Reduced energy use and elevated production to result from fully integrated machine learning, artificial intelligence, and IIoT platform


Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE: ROK), the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and digital transformation, today announced that NEXE d.d. is introducing changes in its production processes through digitalization that will offer additional value on the company’s path towards further reductions in its carbon footprint.

In combination with using alternative raw materials and fuels, the company is achieving these goals by leveraging the FactoryTalk® Analytics™ Pavilion8® model predictive control (MPC) solution in combination with performance-management dashboards based on the ThingWorx IIoT platform, part of the FactoryTalk® InnovationSuite, powered by PTC.

The NEXE Group is well-known within building materials sector in Croatia and the region, specializing in cement, concrete, aggregates, concrete elements, roof tiles and bricks.

The architecture to be deployed at NEXE d.d. was formulated by data science teams from Rockwell Automation and Kalypso, a Rockwell Automation company. The Pavilion8 MPC solution offers an intelligence layer that sits on top of automation systems and continuously assesses current and predicted operational data. It then compares this data to desired results and drives new control targets to reduce process variability, improve performance, and boost efficiency – all autonomously and in real time.

Data for the MPC software comes from several sources, including the ThingWorx solution, a complete, end-to-end technology platform designed for the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) that delivers tools and technologies to rapidly develop and deploy powerful applications and augmented reality (AR) experiences.

Danijel Koren, plant manager at NEXE d.d, said: “This is a push forward on this important journey for the whole Group. We are looking to link all systems together and put operational data in the hands of people who can make a difference. Early results point to real success in terms of savings and efficiency; indeed, we are predicting a payback period of less than a year.”

Pierre Teszner, regional vice president for central and eastern Europe at Rockwell Automation added: “The beginning of any digital journey is exciting, and we’re delighted to be helping NEXE achieve its potential. This model, comprising broad data capture, analysis, and real-time intervention resulting in tangible savings has proven so successful in other applications around the globe, and we are looking forward to seeing what NEXE will achieve.”


Swiss food manufacturer increases order-picking speed by 60% using two-level intelligent conveyor system


Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE: ROK), the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and digital transformation, today announced Swiss poultry specialist KNEUSS Güggeli saved time, space and money with a new, custom-designed packaging system based on a two-level Rockwell Automation MagneMotion® intelligent conveyor system.

KNEUSS Güggeli is one of Switzerland’s leading poultry manufacturers and, working with material-handling specialist OEM Stöcklin, has implemented the new space-efficient solution to improve labor productivity in the packaging, labeling, and sorting workflow by 15%. At the same time, order-picking speed has increased from 25 to 40 packages a minute.

“We needed to accelerate the order-picking process, and in a smaller space, without exposing our workers to hazards, such as the fast-moving machine parts or excessive noise levels,” explained Max Studer, lead engineer at Stöcklin.  “It had to be Rockwell Automation MagneMotion. This is the only technology on the market that can do what we need it to do. It’s the only one that has the intelligence and the flexibility.”

With this technology the customer can quickly start and stop loads without losing control, reduce bottlenecks and increase output.

“We’re extremely happy with the new system,” said Daniel Kneuss, CEO of KNEUSS Güggeli. “It helps us to be more efficient, safer, and faster in fulfilling our customers’ orders. Working with Stöcklin and Rockwell Automation has been a great experience.”

Having created a brand-new, custom system based on MagneMotion, Stöcklin now plans to adapt and market the product for other customers, in a range of industries. “MagneMotion is highly adaptable and configurable,” said Studer. “We expect to see high demand and uptake in many different types of businesses.”


Rockwell Automation announces ThingWorx IIoT platform helps boost machine utilization by more than 160% at Dubai-based CNC company


Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE: ROK), the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and digital transformation, today announced that it has helped Falcon Group to boost its machine utilization by 162.5% using the ThingWorx IIoT platform, part of the FactoryTalk® InnovationSuite, powered by PTC.

Headquartered in Dubai, Falcon Group comprises five industrial operations. One of these is a specialist precision engineering and fabrication company that caters for the demanding needs of customers in the aerospace, automotive, marine, healthcare, defense, oil & gas, and steel industries. At the heart of its operations are 16 CNC machines, all of which are essential to the company’s machining capabilities.

Before support from Rockwell Automation, Falcon Group was considering purchasing additional CNC machinery to keep pace with customer demand and to support maintenance downtime for critical machines. When at peak capacity, to meet order dates, the company had subcontracted work to competitors. But before signing off on additional machinery, the company decided to assess its current asset utilization.

