Siemens sees acceleration in global markets
In announcing the completion of the reorganization of its new Industry division and a new name for its line of motors at the SPS Show in Nuremburg, Germany, Siemens officials turned their focus on driving customer efficiency through its product offerings.
The motors line will now be called Simotics and will rebrand the company’s range of motors across all applications. “Productivity gains for our customers in plant engineering and operation today are achieved essentially as a result of IT-based interlinking between control and drive components,” said Ralf-Michael Franke, CEO of the Drive Technologies Division in a prepared statement prior to Tuesday’s press conference at SPS.
“IT penetration in industry will continue to grow. In view of our customers’ growing product and plant complexity, IT-based support of engineering processes is, and remains, the most important productivity lever,” said Eckard Eberle, head of the Industrial Automation System Business Unit.
A key aspect of this IT-based support is network and system security – an issue brought into sharp focus earlier this year with the Stuxnet industrial virus. “It is important to perceive IT security in industry not as a product characteristic which customers can buy off the shelf, but rather as an ongoing process which is defined in consultation with the plant operator and needs to be constantly reviewed,” said Eberle. “As a leading automation provider we take industrial security very seriously and make every effort to enhance the security of our products even further while also increasing customer IT security awareness.”
“Industrial security is something we take seriously. It’s not just products, but also solutions.
Industrial security is not a product that can be purchased. Industrial security is an ongoing process,” said Eberle. “It’s plant security, it’s IT security and it’s access security. We have a great responsibility to drive the issue forward. The human factor is very important. We’re working with customers and accounts, developing an overall and encompassing security system.”
Franke said that now that Siemens is realigned, the company will focus on helping customers achieve network alignment. “Seamless integration is becoming more important. This is something that does not stop at the drive train,” he said. “Where we have a seamless collaboration, the availability of machines is more transparent. At end of the day, this will make for better profitability, additional revenue for our customers. And that’s what we’re there for. We don’t sell a motor, we don’t sell controls. We sell productivity for our customers.”
Eberle pointed to the construction of a new automated manufacturing plant in Chengdu, China, as an example of the company’s commitment to manufacturing on a global basis, and on the growing market share for automation in China. The plant will produce the Simantic product line on a platform that is identical to Siemens’ Amburg, Germany, plant that just won a European award for manufacturing excellence.
With 20% growth for Siemens’ worldwide business in 2010 and a reasonable level of optimism for 2011, company officials indicated they have seen no direct signs that things will cool off any time soon. “We’re all a bit cautious,” Franke said. “If there is a slump, we’ll be prepared, but there’s no indication of a slump. The growth rates of the last two years will flatten out. The worldwide business is not showing any sign of slowing down, contrary to what we see in the [general] press. We’ll keep foot on the accelerator unless we see other signs.”
– Bob Vavra is content manager, CFE Media
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