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November 19, 2008

Headlines from Today's Activities
- Convergence Bringing Mash–ups to Manufacturing
- Integrated Controls Keep Cement Plants Nimble
- Integrated Architecture Is Platform for Manufacturing Convergence
- ControlLogix Boosts Agility for 3M, Frito–Lay
- Safety Aids Savings and Sustainability
- Building Blocks Ease Machine Automation Tasks
- Best Practices in Managing Oil Patch Assets

Automation Fair® Info:
Tech Session Schedule
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Convergence Bringing Mash–ups to Manufacturing
It’s no coincidence that Arthur C. Clarke ranks among the greatest science fiction minds of the past century. His imagination possessed that rare ability to combine known technologies in unexpected ways–envisioning fictions that indeed became reality some years or decades later. His approach to making these logical leaps has been termed Clarke’s Laws of Prediction: First, assume nothing is impossible. Second, look past linear thinking. And third, technology is the key.

We in manufacturing would do well to follow Mr. Clarke’s lead, according to the keynote presenters at Rockwell Automation’s Automation Fair event being held this week in Nashville, Tenn.

"It’s a tough economic environment like today that separates leaders from the pack," said Keith Nosbusch, Rockwell Automation chairman and CEO. He added that Rockwell Automation is uniquely positioned to help manufacturers combine traditionally disparate technologies in new ways to achieve new levels of business performance. "It’s a trend that we call Manufacturing Convergence," Nosbusch said.

» Read more

"You have to optimize to save and invest to innovate." Cisco Systems’ Paul McNab discussed the lessons that manufacturing can learn from other industries to take advantage of the convergence of data, voice and video communications.

Highlight: Tomorrow’s Global Machine Builder Forum

Integrated Controls Keep Cement Plants Nimble
Some people do more with less. A very few do a lot more with less.

For instance, Portland cement kilns have expanded their capacity over the years from producing hundreds of tons per day to upwards of 10,000 tons per day, and they have done it using slightly less total energy, according to Jaime Ramirez Barajas, vice president and process control systems specialist at Mexico–based Cemex Technology. How have these kilns and their plants achieved these gains? You guessed it. They continually improved their controls and automation equipment and architectures.

Ramirez presented "Evolution and Benefits of Cement Plants’ Automation and Control Systems Technology" at the Mining, Materials and Cement Industry Forum on the opening day of Rockwell Automation’s Automation Fair 2008 this week in Nashville, Tenn.

Over the past four decades, Cemex’s plants migrated from relays, pneumatic, analog, PLCs and distributed control systems to increasingly hybridized, intelligent and now integrated and even wireless controls.

» Read more

"We’re moving to integrated control architectures that are good at regulatory and sequential control, meet all technical requirements, but do so at a lower cost of ownership." Cemex’s Jaime Ramirez Barajas explained the multinational cement–maker’s rationale in moving to Rockwell Automation’s Logix architecture.

The exhibition floor at the Automation Fair® event includes more than 100 booths highlighting solutions for a wide variety of automation needs. Visit our online PartnerNetwork Showcase for a preview of the offerings that are on display.

Integrated Architecture Is Platform for Manufacturing Convergence
Rockwell Automation’s Integrated Architecture leverages one multidisciplinary control engine, one development environment, one common networking protocol and one service–oriented architecture for integrated plant–wide control. "It is the convergence of control and information," said Steve Ludwig, commercial programs manager, automation control and information group, for Rockwell Automation.

"The Logix platform and Integrated Architecture serves end users and OEMs," Ludwig explained. "If you’re an end user, you’re probably more focused on IT convergence. If you’re an OEM, you’re going to focus on control discipline convergence."

In a tour of the Integrated Architecture booth on the Automation Fair exhibit floor, Ludwig pointed out some of Rockwell Automation’s newest contributions to manufacturing convergence.

"We’re producing new 'ease of use' tools and products to make implementation of the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture core systems even easier," Ludwig said.

