PLM This Week: Rockwell Opens Its First Customer Center for Connected Enterprise

Plus news from Dassault Systèmes and IFS.

Smart Factories: Rockwell Opens Its First Customer Center for Connected Enterprise

How do you find the right way to digitize production?

One thing is certain: when it comes to manufacturing, every industry and every firm has its own requirements. It’s also true that there are numerous different ideas about what the most effective path looks like. Introducing a smart factory concept is a particularly complex challenge, and in these early days of factory digitization, true expertise is something of a rare commodity.

To remedy this situation, automation solution developer Rockwell has opened a customer center for the concept it calls the “Connected Enterprise.” The center is based in Karlsruhe, Germany, which is known for its technical university and its start-up scene.

Rockwell Automation’s “Connected Enterprise” approach builds on the idea of giving users a fully developed concept that enables them to start implementing many smart factory features right away. The customer center offers a platform to interactively show users the potential of digitization and to tailor-make strategies together with Rockwell.

One interesting fact about Rockwell Automation’s solutions is that they have already successfully implemented the Connected Enterprise-concept in their own manufacturing facilities, part of their journey towards digitization. If you’ve seen PLM TV’s report about Siemens’ Digital Factory solutions, which integrate many of the same concepts, then you know that implementing an Industry 4.0 platform in your own factories may enable the company to learn a great deal.

“We have learned tremendous amounts about how to efficiently build a fully digitized facility,” said Siemens PLM, Tony Hemmelgarn, in the TV report Is Industry 4.0 Realistic Face to Face with Siemens CEO Tony Hemmelgarn. Of course, there’s every reason to think that the same applies to Rockwell Automation.

“That’s absolutely the case,” said Thomas Donato, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Rockwell Automation, adding that, “as part of our Connected Enterprise concept, we’ve developed an Execution Model to support our customers in implementing the smart factory vision today. We start by reviewing their current situation and clarifying expectations. Next, we define the goals together, decide on the scope and create a concept tailored to the individual customer needs. This way, the benefits of the Connected Enterprise are becoming obvious to customers much more quickly.”

Interactive Demos

Donato also explained that visitors can view interactive demos and application examples, as well as live viewings of the operations of Rockwell Automation’s production facilities in real time.

Rockwell Automation specialists can also provide advice on the best way to implement smart factory features that match the needs of each company.

“We show visitors how the overall solution of the Connected Enterprise method works in practice and provides secure linking of production and IT systems into their businesses. The reason for everything is Rockwell Automation’s broad solution and service offering, ranging from network and security infrastructure based on proven industry standards to enterprise-level integration and IT, “concluded Donato.

In the future, Rockwell Automation will have meetings for staff, PartnerNetwork members and customer training in the new customer center. The company also plans for student seminars on interesting topics such as smart factories, big data and the Internet of Things.

Dassault Systèmes Unveils American 3DEXPERIENCE Lab

Another company that had a grand opening was PLM developer Dassault Systèmes, which unveiled its new American 3DEXPERIENCE Lab on the Waltham Campus, outside of Boston.

According to a Dassault press release, this new open innovation laboratory and start-up accelerator is meant to support entrepreneurial projects that have the potential to transform society in a number of different areas such as cities, life, lifestyle, IoT and “Fab Labs.”

The lab will offer the full suite of 3D EXPERIENCE tools, mentoring and training to start-ups, entrepreneurs, students, makers and individuals from industrial innovation departments and research laboratories based anywhere in North America.

This will be offered as part of one- or two-year programs to accelerate product development in these companies.

The lab’s equipment currently includes 12 sitting workbenches and 10 standing work surfaces in addition to critical tools such as 3D printers, laser engravers and a robotic arm.

Survey Shows Willingness to Invest in Digital Transformation, But a Lack of Human Capital

What are the main challenges for companies who want to digitally transform their businesses? What industry has come the furthest? What are the most important areas of investment? Which technologies will be the most disruptive to businesses?

These were some of the questions that ERP developer IFS asked in a recently released survey that polled 750 decision makers from 16 different countries. The study revealed, among other things, a large difference in “digital maturity” between industries, and the information that while many companies are making significant investments, they have a hard time finding people with the right competencies to drive these initiatives.

The study indicates that there is a significant willingness to invest, with over 90 percent of the firms surveyed stating that they had ‘adequate’ or ‘advantageous’ funding for digital transformation. When asked about the most prioritized areas of investment, the top three answers were the Internet of Things (IoT), ERP, and big data and analytics.

However, despite this willingness to fund, a third of the surveyed companies (34 percent) felt either slightly or totally unprepared to deal with digital transformation due to a talent deficiency. In answer to the question of which area had the biggest talent deficit, 40 percent cited business intelligence, and 39 percent cyber security, followed by AI and robotics, big data analytics and the Cloud.

When asked about the digital transformation maturity level of their organizations, meaning actual progress, 31 percent of the respondents consider their business to be in the two highest levels of maturity on a five-graded scale.

The aviation industry is the most progressive, with 44 percent of respondents considering themselves advanced in their ability to leverage digital transformation. Runner up is the construction and contracting industry, 39 percent of whom identified themselves as mature. At the other end of the spectrum is the oil and gas sector, where only 19 percent of the respondents consider themselves able to benefit from digital transformation.

43 percent of respondents identified “internal process efficiency” as the number one driving force behind digital transformation. “Accelerating innovation” (29 percent) and “growth opportunity in new markets” (28 percent) were recognized as the second and third most significant drivers.

Despite the practical and technical complexities of digital transformation, the top barrier to change is on the human side: “aversion to change” (42 percent). The second and third largest barriers are the more concrete “security threats/concerns” (39 percent) and “absence of the right organizational and governance model” (38 percent).

What will be the most disruptive technologies?

When asked what technologies will be the most disruptive, big data tops the list with a score of 7.2 out of 10. Second is automation (7.0) and third is IoT (6.6).

Although big data is ranked the highest overall, there is a significant minority who feel that automation will have the most dramatic impact. Over 40 percent rated the level of disruption by automation as 8 or more out of 10, while only 32 percent gave such high ratings to big data.

In the construction, aviation and manufacturing industries, 48 percent, 48 percent and 50 percent respectively consider the automation disruption score to be greater than 8 out of 10, which makes it the highest rated technology for those industries.