Rockwell Automation Busy Filling Gaps in Process Offering

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“We’re up 25% and that pretty much corresponds to how we’re doing business-wise.”

So began Steve Eisenbrown, senior vice president of the company’s architecture and software business, in his opening remarks to the sixth annual gathering of the company’s Process Solutions User Group this week in Chicago. Indeed, PSUG attendance was up from 400 last year to nearly 500, with representation from 122 different companies and 22 countries around the world. “We’re making the investments we need to make to be a leader in the process business,” he said.

It’s now been three years since Rockwell Automation identified process as a key growth driver, and activity has centered on building out the company’s portfolio of products and solutions through organic development, hiring people with needed process expertise, and pursuing acquisitions and partnerships where necessary to fill in the gaps, explained Kevin Zaba, business director, process automation.

“Don’t be afraid to say ‘Wow!’” Kevin Zaba outlined Rockwell Automation’s progress in building out its process automation offering. Revenues for the process unit have been growing at a 44% annual clip since 2004.
With a schematic representation of the $70 billion global process automation market as backdrop, Zaba charted Rockwell Automation’s recent acquisition, partnering, and product development progress—neatly dropping product and company logos into the holes in their offering as gleefully as an adolescent playing Tetris. “Don’t be afraid to say ‘Wow!’” Zaba said.

Acquisitions, which have especially intensified over the past 12 months, include Caribbean Integration Engineers, for their life sciences expertise and delivery capabilities to the Puerto Rico and Latin American market, and ProsCon, to achieve similar expertise and market access in Ireland and the European market. Further, Germany’s GEPA was acquired in 2006 for its change management software expertise.

Larger and more recent acquisitions include ICS Triplex, a European leader in process safety, and just this month Pavilion Technologies, for its advanced process control and predictive modeling capabilities. The ICS acquisition positions Rockwell Automation as a global leader in both the process and machine safety markets, and Pavilion allows them to up the ante in advanced process control. “You will see us roll out a full spectrum of advanced process control capabilities from device to loop to plant level,” Zaba said.

Other holes in Rockwell Automation’s process offering are being filled out by partnerships with companies such as Endress+Hauser on the field device front, OSIsoft for its world-class historian capabilities, and TiPS and Matrikon for alarm management.

The company’s ongoing effort is on establishing interoperability with partner applications, on continuing to evolve the Logix platform’s core architecture capabilities, on establishing roadmaps for integration and delivery of new functionality, and to expand the number and scope of industry-specific application solutions, Zaba said.

“We’ve seen 44% compounded annual growth in our process automation business since 2004, but that’s just one measure,” Zaba concluded. “Your attendance here at PSUG is also a sign of our success.”

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