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21 September, 2020

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Speed of business decline was `stunning` – Rockwell CEO
Published:  18 November, 2009

Rockwell Automation’s CEO Keith Nosbusch has described the speed at which business conditions deteriorated earlier this year as “stunning”. Speaking recently at his company’s Automation Fair in California, Nosbusch noted that global GDP has shown recent signs of improvement. And while key manufacturing indicators such as industrial production and capacity utilisation, were still at low levels, they appear to have stabilised and sentiment among US manufacturers is improving. Nevertheless, he said the shape and pace of the recovery still remains uncertain.

Nosbusch (above) outlined several emerging manufacturing technology and automation trends that he believes will help to position the sector for a global economic recovery. One example is the transformation of manufacturing from an IT-linked enterprise to an optimised plant and supply network – a transformation enabled by the convergence of control, power, communication and information technologies.

“Each of these technologies comes together to create an optimised plant and supply network that drives greater productivity by doing everything more efficiently,” Nosbusch said. “When control, power, communications and information technologies converge, manufacturers can continuously improve operations across the enterprise, throughout the plant and up and down the supply chain.”

With plant-wide optimisation, Nosbusch added, manufacturers can drive continuous improvement across their enterprise and throughout the plant lifecycle from design and commissioning, to operations and maintenance. With agile supply networks, manufacturers can meet demands for customised products with minimum inventories by integrating real-time customer demand data with manufacturing processes.

On the topic of sustainable production, Nosbusch described Rockwell’s vision for transforming factories from passive energy consumption to active energy management through sensing, communication, control and optimisation. The technologies needed to enable active energy management include low-cost embedded energy sensors and integrated control and energy management.

“More advanced metering and trending will help us to identify energy-intensive processes and better control and optimise energy on a plant-wide scale,” Nosbusch said. "This outlook is exciting, as many new technologies are converging for active energy management in factories that will help our customers to reduce energy costs significantly.”

The Rockwell CEO said that his company’s strong balance sheet “provides us the flexibility needed to invest and innovate in this economic cycle without compromising our long-term strategy. I strongly believe that we are well positioned in these challenging times to help our customers optimise their plants, and emerge successfully through the difficult economic environment.”

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