with each other and meet the company’s PartnerNetwork™ partners.
“In the past, if you were a dairy customer you didn’t want to know about mining. Now people are looking for that new edge,” Watts said.
Michael Liberatore, Business Unit Manager for NHP, the sole distributorfor Rockwell Automation in Australia and the South Pacific, said that as more companies try to get more out of their facilities and data, a skills gap is emerging. In an interview on the exhibition floor, he explained why TechED™ is considered part of the solution to this reality.
“That gap is what we’re trying to address here today. Education is the most powerful form of marketing and TechED™ is giving customers the right forum and tools to get educated and inspired. It also offers an opportunity to network with experts in the field.”
Among the educational experiences on offer at TechED™:
• Foundation educational sessions including Logix 5000, Networks and Security, FactoryTalk® View and PlantPAx®.
• More hardware labs than ever before, providing hands-on experience on the latest equipment, including ControlLogix® 5580, compute module, FLEX 5000™, PanelView™ 5000, and MAB.
• Safety sessions proved to be particularly popular, including those covering evolving standards and designing smart motor control centres (MCCs).
• Insight into the FactoryTalk® Analytics offering in a variety of sessions covering machines, devices, applications, and enterprise.
Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork™ partners represented at the conference included Cisco Systems, Stratus Technologies, Apex Dynamics, HMS Industrial Networks and Panduit. Keith Pereira, Solutions Engineer with Cisco, also a conference sponsor, said that as industrial systems become more complex, with increasing opportunities to get data out
of the system and the environment in which it operates, TechED™ is providing a place where customers can learn more about the full potential of automation technology to enhance how they do business.
“The value for us here is to meet customers from Rockwell Automation, understand their specific challenges and help Rockwell Automation come up with solutions to address those challenges. There’s a language barrier sometimes – we speak information technology, and they speak operational technology. We’re closing that gap,” Pereira said.
Chris Riddell, a renowned futurist and former Chief Digital Officer for Mars, used his conference keynote to warn that the time to act on this digital potential is now. Pointing out how technology is already reshaping our lives – how we relate to each other, move about our cities and look after our health – Riddell said we mustn’t subscribe to thinking our technologically defined futures are ahead of us.
“We’ve got to keep up with this relentless pace of change that’s redefining our future. If anyone tries to tell you it’s about to start, you say ‘It’s already here’,” said Riddell.
While an unprecedented collision of what’s real and what’s digital makes for volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous times – it’s also exciting, said the futurist. Artificial intelligence will help extend human capabilities, while the Internet of Things will enable us to reinvent and restore trust.
By blending human intelligence with technology and finding what’s applicable within the latest consumer tech trends, Riddell said businesses can create “unimaginable experiences” for customers who are increasingly calling for tailored, on-demand products and services. Enterprises must tap into this if they’re to remain relevant.
A collision of industries, PartnerNetwork™ partners, education and technology, TechED™ is helping to do just this. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about attending TechED™ 2019, or to find out how the Rockwell Automation suite of automation products are supporting the next wave of productivity, efficiency and innovation across manufacturing, resources and other industries.
Control Design Readers Award Rockwell Automation 21 First Place Finishes
The results are in from Control Design’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards: Rockwell Automation was named a top company in 40 categories and placed first in 21 categories, the most out of any company. Winners are selected by Control Design readers who submit their first, second and third preferences in different categories, including control, hardware, motion, networking, safety, sensing and software.
The winning categories for Rockwell Automation include: motion controller; programmable automation controller; programmable logic controller; embedded computer system; operator interface; power supply; relay; stack light tower; industrial electric motor drive; servo motor; motor starter; input/output systems; machine-mount input/output; machine safety components; programmable safety controller; safety network components; safety relay; encoder/resolver measurement; integrated development platform software; software, motion control; software, plc programming.
Automation Fair Event Returns to Philadelphia
The 2018 Automation Fair® event, taking place November 14-15 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will offer the latest in control, power and IT/OT technologies and trends for industrial automation that are driving innovation. Automation industry professionals from around the world will gather for the industry’s premier event showcasing the latest trends, sharing current best practices and offering hands-on educational opportunities. When the Automation Fair event was last held in Philadelphia, smart manufacturing was still in its infancy. Now, big data and The Connected Enterprise have taken a strong hold as more manufacturers see the benefits such technology offers: faster time to market, asset optimization, lower total cost of ownership and mitigating risk.
Visitors will see the latest control system network infrastructure based on standard, unmodified EtherNet/IP™, safety, power and information technologies that support The Connected Enterprise. In more than 90 sessions, including forums, technical sessions and hands-on labs — all offered for free — Rockwell Automation specialists, partners, customers and other industry professionals will share what they’ve learned — industrial solutions that provide working data capital for better collaboration and more profitable decisions across enterprises and supply chains.
The Process Solutions User Group (PSUG) event will be held just before the Automation Fair event, November 12-13, with more than 800 professionals from diverse process industries worldwide. This year’s event offers 10 hands-on labs, 30 technical sessions and more than 25 customer application sessions showcasing real results using the process solutions available from Rockwell Automation. Learn more at www.psug.rockwellautomation.com.
Visit www.automationfair.com for registration information, or contact your local Rockwell Automation representative.