Times have changed for vendors like Rockwell Automation, and in my previous blog, I spoke a little about that change and how we are embracing it. In this blog, as we look ahead to what’s in store in 2019 for Irish industry, I’d like to take a closer look at technology, and explain a little more about how Rockwell Automation approaches its role in helping customers adopt IIoT and Industry 4.0 solutions in Ireland.
When I am at events across Ireland, it is obvious to me that industrial leaders have bought into the concept of The Connected Enterprise. Often, customers come to us and say – we need a Connected Enterprise, we’ve set up a Tiger Team on site, we know that it’s the future, what’s next? Do we go all in? Do we start with a pilot project?
We believe it’s about getting the recipe right. We don’t walk in, look at what is in place, and say, “you’ll have to replace everything.” We don’t get over-excited by the opportunity to sell products. We look at the right dosage of technology in the right areas that can start delivering ROI and set the course for continuous improvement in Industry 4.0.
Increasingly, our responsibility to our customers as a trusted partner means that we must apply our expertise to help them with the specific issues that they face.
In Ireland we have a real shortage of resources. That plays out in a variety of ways – most significantly, it might mean that Rockwell Automation brings many of the skills and experience required to implement new technologies.
But depending on where the skills shortages are felt most keenly, it may also mean that the types of technologies or approaches adopted are ones where their implementation can bridge skills gaps for the customer.
In 2019 we’re really excited about how our new strategic alliance with PTC will offer products that do exactly this, such as a new software tool powered by PTC, a company we invested in during 2018.
It can accelerate digital transformation strategies for greater productivity through simplification of complex processes in industrial businesses. It works through intuitive, user friendly interfaces that don’t necessarily rely on extensive on-site IT capabilities to bring together data from the plant floor and the IT layer and perform automated advanced analytics.
These analytics are built in and come without the need for extensive data scientist skills within the business. And it does these things while also opening the applications it works with augmented reality capabilities. For example, it might allow for remote support of maintenance and control – as well as offering the efficiency of the right information in a heads-up display, relating directly to the equipment being viewed.
What’s particularly exciting for Ireland about this kind of technology application is that it is equally well positioned to be adopted by existing manufacturing and process industries, as it is by the exciting new breed of industrial start-ups that we are becoming known for – particularly in the medical device field.
The reason is that this kind of physical-digital paradigm works in the other direction too. This technology can be used to reduce the huge expense and time involved in design and prototyping of products, parts and even manufacturing, by creating and testing in digital form before full prototyping.
One thing is clear to me as I look ahead to 2019 and beyond: the time for technology is here. That makes it a very exciting time to work for Rockwell Automation.
If you have any predictions for the year ahead, or want to talk about your own industry 4.0 journey, get in touch.