Category Archives: Walt Boyes’ Blog

Rockwell’s PSUG-The Plant PAx Roadmap

My tweets from Monday afternoon’s roadmap session at PSUG:

Mon, 13:07: Chris Dornan and Jason Wight provide the PlantPAx roadmap— #ROKPSUG

Mon, 13:09: We are members of a secret society called the International Society of Automation #ROKPSUG (why is ISA not a bigge… https://t.co/qVDQhDQLyR

Mon, 13:11: #ROKPSUG Plant PAx 4.5 releases this coming summer.

Mon, 13:13: Kris Dornan begins the deep dive #ROKPSUG https://t.co/uuCPKArFSh

Mon, 13:14: SMART— #ROKPSUG https://t.co/SQ5cONPCoS

Mon, 13:16: New Standard Control Panels #ROKPSUG https://t.co/rLjmKbacHu

Mon, 13:17: Intelligent Packaged Power — #ROKPSUG https://t.co/QOB1PRQ78V

Mon, 13:18: Server consolidation — #ROKPSUG https://t.co/Co9r84LY3e

Mon, 13:21: Redundant PASS server enhancements; DTM support of Ehernet/IP Devices; updated function block diagram editor https://t.co/bSb9BcPg0K

Mon, 13:23: Mod sheet size online — #ROKPSUG https://t.co/VEPoMLEPBh

Mon, 13:24: Productive! https://t.co/gpcCsPiUkX

Mon, 13:27: New productivity tools #rokpsug https://t.co/oCt4pUKbiG

Mon, 13:30: New faceplates; trending integration with alarms; PI Asset framework for process objects — #rokpsug https://t.co/ZcFPISAGQR

Mon, 13:38: More productivity tools— thinmanager integration; mobile alarming interface; updated batch visualization #rokpsug https://t.co/npi1SXaFEQ

Mon, 13:41: Protected— area based security; PRP network support; Redundant communications —#ROKPSUG https://t.co/LhV5C80yPj

Mon, 13:45: And we’ll come fix it for you! #ROKPSUG https://t.co/voCmk9VAQs

Mon, 13:48: “Don’t YOU worry about it! #ROKPSUG https://t.co/pRbxwTC6pC

Mon, 14:10: Rockwell’s new entrant in the I/O sweepstakes. They call it the standard configured panel. #rokpsug https://t.co/ddOdv8yONf

Insiderlogo3 If you like reporting like this, with no advertising and no slant, subscribe to the INSIDER at www.spitzerandboyes.com/insider.

The Trouble With Top Management

In this month’s Control magazine, Greg McMillan interviews Walt Boyes and Joy Ward from Spitzer and Boyes LLC on the problems with top management who are not technically trained. We talk about why the automation industry is different.

Read it here:
https://www.controlglobal.com/articles/2017/the-trouble-with-top-management/

Subscribe to the INSIDER at http://www.spitzerandboyes.com/insider

Rockwell’s PSUG 2017 Kicks Off in Houston!

My tweets from this morning’s PSUG general session:
Mon, 10:37: #ROKPSUG 860 attendees this year. The baby done growed up!
Mon, 10:40: Steve Pulsifer kicks off PSUG https://t.co/kVbjYMckhc
Mon, 10:41: Jim Winter keynotes #ROKPSUG by talking about the connected enterprise.
Mon, 10:42: #ROKPSUG The connected enterprise… https://t.co/GKLzMH7UsZ
Mon, 10:44: #ROKPSUG Enabling IIoT https://t.co/W4sbxiFvii
Mon, 10:47: #ROKPSUG Rockwell calls it the modern DCS https://t.co/4ViiWzHTds
Mon, 10:53: #ROKPSUG Jim Winter says “the cookie demo” is back this yea!
Mon, 10:57: #ROKPSUG John Genovesi speaks!
Mon, 10:58: #ROKPSUG applause for the victims and volunteers of Houston Strong
Mon, 11:01: Genovesi says that Pavilion and Execution (Maverick) businesses did double digit growth…
Mon, 11:03: #ROKPSUG why are digital initiatives important? https://t.co/RiWR7A0Fs9
Mon, 11:06: #ROKPSUG The Connected Enterprise Customer Outcomes https://t.co/xOqsEcKCqB
Mon, 11:08: RT @ManufacturingGL: Despite struggling early in the year, UK #manufacturing sector showing signs of revival https://t.co/RlxKPaIdlq https…
Mon, 11:12: #ROKPSUG https://t.co/9jc1pVkmzG
Mon, 11:15: FactoryTalk Analytics https://t.co/UiVHsdd4kZ
Mon, 11:16: #ROKPSUG Value Streams https://t.co/qcuRvLA4T7
Mon, 11:19: #ROKPSUG Introducing Project Scio—
Mon, 11:21: Project SCIO #ROKPSUG https://t.co/skIkvRlev4
Mon, 11:22: RT @CraigDResnick: #ROKPSUG @ROKAutomation @AutomationFair #Analytics must be #scalable provide #value #Streams #operational #productuvity…
Mon, 11:32: #ROKPSUG iBio CEO Barry Holtz talks about iBio gene sequencing and manufacturing.
Mon, 11:33: Plant production facility- iBio COMO #ROKPSUG https://t.co/uW1DtIUoZU