Prabhu Badrinathen, CEO at Falcon Group said: “We are always looking for ways to do things better and deliver even greater levels of service to our customers. We knew we had room to grow our machine utilization, but it was not until we got the real-time, machine-level insights from the ThingWorx platform that we realized where inefficiencies were and where the changes needed to be made.

“We have grown our utilization from 16% to 42% and have set an ambitious future target of 75% – a growth of more than 365%,” Badrinathen said. “ThingWorx has this incredible capability to bring operational data together in such a way that it offers immediate value in the form of actionable intelligence.”

According to Mohamed Elnakib, head of information solutions sales, Middle EastTurkey and Africa for Rockwell Automation: “Falcon Group’s CEO is very digital savvy and understood that digital transformation could deliver huge benefits to his people, his assets, and his processes. Using ThingWorx, part of FactoryTalk® InnovationSuite, connected to PLCs and sensors throughout the plant, we were able to ascertain that machine utilization was sitting at only 16%.”

Rejin Jose Kurian, managing director at Falcon Group, said the increase in machine utilization – and the new business opportunities created – demonstrates the company’s commitment to continuous improvement and innovation.

“We were always a very successful company, but we also knew we could do more,” Kurian said. “We challenged the team to think about what was possible and how we can grow the business.”

Sebastien Grau, regional vice president, Middle EastTurkeyAfrica, Rockwell Automation, said: “Falcon management perfectly embraces the potential of industrial software and the benefits they have seen are a great example of a successful digital transformation.

“With a pragmatic step-by-step approach, Falcon delivers tremendous process and cost improvements but even more, Falcon is opening new doors for additional business by becoming a Rockwell Automation software system integrator and sharing their expertise and knowledge.”

Discover how digital transformation brings greater innovation and productivity and can address any business need when data is managed well. As part of your digital evolution, ThingWorx could revolutionize your operations too.


Rockwell Automation Empowers Taiwan Businesses to Adopt Global Carbon Reporting Standards


Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE: ROK), the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and digital transformation, is charging forward on its sustainability efforts for both itself as a company and for customers by adopting a digital transformation to net zero approach. Through data analysis management, Rockwell Automation is supporting customers to get certified by energy management standards and connect them to the blueprint of global sustainability.

In Taiwan, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) announced the “Road Map of Sustainable Development for Taiwan’s listed Companies” in March, requiring Taiwan’s listed companies with paid-in capital of at least NT$10 billion (US$352.58 million) or those in the steel and cement sectors to disclose their carbon emissions.

Manufacturing companies in Taiwan are struggling to fulfill the abovementioned government’s requirements, as quantifying energy consumption through a digital management can be a complex process. “Greenhouse gas inventory is the very first step towards energy saving and carbon reduction,” said Ting-Zhang Chang, smart manufacturing application consultant, Rockwell Automation Taiwan. “However, we noticed that many Taiwan manufacturers are facing challenges in finding the root of excessive energy consumption, as many of them have only implemented energy-saving solutions without any comprehensive plans.”

Chang added, “what is most concerning is that many manufactures skip the continuous monitoring just to bring down the costs, which may cause difficulties in result evaluation. At Rockwell, we help customers adopt energy management systems (EMS) with big data analysis. The EMS is meant to effectively monitor greenhouse gas inventory and emissions, therefore, the customers are able to achieve their corporate objectives for carbon reduction.”

The Rockwell Automation EMS is a flexible and easily scalable management platform that helps factories to manage the energy consumption of all machines in one place and present the analysis results through visualized data charts. The EMS can be divided across four stages, starting with data collection. The system can support various communication protocols, integrate internet of things (IoT) device data, set up sensors to automatically record the energy consumption data of devices, and present EMS in business intelligence statistical charts by identifying energy consumption patterns and sources. It is also equipped with an energy data abnormality detection mechanism, which enables the industry to conduct crisis management in a timely manner.

At the same time, when setting priority energy-saving targets, an energy management baseline should be established to objectively verify the energy-saving measures in order to effectively match the enterprise’s budget and demand for the best strategy to reduce energy consumption. In addition, the EMS not only supports different stages of energy data application, but also possesses the flexibility to expand and apply across IoT platforms. This way, it can integrate both vertically and horizontally from the bottom controller for automation to manufacturing execution system (MES), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and building management system to meet corporate demand for expansion in the future.

