Sonnenberg Builds on Focus and Collaboration

Emerson's Steve Sonnenberg Reviewed the Company's Performance and Initiatives to a Crowd of 2,200 Gathered This Week at the 2010 Emerson Global Users Exchange in San Antonio.

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Emerosn Users Exchange

New innovations and bright futures are refined from past performance and fulfilled commitments—and the catalysts in this process are focus and collaboration.

This was just one of the many heartening messages delivered by Emerson Process Management's president, Steve Sonnenberg, in his keynote speech on the opening day of Emerson Global Users Exchange 2010 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio. Besides serving as Emerson Process Management's business leader, Sonnenberg also is executive vice president of Emerson Electric Corp.   

Sonnenberg kicked off his address by thanking the exchange's 2,200 attendees for coming to the annual event, pushing attendance up from its 1,800 visitors last year. "I know we all have a lot more on our plates these days, and so all of you taking a week out of your busy schedules to be here means a lot to us," said Sonnenberg.

"These days it's pretty much impossible for an executive to stand up in front of a group like this and not talk about the economy. It's been a tough two or three years, and these times have been tough for Emerson too, so we feel your pain. However, we also think the worst is over, and I'm very optimistic about the future," added Sonnenberg. "So, be bold this week. Ask a lot of questions. Take notes. As our theme says, 'Build on Your Knowledge.' And, see the possibilities for improving your applications back home."

In tough times, Sonnenberg added that people and organizations refocus on and nurture their essential goals. "Focus delivers results, and in business those results translate to economic performance," he said. "Emerson's business performance news is good, and so I remain optimistic for the coming year. In 2009, we had to make some tough decisions, but we kept our organization stable, and prepared for the recovery. Now, 2010 is shaping up to be a good year, and we're prepared to go forward in 2011. In fact, 2010 is rebounding nicely, we're tracking with the performance gains we had in 2007 and 2008, and by the end of 2011, we think we'll be at out highest growth since 2008."

To help fuel its own focus on delivering results, Sonnenberg reported that Emerson increased its R&D investment by 4% in 2009, and has increased that by 8% in 2010.

Sonnenberg also reminded attendees about Emerson's recent acquisitions of U.K.-based Roxar, the deep-sea and down-hole imaging software maker; Germany-based epro to strengthen its PlantWeb architecture; and EIM Controls in Missouri City, Texas, which makes valve actuators and joined Emerson's Valve Automation division to expanding its electric actuator portfolio.      

To continue meeting its longtime philosophy of combining its global presence with local support, Emerson is continuing to increase its investment worldwide with new facilities, including opening eight new regional offices in China, said Sonnenberg.

"And, this past May, we opened the world's largest flow testing facility in our new Emerson Innovation Center in Marshalltown, Iowa," he said. "These days, users are employing bigger valves and higher pressures in super-sized applications, and so now they can come to the center and test equipment for these future sites and replicate facilities at existing sites for testing." The 136,000-sq.-ft. innovation center cost about $30 million to build, and its equipment can fill an Olympic-sized pool in just 8 minutes, and test valves at up to 3,500 psi.

Building on its tradition of breakthroughs, such as HART digital communications, Foundation fieldbus, Smart Safety Instrumented Systems and Smart Wireless, Emerson once again listened closely to its many users to explore and master the field of human-centered design and then used this expertise to develop and introduce its DeltaV S-Series hardware in 2009 to give users the flexibility of I/O-on-demand they need for their many of their processes, said Sonnenberg.

"Each innovation builds on the knowledge of the past to break through to the future," said Sonnenberg. "However, it's not all about new inventions. Focus brings clarity and intensity, but it's collaboration that creates purpose. As a result, suppliers that used to sell just products have become service providers and partners to help their customers run their processes. This is why we've developed our global support competencies in our industry centers and become a strategic and services supplier, too. For example, we recently worked with Mexico's national oil company, Pemex, to retrofit and network some of its 30-year-old production platforms with wireless.

"However, just bringing new technologies together isn't enough. Our users have also told us that products need to be easier to use and basically think like they do, so they can be used by the many less-experienced operators coming into the field. So, last year, we announced our entry into human-centered design and have developed products, such as DeltaV S-Series, that simplify many tasks to help make users more effective at their jobs. For example, by introducing the first electronic marshalling technology and providing I/O-on-demand, we're enabling users to adapt and have less rigid, more flexible wiring in their field."

In addition, with many processes reaching the 100,000 I/O-point-count and beyond, the digital dashboards that Emerson introduced last year are giving users great insights into their applications, added Sonnenberg. Because achieving a good view into process applications is way more difficult a mile below the sea, Emerson also has introduced its ROV Sensor Retrieval System to help users check on sub-sea assets, he explained. "This is allowing users to remove and replace sensors without bringing the whole process tree up the surface," adds Sonnenberg. "This can potentially save millions of dollars per day."

Likewise, to give land-based managers better insights into asset performance, Sonnenberg noted Emerson's recent and ongoing partnership with Meridium. "Many plant managers haven't been able to see well enough into their processes to improve performance and reliability, but they want to learn from the past so they don't make the same mistakes again," said Sonnenberg. "So, we partnered with Meridium, and now users can check their assets over time and achieve new levels of performance.

"In summary, while focus delivers results and collaboration creates purpose, here at the Emerson Global Users Exchange, collaboration also can create for the future, so you all can deliver results back at your applications. It's easy for geeks like us to get wrapped up in our technologies, but we still have to listen well. So, focus, keep your clarity, get the tools that can deliver tangible results to you, and keep letting us know how we're doing."

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