ICONICS looks forward, but keeps an eye on the past
Even if you overlook the cool factor of the 3-D plant floor imaging capabilities of the ICONICS Genesis 64 system, you still have the ability to connect your plant floor and enterprise systems in a seamless, Web-based package.
Even if you overlook the cool factor of the 3-D plant floor imaging capabilities of the ICONICS Genesis 64 system, you still have the ability to connect your plant floor and enterprise systems in a seamless, Web-based package. When ICONICS president Russ Agrusa showed off Genesis 64 at the company’s user group event in Boston in April, he provided both some gee-whiz visuals and some practical knowledge for what plant managers and manufacturing executives face in a receding economy.
“There are big pressures on the plant floor,” said Agrusa. “Studies show 79% of manufacturers need to reduce operating costs. The future of industrial automation is in software.”
The Genesis 64 software is an extension of the ICONICS Genesis series tied to the company’s ongoing partnership with Microsoft. The 64-bit processing technology allows ICONICS software to mesh with the new Microsoft Vista operating system and with business platform to deliver 3-D plant floor visibility and allow fast system start-up time.
“About 70% of the cost of a project is in system engineering. We develop the tools to reduce engineering costs,” he said.
Agrusa was quick to tout the benefits of Genesis 64, and expects the adoption rate of the 64-bit technology to accelerate. But he also told the more than 350 customers on hand that support of the 32-bit processors already in a wide install base would continue to be not just supported, but enhanced through additional expenditures for R&D. “We’re going to continue to grow and support the Genesis 32 systems,” he said.
Agrusa also noted the convergence of industry standards. Genesis 64, for example, is based on the OPC-UA standard that continues to be refined. “We’re seeing the standards groups starting to merge somewhat,” Agrusa said. “It’s a very exciting time for plug-and-play technology.”
The adoption of manufacturing intelligence systems will give manufacturers the ability to build OEE measurements and KPIs into their plant floor systems. “The main thing we’re trying to address is manufacturing intelligence that will enable Lean/Six Sigma tools, OEE and capacity utilization,” he said. “The Aberdeen Group study states that Best-In-Class manufacturers use manufacturing intelligence and apply Lean to their supply chain.”
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.