In its 2021 Sustainability Report, Rockwell Automation disclosed its commitment to sustainability through industrial energy management software, water resource smart applications, and waste management and recycling solutions, working with a wide range of industries and customers. In the report, Blake Moret, CEO, Rockwell Automation, said, “We’re transforming our company to meet the biggest industrial challenges of today and tomorrow, and we’re doing so from a position of unrivaled experience and credibility. For more than 100 years, we’ve improved the efficiency of industrial processes. To accelerate our impact, we’ve added a new role — Vice President of Sustainability — to scale up a team dedicated to reducing our own carbon footprint and developing new solutions to help our customers do the same.”

Rockwell Automation not only achieves its own sustainability goals, but also assists customers in digital transformation and to effectively formulate goals and plans for carbon footprint reduction. With the quantification of the EMS, Rockwell Automation can help to complete carbon inventory and disclosure, achieve the goal of net zero, and bring: Safety, Energy, Environment and Efficiency (SEEE) value to our customers, creating a new era of green sustainability in the future.


Rockwell Automation: Strengthening supply-chain resilience amid VUCA


Chandramouli K.L., Senior Industry Consultant, Rockwell Automation, shares his thoughts on how supply-chain players can build resilience amid VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). Rockwell Automation Inc. (NYSE: ROK) is a global leader in industrial automation and digital transformation. The following opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Rockwell Automation as a whole.

As a third wave of the pandemic looms, manufacturers regardless of geography or sector continue to suffer from shortages of raw materials, intermediate parts, and other components, hindering the recovery of their downstream customers. Whether its shipping and transportation bottlenecks or crippling ransomware attacks and labor shortages, shocks to supply-chains now reverberate on a global level.

To cope with VUCA, supply-chain players can adopt three key actions:

1.  Flexible production speeds responses

Three challenges most commonly facing manufacturers amid the pandemic are: customer demand, availability of materials, coupled with staffing and labor shortages, driven by changing consumer behaviour. But these challenges are also encountered in the industrial sector, where demand for petroleum, lumber, steel, and semiconductors fluctuates because of global lockdowns.

Flexible manufacturing and improved supplier integration are crucial to navigating this landscape. Suppliers should implement a single global manufacturing operations management (MOM) system to alleviate supply-chain snags. Rigid operating models should be redesigned with revised levels of controls and responses that allow for manufacturers to rapidly switch models and products. By harmonising operations, MOM helps industrial players effectively manage disruptions by alerting them to assembly line changes, local training needs, and other issues.

Greater integration with suppliers is also essential, collaborating with engineering experts and contractors to develop preassembled modules, instead of a box of loose parts. For example, one of our clients, a toy manufacturer with factories across Asia, worked on new designs by sharing computer aided design (CAD) models and geometries in near real time among their designers, engineers, suppliers, and marketers, partnering with their management teams to set up a collaborative internal digital platform. This resulted in a 30% reduction in data management and transaction times, speeding up turnaround and reducing costs.

2.  Smarter staffing

Another major impact of the pandemic has been persistent staffing shortages. Many employers also face higher ratios of fewer industry-skilled employees, more staff in new and unfamiliar roles, and costly shift-scheduling difficulties.

Workforce enablement and labor-supporting technology is more important than ever. Data analytics can be deployed to better understand employee availability and skillsets, generating models to determine optimal resourcing for running complex equipment and processes at any given point in time. This streamlines tasks, improves productivity, and worker satisfaction. Autonomous robots can also free up simple, manual tasks and help workers tap into colleagues from different markets for enhanced knowledge sharing and training, while adhering to social-distancing measures.

3.  Analytics assist materials shortages

VUCA issues related to deviations in raw materials – such as the shortfall in semiconductor chips impacting automotive manufacturers – can be managed through data analytics applied in the form of product lifecycle management (PLM) software. Model predictive controls (MPC), artificial intelligence (AI), and even “chaos engineering” functions that simulate problems in production systems can all help manufacturers become more adaptative.

PLM is a sophisticated software platform that serves as an orchestration backbone of sorts. By using digital production definitions, worker management functions and advanced visualizations, users can connect their production and equipment lifecycles with a digital thread that enables control changes.

Future-proofing supply networks to bolster long-term resilience

With change being the only constant, the onus is on supply-chain players to digitalize in order to counter VUCA and other impactful events. Building greater agility, resilience, and sustainability into supply-chain processes accelerates access to actionable information, allowing businesses to respond more effectively when challenges arise.