Rajabahadur V. Arcot on the Battle for OT/IT Dominance

Insiderlogo3This would have been the October article from Rajabahadur V. Arcot

The Battle for OT / IT dominance

By Rajabahadur V. Arcot

The future holds the promise of the dawn of a new industrial era and the convergence of Operational Technology and Information Technology will hugely impact manufacturing companies. In order to differentiate the existing from the emerging systems & solutions and to highlight the importance of OT and IT convergence, new acronyms are getting coined. What we call as automation systems, DCS, PLC, SCADA and such others and enterprise solutions which include ERP, SCM, CRM, EAM and similar others are labeled respectively as Operational Technology (OT) & Information Technology (IT). According to numerous survey reports that appear periodically, many of the manufacturing companies are looking forward to benefit for OT / IT convergence and are highly optimistic that it will make them truly real-time information driven organizations and secure their future in the emerging industrial era- Industry 4.0.

Production and business operations of manufacturing companies have always been driven by information both from the shop-floor and top-floor. Initially, they deployed instruments to generate shop-floor information and top-floor transactional information was mostly generated offline. Manufacturing companies’ ability to create value to their shareholders, while ensuring customer satisfaction in the emerging era of manufacturing, depends on their ability to tightly couple the operations of all their value chain partners comprising of numerous part / sub-assembly / raw material suppliers, design associates, service providers and such others. It will become extremely important for them to ensure that, on one hand, all their production and business decisions are based on holistic and integrated real-time information and, on the other that they work collaboratively.

The fact that manufacturing operations have become more complex & competitive pressures have increased and the realization that their success depends entirely on becoming truly information driven, make industrial firms demand not only real-time data from the production and business operations, suppliers, customers, and such others, but also want them integrated and analyzed so as to derive holistic information. The recent rapid technological developments such as those relating to internet of things, artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics, cloud computing, & Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), and OT & IT convergence, make it possible for multiple sources of data to be connected and large amount of data from them to be collected and analyzed holistically on a common platform.

Until now, manufacturing companies invested in OT to manage production floor operations while ensuring plant’s safe, efficient, and automated functioning and IT comprising of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), Product Design Management (PDM), Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), and such others to assist enterprise level decision making. Often automation systems and enterprise solutions are procured from best-of-the-class suppliers and their integration required significant investments in terms of costs and time.
Information collection & their display and control of important production operations became integral part of manufacturing companies many decades ago. Suppliers of automation systems, such as Honeywell, Yokogawa, and Rockwell, realizing the power of computer and communication technologies, as they evolved, in data collection, transmission, and processing capabilities responded to the needs of the manufacturing industries and introduced of programmable logic controllers, distributed control systems, safety instrumented systems, electronic transmitters, and similar others that extensively rely on computer and communication technologies. Later they developed communication protocols that further enhanced the role of automation systems. Some of the leading suppliers of enterprise solutions are SAP, Oracle, and IBM and they also leveraged the power of computer and communication technologies.

Automation systems and enterprise solutions evolved separately at different points of time and respectively addressed the informational needs of plant floor and top floor. The business models of the suppliers of automation systems and enterprise solutions differ significantly and their offerings are designed and engineered to meet different functional and operational needs. Even the way automation systems and enterprise solutions are specified, budgeted, and procured differ fundamentally. While, in the case of OT their safe operation and availability are most important, in the case of IT data confidentiality is more important than system availability.

