15 pieces of automation advice from ROKLive 2022

Automation can help optimize industrial operations, as noted at ROKLive, a recent conference on industrial operations, maintenance, engineering, and enterprise-wide solutions automation, linking operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT).

By Mark T. Hoske July 30, 2022
The latest release of the PlantPAx distributed control system (DCS) from Rockwell Automation, Plant PAx 5.0, helps industrial producers positively impact the life cycle of their plant operations in dynamic conditions and markets. The system ensures plant-wide and scalable systems drive productivity, improve profitability, and reduce overall risks for operations. Courtesy: New Products for Engineers, Rockwell Automation

Learning Objectives

  • Automation helps manufacturers expand when skilled workers are unavailable.
  • Digital transformation tools can help.
  • AI and virtual reality help with optimization and training.

Advice about how automation can help optimize industrial operations was available at ROKLive 2022, a June 13-16 conference from Rockwell Automation and newly acquired Plex Systems, covering industrial operations, maintenance, engineering, and enterprise-wide solutions automation linking operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT). Information below was summarized from125 ROKLive2022 session descriptions.

1. Build an effective cyber resilience strategy: With cyberattacks causing unplanned downtime, contributing to supply chain shortages, and leading to ransomware attacks, manufacturers need to build a cyber-resilience program, according to Brian Deken in the session, “Cybersecurity Peer Exchange: Building an Effective Cyber Resilience Strategy.” To do so, Deken said, develop the right balance when considering preparation, process improvement, technology investment and risk mitigation. Manufacturers can prepare to respond to threats that extend beyond their organization, often targeting their vendors and supply chain, Deken said. Attention to defense-in-depth (DID) cybersecurity, networks and infrastructure can help enable devices to protect themselves from malicious attacks focusing on authenticity, integrity, and confidentiality, said Roch Mikolajczyk and Jack Visoky in two sessions, “CIP Security Advanced Session: Experience the Effect of Security on Your Control System” and “CIP Security Advanced Session: Experience the Effect of Security on Your Control System.”


2. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can achieve better profitability, productivity, and customer satisfaction.OEMs involved with engineering, information technology, automation management and operations management understand that project timelines have shortened and speed to market is paramount. Tolerance for unmitigated design and commissioning risk has all but disappeared. Cybersecurity threats, workforce productivity and skill gaps require ongoing vigilance. Leveraging digital transformation can help OEMs move past the tipping point to achieve new revenue streams and customer satisfaction, according to Stephen Pulsifer, Rockwell Automation, and Rob Ponsonby and Daniel Seger in the session, “OEM Peer Exchange: Achieving Better Profitability, Productivity and Customer Satisfaction.”

3. In water and wastewater applications, water sustainability initiatives are driving use of smart automation for industrial users and water utilities.随着水和废水处理厂融入智慧城市和制造业,以解决水的可持续利用问题,水行业越来越多地接受数字化转型。Kelvin跨栏和Ali Rose在“水废水对等交换:水可持续性倡议推动工业用户和水务公司智能用水”会议上表示,数字化转型对于水业务的可持续性至关重要。

4. Sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) are increasing in importance for manufacturing. Smart manufacturing software for manufacturing execution systems (MES), quality management systems (QMS) and supply chain planning (SCP) helps sustainability and ESG initiatives, which, in turn, helps manufacturers save money, provide purpose, and attract talent, explained Gerry Abbey, Plex Systems, in the session, “The 2022 State of Smart Manufacturing Report: Key Findings.” MES software is more powerful, has more capabilities, and embraces smart manufacturing to support the 4thindustrial revolution in all its forms, added John Clemons, Maverick Technologies, in the session, “Today’s MES: Embracing the Technology of Smart Manufacturing.”

5. The supply chain crunch continues to squeeze operations management for food manufacturers.此外,频繁出现的新配方、新包装和新限制要求食品制造商不断频繁地改造业务流程。升级软件有助于缓解供应链压力、新产品开发和市场增长,Ara Surenian在“应对供应链危机”的会议上表示。Using recipe management software can tighten control of inventory and improve quality and share critical information among systems, added Pat Welsh in a “Recipe Management Integration” session.