» Read more

"We’re producing new 'ease of use' tools and products to make implementation of the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture core systems even easier." Rockwell’s Automation’s Steve Ludwig explained how the company’s platform offering is helping its customers to more easily capitalize on Manufacturing Convergence.

Couldn’t attend the Automation Fair® event this year? Show your solidarity with genuine Automation Fair merchandise!

ControlLogix Boosts Agility for 3M, Frito–Lay
At the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry Forum held at this week’s Automation Fair event, two manufacturing companies explained the role that ControlLogix solutions played in helping them upgrade key operations and as a result become more flexible and agile.

Tracy Harvey is an engineering specialist for 3M Canada in the company’s tape–converting operations, which take large–format jumbo rolls of stock and slit them to become the various roll tapes that 3M provides.

He discussed the controls upgrade of a semi–manual tape slitter, in which operators load a jumbo roll in the unwind station, where it’s pulled through dancer tension controls to be cut into ribbons, which then are rewound and packed accordingly.

"The critical control variables obviously are length and width," said Harvey, "but winding tension plays a major role in product quality."

» Read more

"We had thirty plants of differing ages, but needed one 'plug–and play' solution that fit all of them." Frito–Lay’s Mike Walker detailed his company’s successful, multi–plant roll–out of a ControlLogix–based inline blending system.

 

Safety Aids Savings and Sustainability
Safety was once a necessary evil, just a cost of doing business. But today, safety is going way beyond its traditional role to help users gain efficiencies, assist lean efforts, secure savings and even pursue new sustainability goals and drive future innovations.

To show how safety also can accomplish these efficiency and economic objectives, Lyle Masimore, business manager for Rockwell Automation’s safety business, architecture and software group, presented "Proving the Value of Safety" at the Safety Automation Forum this week in Nashville, Tenn.

"Not only does safety fall into the sustainability area, I think it’s also an excellent way to help accomplish lean initiatives," said Masimore. "This is especially true as operators are working closer to their equipment and as manufacturers have less floor space."

» Read more

"A holistic safety strategy isn’t just about increasing safety for its own sake, but about increasing value and productivity." Rockwell Automation’s Lyle Masimore discussed the bottom–line business value of safety.

 

Building Blocks Ease Machine Automation Tasks
Many stand–alone machine builders struggle with component cost constraints as well as with having the resources and expertise needed to implement control strategies. And to help satisfy these particular OEMs’ needs, Rockwell Automation demonstrated its range of Connected Components Building Blocks, or CCBBs, in the Essential Components booth at this week’s Automation Fair in Nashville, Tenn.

"These CCBBs help provide stand-alone machine builders with the information they need to quickly and easily implement common control tasks in their machine design," said Amy Montes, components commercial programs manager.

"CCBBs include pre-written blocks of application code for the PLC that can be modified to help meet the precise needs of a given machine, pre–written HMI programs to make setting up the operator interface easier, and pre–configured drive parameter files that take the strain out of implementing speed control tasks."

» Read more

A highlight of Rockwell Automation’s Essential Components display at Automation Fair is the Connected Components Wall, where the company’s, "just enough control" solutions for standalone machines are on display.

 

Best Practices in Managing Oil Patch Assets
"Asset performance management is about achieving business goals," began Mehul Shah, Aberdeen Group research analyst. Shah presented the results of the company’s recent Oil and Gas Industry Asset Performance Management study to the Oil and Gas Industry Forum this week at Automation Fair.

"In order to do asset performance management (APM) successfully, you need to expand the scope of what you consider to be assets," he said. "Most managers think about assets as equipment, but you should be adding facilities, automation, data, IT and employees to what you consider assets."

Aberdeen divides respondents to their surveys into Best in Class, Average Companies, and Laggards based on survey information from the respondents. Shah presented data from the survey broken down that way.

» Read more

"It’s important to align your performance expectations with corporate goals." Aberdeen Group’s Cindy Jutras and co–presenter Mehul Shah shared best practices in asset performance management for oil and gas companies.

 

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