An evolutionary process: Rockwell Automation unveils a broad-based solution platform
The new PlantPAx portfolio systems and solutions platform from Rockwell Automation underscores the vendor’s commitment to developing common systems and solutions umbrellas to deliver even greater market innovation and value to process industry customers.
After several years of acquiring products and building alliances with complementary application providers, Rockwell Automation has developed a coherent strategy for bringing its portfolio of process automation solutions to market.
The plan—which calls for aggregating these solutions under the name PlantPAx systems and solutions—was unveiled at the 17th annual Rockwell Automation Fair taking place in Nashville this week.
“The PlantPAx portfolio is the next step in our commitment to helping customers achieve process automation excellence,” says Steve Eisenbrown, senior VP, automation and software. “It unifies our core capabilities and technologies with those of our leading partners like OSIsoft and Endress+Hauser —as well as recent acquisitions such as Incuity and Pavilion Technologies —under a common systems and solutions umbrellas to provide even greater market innovation and value to process industry customers.”
During Automation Fair, Rockwell laid out plans for continued expansion of the PlantPAx portfolio based on a combination of the two core Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture technologies—Logix platform and FactoryTalk suite—and those leveraged from co-investments with partners and acquired companies. Eisenbron says the PlantPAx process automation system has built strong interest for a range of applications across consumer and resource-based industries.
Key areas highlighted during PlantPAx system presentations at Automation Fair included the following:
• System Engineering;
• Control and Visualization Platforms ;
• Performance and Process Optimization;
• Batch and Sequencing;
• Process Safety and Critical Control;
• Asset Management; and
• Plant Information.
The FactoryTalk HMI is one of the many applications that Rockwell Automation is placing under the umbrella of its PlantPAx systems and solutions platform.
The PlantPAx system road map was set through close collaboration with the company’s process automation customers. Industry analysts say it reflects customer needs.
“A big part of the value proposition to the process industries is driving out the incredible amount of customization that has traditionally been required to make applications communicate with each other from the instrument level through the automation system, operations management, and business systems,” says Larry O’Brien, research director for Process Automation at Dedham, Mass.-based ARC Advisory Group . “Rockwell Automation has come a long way in driving out this customization through a unified suite of applications.… The PlantPAx system is a big evolutionary step forward, and essentially brings all their process expertise together.”
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.