Rockwell Automation’s IIoT Strategy

All industries face issues, such as minimizing unplanned downtime, implementing predictive and proactive asset management, maximizing KPIs, and empowering their transitioning workforce with intelligence via wireless mobile devices. Adopting IIoT, including advanced analytics, can certainly provide end users with value and benefits, but they often seek help as to how to get started within the context of their existing business processes. Since connected, IIoT-based solutions typically enable continuous improvements, cultural changes are often required. This makes effective change management one of the biggest challenges; since it provides a framework to help ensure safety and consistency when adopting new technology.

Rockwell Automation recently used its 25th Automation Fair as a venue to share its vision of extending “The Connected Enterprise” to all production assets. The company defines The Connected Enterprise as “delivering transformational value in productivity, sustainability, and global competitiveness”, which it feels boils down to harnessing data and domain knowledge of operational processes and technology. Rockwell Automation feels it knows where its customers’ high value operational data is and how to use this data and domain knowledge to help its customers define and execute IIoT and IT/OT convergence strategies.

Rockwell Automation emphasized that the role of IIoT as a solution to knowledge management and transfer is a critical requirement to capture the knowledge of retiring workers, as well as the benefits of training cost models that rely on augmented reality (AR) instead of traditional methods. The company also emphasized analytics as a key element of knowledge management and transfer. Historic, structured data analytics are becoming common for many analytics providers. Like many other companies with origins from the OT side of business, Rockwell Automation is building upon its roots by adding new uses of these analytics to its portfolio. Newly released Analytics Solutions ranged from devices and equipment builders up to the enterprise. One of these, a new FactoryTalk Analytics for Machines cloud application with Microsoft Azure cloud-enabled capability, provides equipment builders with information from IIoT-enabled assets and machines.

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