A new breed of companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, IBM, and Cisco Systems, which in recent years have emerged as the leading technology firms of the world, have strong competencies in technologies associated with Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics, and cloud computing. Seeing tremendous growth and monetization opportunities, leading technology firms are making large investments and establishing new centers of excellence to develop and demonstrate their competencies. They are emerging as strong challengers to the traditional OT and IT suppliers and often are seen taking initiatives to emerge as dominant players the in OT / IT domain. They have already started offering OT/IT platforms / infrastructure such as Azure (Microsoft), Watson (IBM), Alexa (Amazon), DeepMind (Alphabet), and such others.
Who will succeed and emerge as leading suppliers, what will the architecture of their offerings and the open standards they will follow are questions that await answers. May be, mega mergers and acquisitions are the way-out and probably are in the making; or we may have to watch for the success of collaboration agreements, such as the one between ABB and IBM. Yet another way out may be for the push to come from the end users. One such example is the ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company’s forward looking initiative. It has entered into an agreement with Lockheed Martin to serve as a system integrator in the early stage development of new architecture for the next-generation open and secure automation systems for process industries. They intend sharing the details of the new architecture resulting from their efforts with OT players. Interesting developments and mind games are on and it is difficult to predict how it will play out and who will emerge winners.


Rajabahadur V. Arcot is an Independent Industry Analyst / Columnist and Business Consultant with around 40 years of senior managerial experience. He has held C-level executive positions in leading companies, such as Honeywell, Thermax, Bells Controls an affiliate of Foxboro / Invensys, Electronics Corporation of India Limited and Instrumentation Limited. Until recently, he was responsible for ARC Advisory Group’s business operations in India. He writes industry and technology trend articles, market research reports, case studies, white papers, and automation & manufacturing IT insights. He is the representative in India for Spitzer and Boyes LLC.

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Computer Crash Takes Out October INSIDER

Insiderlogo3As a result of a normal upgrade of Windows 10, the computer on which we make the INSIDER has suffered a catastrophic failure. According to the repair shop, it isn’t worth repairing, so they are taking the data off for us. It will take about a week to get the data back, and so we have decided to produce an October/November issue at the end of November.

But we’d like to try something different.

Over the next week or so, we are going to post some of the articles that would be in the October issue of the INSIDER on this blog, on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, for everyone to read, whether you are a subscriber or not.

If you find that you like what you’ll be seeing, you can become a subscriber by visiting http://www.spitzerandboyes.com/insider. Individual subscriptions are quite reasonable, and large company subscriptions that allow circulation to all within the company are also available.

If you’d like to talk to us, use this form:
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We hope you like what you’ll see.

ABB Doubles Down on Electric Business-Buys GE Industrial Solutions

ABB appears to be signalling that electrification is more important to them than anything else, including manufacturing and process automation. And GE is divesting itself of one of its historical core competencies and businesses. Read the press release:

ABB today announced the acquisition of GE Industrial Solutions, GE’s global electrification solutions business. GE Industrial Solutions has deep customer relationships in more than 100 countries and an established installed base with strong roots in North America, ABB’s biggest market. GE Industrial Solutions is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and has about 13,500 employees around the world. In 2016, GE Industrial Solutions had revenues of approximately $2.7 billion, with an operational EBITDA margin of approximately 8 percent1 and an operational EBITA margin of approximately 6 percent1. ABB will acquire GE Industrial Solutions for $2.6 billion; the transaction will be operationally accretive in year one. ABB expects to realize approximately $200 million of annual cost synergies in year five, which will be key in bringing GE Industrial Solutions to peer performance. As part of the transaction and overall value creation, ABB and GE have agreed to establish a long-term, strategic supply relationship for GE Industrial Solutions products and ABB products that GE sources today.

“With GE Industrial Solutions, we strengthen our Number 2 position in electrification globally and expand our access to the attractive North American market,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “Combined with the long-term strategic supply relationship with GE, this transaction creates significant value for our shareholders.”

He added: “Together with the GE Industrial Solutions team, we will execute our well-established plans in a disciplined way to bring this business as part of the global ABB family back to peer performance. With this next step of active portfolio management, we continue to shift ABB’s center of gravity, in line with our Next Level strategy, by strengthening competitiveness, mainly in the North American market, and lowering risk with an early-cycle business.”

“This combination brings together two global businesses with a broad complement of electrical protection and distribution assets,” said John Flannery, CEO of GE. “ABB values our people, domain expertise, and our ability to operate in the segments where we have depth and experience. GE will also benefit through an expanded strategic supply relationship with ABB as the two companies work together.”

