Rockwell puts focus on plant floor at its annual Automation Fair
Under the theme, “Smart, Safe and Sustainable Manufacturing,” Rockwell Automation’s annual Automation Fair in Anaheim in November offered more than 9,000 attendees the opportunity to see the newest technologies and solutions available to help improve plant-wide optimization, machine-builder performance and sustainable production.
“Our goal this year is to help customers make the most of their investment in automation and information technology, improve their competitiveness and make sure they are well-positioned to capitalize on the economic recovery,” said Keith Nosbusch, Rockwell Automation chairman and CEO.
“Plant-wide optimization represents a new era in manufacturing. Companies making the investment are better-positioned to address new sustainability objectives and respond to changes in consumer demand,” Nosbusch said.
On Nov. 10, Nosbusch and executives from other industry organizations spoke at the company’s annual Manufacturing Perspectives global media forum. In his opening remarks Nosbusch pointed to the shift in manufacturing “from an IT-connected manufacturing system to an optimized plant floor and supply chain network. The plant floor is where power, control and information converge. The factory floor becomes the focal point.”
Nosbusch said Rockwell’s goal is to have 60% of its business outside the U.S. by 2013. He noted that more than half of Rockwell Automation’s employees are outside of the U.S. While some commentators view this as “off-shoring” jobs, Jeremy Leonard of the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI noted that there is good off-shoring and bad off-shoring.
“Most of the off-shoring is the former,” Leonard said. “The vast majority of expansion in emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil is to serve the local and regional markets.”
He added that transportation costs have driven many manufacturers away from simply off-shoring jobs and production because of the increasing costs of getting those products back into the supply chain.