Efficient Plant December 2017 - 64

column | efficiency insight

Technologies
Enable Asset
Performance
Gary Mintchell
Contributing Editor

Significant recent product-introduction
and company-acquisition activity is being
driven by the quest for better assetperformance management.

64

| EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

E

VERYONE WHO develops
Internet of Things platforms
and applications points to
one premier use case-predictive
maintenance. The company could be
a traditional industrial technology
suppler or one of the IT suppliers aiming a portion of their portfolios at the
industrial space.
Magazines covering automation,
maintenance, and reliability have discussed predictive maintenance (PdM)
for years. Some people are actually
implementing. It's not easy, but technology improvements have made it
doable. For most software companies,
PdM integrates into asset performance
management. These, of course, help you
achieve the efficient plant.
Even so, when Michael Dell, CEO
of Dell Technologies (delltechnologies.
com, Round Rock, TX), announced a
$1-billion bet on the company's Internet
of Things business, even I was a little
surprised. The IoT business now reports
to a senior executive and is elevated to
division status. Far beyond gateways, the
solutions include enabling software such
as Pulse Center to manage and administer IoT networks.
On another trip, executives at GE
Digital (ge.com/digital, San Ramon, CA)
explained that the famous Predix is actually a platform upon which applications
can be built. The key application being
asset-performance management. Operations-performance management was another application announced at the 2017
Minds + Machines Conference held in
October in San Francisco. No, this is not
an operations center in the mold of the
process-automation companies. It works
along with asset-performance management to optimize plant performance.

INDUSTRY CONSOLIDATION
The larger control and automation
suppliers have been consolidating the
industry for several years. Emerson
Automation Solutions (emerson.
com, St. Louis) grew through acquisition. Siemens Corp. (usa.siemens.
com, Washington) has made several
blockbuster acquisitions, including
UGS, in order to build out its "digital
factory" vision. ABB (abb.com, Cary,
NC) recently acquired the industrial
products division of GE, along with
automation supplier B&R Industrial
Automation Corp. (br-automation.
com, Roswell, GA).
Then news broke at the end of October that Emerson had been in negotiation to acquire Rockwell Automation
(rockwellautomation.com, Milwaukee).
The price on the table was $27.5 billion.
The Rockwell board rejected that offer.
At subsequent meetings, many people
asked for my thoughts-especially why
that became public. I am not privy to inside information, but we can assume that
Rockwell would entertain more offers. It
just wants more than that amount.
The combination of Emerson and
Rockwell Automation would begin to
rival Siemens, Schneider Electric, and
ABB. The question to ponder is whether
that would actually increase competition, driving up innovation and driving
down prices, or would it increase prices?
In the latter case, would we be ripe for an
upstart to disrupt the industry? EP

Gary Mintchell is an industrialtechnology subject-matter expert.
He can be reached at gmintchell@
efficientplantmag.com.

DECEMBER 2017


http://www.abb.com http://www.rockwellautomation.com http://www.ge.com/digital http://www.EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Efficient Plant December 2017

Efficient Plant December 2017 - 1
Efficient Plant December 2017 - Cover1
Efficient Plant December 2017 - Cover2
Efficient Plant December 2017 - 1
Efficient Plant December 2017 - 2
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Efficient Plant December 2017 - Cover3
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