GE Industrial Solutions will be integrated into ABB’s Electrification Products (EP) division, resulting in a unique global portfolio and very comprehensive offering for North American and global customers. They will benefit from ABB’s innovative technologies and the ABB AbilityTM digital offering coupled with GE Industrial Solutions’ complementary solutions and market access. Included in the acquisition is a long-term right to use the GE brand. ABB will retain the GE Industrial Solutions management team and build upon its experienced sales force. After closing, this transaction will have an initial dampening effect to EP’s operational EBITA margin. ABB commits to returning EP to its target margin corridor of 15-19 percent during 2020.

Tarak Mehta, President of ABB’s EP division, said: “This acquisition strengthens our position as partner of choice for electrification globally and in North America. We look forward to working with GE Industrial Solutions’ and ABB’s customers and channel partners to create new opportunities in this highly attractive core market for our division. We have a clear integration plan to realize the synergies of this combination and to bring our combined business back into the target margin corridor during 2020.”

ABB’s EP division delivers more than 1.5 million products to customers around the world every day through a global network of channel partners and end-customers. EP offers a comprehensive portfolio of low- and medium-voltage products and solutions for a smarter, more reliable flow of electricity from substation to socket.

Given this transaction, ABB has decided to put the previously announced share buyback program on hold.

The transaction is expected to close in H1 2018, subject to customary regulatory clearances. Credit Suisse and Dyal Co. acted as financial advisors to ABB, and Davis Polk & Wardwell provided legal counsel.

Third time may be the charm! Schneider does the Aveva deal– Again!

After failing twice to consummate the deal, Schneider Electric announced on September 5 that they had done the deal– again.

Britain’s Aveva Group said on Tuesday it had agreed to combine with Schneider Electric‘s software business to create a London-listed leader in industrial software worth more than 3 billion pounds ($3.88 billion).

France’s Schneider will take a 60 percent stake in the enlarged group under the terms of the deal, which is structured as a reverse takeover, the companies said.

The tie-up comes after two abandoned attempts to agree a deal in 2015 and last year.

The agreement will close, hopefully, in December.

It still isn’t clear what the market impact on automation will be. And one wonders what the future for independent or software only companies will be.

ISA’s Marketing and Sales Summit Takes Off!

Last night, we were treated to a fantastic talk by Dan Miklovic, Managing Vice President of Gartner Inc., who gave us insight into the future of manufacturing, and how automation specifically, fits into it.

Dan noted that companies are dividing into Leveraged Producers, Equity Holding companies, and Tranformational Transnational companies.

Manufacturing virtualization has just begun as Equity Holding companies hire leveraged producers to make their products, and the Transformational Transnationals do it all.

There are numerous

…more later…

A wee little brag on us

Being here in Phoenix, Keith Larson and I missed last nights regional ASBPE Awards Dinner in Chicago. Putman Media received more than its share of regional awards, and next week some of us will attend the national ASBPE awards dinner in Cleveland at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where Control, Plant Services, and Control Design will receive national awards.

It is gratifying to see that our work is being noticed and honored by our peers in the media, but it is even more gratifying to realize that we are winning awards because of our unique focus on the end-user, not the vendor, and the invaluable assistance that we get from end-users in the preparation of news and articles, as well as in the research we do prior to AutomationXchange. Thank you to our end user readers for all they do for us.

We believe, as does Honeywell, in the voice of the customer, and the power of our end user base. Seventeen years ago, when Control was founded, we decided to become the voice of the end user, and not another vendor-driven magazine. As an outside observer I thought that attitude was brash and novel. As an insider, I now recognize how special and brave the original Control team was to go it alone and create a completely new message for advertisers: Advertise in our magazine because that is where the users are. We won’t cater to vendors, and we stil don’t allow vendor-written editorial. Our only editorial limitation is that gratuitous vendor bashing is not allowed. But if a vendor deserves it, we’ll let fly.

And we’ve been successful following this model, and we’ve become a respected outlet for end users as a voice of the customer.

We also have some outstanding contributors. In the last two months we’ve had articles by Greg McMillan (straight ones, not just ControlTalk), Greg Shinskey, Cecil Smith, David Spitzer, and other real automation gurus. We will continue to offer the best writing in the process automation space, because you asked for it.

Anyway, I just want to say thank you to the end user community for the awards you are responsible for.

The INSIDER for August 2017 emailed yesterday!

I’ve been fighting off a flu bug, so it was a few days later than I wanted it to be…but it is out. I will be posting some articles from it throughout the month, but if you want to read them now, visit http://www.spitzerandboyes.com/insider to subscribe.

The cover story in the August INSIDER is an Insider Special Report on “Cyber Security in the Age of the Industrial Internet of Things.” I think you will find it thought provoking.