In the last several weeks there have been two big stories about major manufacturers abandoning robots, reverting to manual labor instead. Boeing struggled with fuselage assembly robots that were supposed to drill and rivet 777 aircraft fuselage sections and will revert to using human machinists instead. Adidas announced it was closing its “Speedfactory” plants in Germany and is moving production back to Asia where it has relied on humans to assemble footwear. Adidas has said that it does plan to introduce some of the Speedfactory technology into its Asian plants in the future. With two large multinational manufacturers seemingly reducing automation, in both low volume (Boeing) and high volume (Adidas) environments it may lead other manufacturers to question whether automation investments are wise at this time. The best way to answer that question is to understand the limits of technology, the organizational readiness to accept technology and assessing how technology will support the business strategy.Read More
Siemens announced on September 16, 2019 that they have agreed to acquire Process Systems Enterprise (PSE) according to Eckard Eberle, CEO of Business Unit Process Automation. Siemens plans to purchase 100 percent of the share capital of PSE and to integrate its business into the Business Unit Process Automation, which is part of Siemens Digital Industries. Siemens has now followed through on their June 2018 long-term collaboration agreement to bring the power of PSE’s gPROMS APM technology to Siemens automation and digitalization offerings for the process industries. Under the original agreement, the companies promised to bring to market a new set of solutions for long-term equipment and health monitoring, soft-sensing, prediction of future process performance, real-time optimization, and operator training incorporating high-fidelity models. The agreement aimed to extend Siemens’ capabilities in the process industries and would result in the close linkage of Comos, Simatic PCS 7 and Simit with PSE’s gPROMS.Read More
Technology has almost always proven most beneficial when it operates within an ecosystem. The adage “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” is especially true in the world of technology. Smartphones have changed the world because they operate within multiple technological ecosystems. If they did not allow phone calls to landlines or to subscribers of other providers, they would be of limited use. Without GPS much of the smartphones value would gone. Bluetooth makes lining the smartphone to other devices easy and provides not only wireless headsets but connectivity to vehicles and other devices. What makes all of this connectivity work? Standards. The same holds true in the industrial automation sector.Read More
On September 9th and 10th of 2019, Operational Sustainability, LLC® held its second Operational Excellence (OE) Conference at the Norris Conference Center at City Centre here in Houston, Texas. Approximately 100 people attended, including partners and industry SMEs. Founder and CEO David Drerup opened the conference keynote with a renewed commitment to serving customers with their OESuite™ of intelligent, real-time decision support and risk management applications that integrate heretofore silos of multiple products. The company is celebrating its 10th year in business. OESuite focuses on the oil & gas, petrochemicals, chemicals, utilities, mining, water / wastewater, and food & beverage markets. They have more than 30 clients, some with 50+ sites.Read More
During our inaugural industrial transformation (IX) event, The IX Event, principal analyst Tom Comstock led a roundtable discussion about IX in regulated industries, focusing on aerospace and defense and life sciences (pharmaceuticals/biotech, medical device, etc.). These industries provide an interesting contrast in approaches to IX, with one leading the way and one trailing.Read More
In mid-September 2019, GE Digital (GED) held its reconstituted User Conference in Austin, Texas. Unlike past Minds & Machines mega-events, this event was smaller and more focused, with approximately 300+ attendees, of which 100 were GED, and the balance being 150+ customers and 45 channel partners from a variety of industries and global locations. GE Digital’s new CEO, Patrick Byrne, keynoted with a renewed commitment to serving customers with deep domain knowledge, long-time asset and process operating experience, digital solutions and services, and the ability to support customers globally. This message seemed well-received as many customers had previously voiced concerns about GE’s viability and continuity in the market.Read More
During our inaugural industrial transformation (IX) event, The IX Event, we hosted dozens of companies that are at different stages in the IX journey. They range from enterprises co-presenting with LNS Research about the successes they've achieved, all the way to industrial organizations trying to figure out how to get started (or in some cases, re-started).
One of the key topics of discussion was “readiness” ― in other words, what separates companies ready for a successful IX journey from those that are destined to stumble? Principal analyst Tom Comstock spoke on this topic and led a roundtable discussion about it.Read More
Our inaugural Industrial Transformation (IX) Event was a refreshing connection for industry executives leading transformation ― from startups to mature journeys, from tissue and drywall to aircraft carriers and submarines. The breadth of IX coverage and insight resonated well among industrial executives and software vendor thought leaders in attendance. Focused roundtable sessions on quality and environment, health, and safety (EHS) packed the room as Quality 4.0 and connected worker topics fostered lively discussions.Read More
The relationship between asset performance and operational performance are well known and pervasive. All too often, however, companies manage them in sub-optimized in silos. Recent discussions with clients clearly reinforced our insight that operating in silos is counter-productive to industrial transformation (IX). It doesn't matter if the company is an asset-intensive business and the most critical metrics are uptime and reliability, or a product-centric manufacturer where quality and efficiency are most critical. If the organization doesn't manage these things holistically, it will lose ground to competitors.Read More
LNS Research recently attended Oracle OpenWorld 2019 in San Francisco. One of the mega technology events for the Golden Gate City, the conference took over all three halls at the Moscone Center and had over 60,000 attendees.
Oracle is now over $40 billion in revenue (2018) with over 137,000 employees; it positions itself as the number one supplier of business software. The company is clearly innovating in many directions. The event covers the two sides of Oracle: Oracle, the technology, and Oracle, the applications vendor. Additionally, the firm has sophisticated positioning for “emerging technologies.” So, let’s examine each, and determine if this means Oracle can finally engage deeply in the plant.Read More