Despite a difficult economic climate in 2009, Rockwell Automation remains committed to continued investment in the process automation business, according to Steve Eisenbrown, senior vice president, architecture and software. "It's still the company's fastest growing area," Eisenbrown said, "and our number one opportunity for the future."
Eisenbrown kicked off this week's Rockwell Automation Process Solutions User Group (PSUG) meeting on Monday, November 9, in Anaheim, Calif., in his executive keynote address. Revenue-wise, the company's process business is down this year, but has still averaged 29% CAGR over the past five years, Eisenbrown noted. "Attendance at PSUG is up 10% over last year, and we have more than 180 companies and 29 countries represented at this year's event."
"We gauge success by revenue, but also by mindshare and share-of-market," he added. And, since the introduction of Rockwell Automation's PlantPAx platform at the last year's user group gathering, "We've put our time and effort into portfolio enhancements and expanded domain expertise," Eisenbrown continued. Recent acquisitions and organic development have expanded the company's technology capabilities and ability to deliver solutions on a global basis, Eisenbrown said.
Som Chakraborti, business director, process automation, noted that maturation in Rockwell Automation's process industry offering can be judged not only by the revenue growth, but also in the types of recent application wins. Rockwell Automation has not only strengthened its position in its traditional strongholds of consumer-oriented hybrid and heavy industry, but in "primary" control applications in, for example, the oil & gas, pulp & paper, chemicals and power industries, Chakraborti said.
"We're rolling out our main automation contractor (MAC) strategy globally, as well as a very large network of system integrators," Chakraborti said. In the past year, the company has developed relationships with 50 new solution partners with specific process industry expertise, Chakraborti said, as well as establishing strategic partnerships with a growing number of process skid builders. "Our five-year growth rate [in process] is three times that of the overall market," he added.
Chakraborti attributed the company's strong process industry growth to the ongoing execution of a three-phase strategy that began several years ago with building out an end-to-end portfolio of process automation systems and solutions, followed by the integration of these organic investments, acquisitions and partnerships. Now, the company's offering consists of a unified portfolio under a common systems and solutions umbrella.
Chakraborti further outlined Rockwell Automation's latest introductions and continued investment strategy in six key process automation arenas: operations productivity, engineering productivity, field device integration, plant asset management, high availability and safety and core process control capabilities. (See Functionality, Integration, Productivity Guide PlantPAx Roadmap.) "We've invested over $500 million over the past five years, and we're not done yet," Chakraborti said.