6. Real-time operations visibility helps with continuous improvement initiatives.Smarter analytics and data management tools help those in information technology and operations management gain actionable insights into a line, plant, and enterprise-wide operation. Tools include self-service, interactive storyboards used to explore manufacturing data and improve productivity and efficiency without relying on information technology (IT) resources or expensive data warehouse infrastructures, explained Amanda Thompson and Victoria Bruce in the session, “Achieving Continuous Improvement with Real-time Operations Visibility.”

此外,数字洞察有助于最大限度地利用资产,阿什利·雷耶斯(Ashley Reyes)在会议上表示,“通过数字洞察最大限度地利用你的资产。”资产数据只是数据,直到有合适的平台来应用它。将数据转化为洞见,对资产做出更好、更明智的决定,以提高整体业绩和降低风险。跟踪和分析来自生产环境的数据,以制定正确的计划和战略,并做出数据驱动的决策,帮助驱动最关键的业务结果。

7. Enable remote operators to increase workforce productivity.Remote operators help operations management, information technology and automation management. Physical location availability challenges manufacturing, but even with regulations on safety and safe distancing, productivity can increase, according to Kris Dornan, Al Letourneau and Tom Jordan, in the session, “Visualization: What’s New and What’s Next.”

8. Capture operational process data for better analytics and data management.Those in IT, engineering, operations and management can benefit from historian software “to gain supervisory control, performance monitoring and quality assurance,” explained Paul Haikal. The session, “Capture Operational Process Data with FactoryTalk Historian,” explained that manufacturing historian software quickly captures operational process data from multiple sources while scaling from machine to enterprise, he said.

9.人工智能(AI)在自动化领域的应用,正在帮助企业增加自主运营。Digital transformation helps companies augment legacy control strategies with prescriptive machine learning capabilities to achieve greater production throughput and yields, said Mithun Nagabhairava in the session, “The Autonomous Enterprise: How AI is Advancing Automation to Autonomy.”

10. Digital transformation is making manufacturing smarter, just in time. Adversity in the form of skilled worker shortages, supply chain disruption, and risk mitigation are challenging the norms of manufacturing. New and upgraded technologies are helping companies resolve these ongoing challenges, said Gerry Abbey, in the session, “The 2022 State of Smart Manufacturing Report: Key Findings.”

11. Drive higher margin with operational rigor and data visualization.A suite of manufacturing solutions helps govern operational behavior and increase the accuracy, output, and visualization of data to increase margins, drive more efficient operations, and automate business processes, explained Jodi Hunt. Achieving manufacturing objectives while planning digital transformation requires modern, secure machine control with increased uptime, quality, and cost efficiency. A well-planned visualization system can enable growth and efficiency today, while preparing a plant for the flexible operations and analytics of the future, said Sue Burtch and Kim Kyanka, in the session, “Achieve Your Modernization Objectives with Centralized Visualization.”

12. Transform production with the digital twin.Manufacturing leaders across industries are embracing digital twin solutions as a core part of a digital transformation strategy, said Leo Moran and Brian Ding, Kalypso, in the session, “Transforming Production with the Digital Twin.”

13. Virtual commissioning uses 3D emulation software to make digital engineering more productive.在自动化设备建成之前,软件可以帮助开发和调试控制代码。使用仿真软件将可编程自动化控制器连接到设备的3D数字模型。罗克韦尔自动化公司(Rockwell Automation)的Tyler Phillips和Antoon Lane在会议上表示,模拟可以降低投资风险,改善上市时间,并通过虚拟现实沉浸式体验提高理解,“使用仿真3d软件演示进行虚拟调试”。Hector Jimenez在《数字工作者的一天:增强现实用例》中说,数字工作者使用增强现实工具获取程序性信息,以取代过时的手册,并为新一代工作者做好准备。

14. Simplify lifecycle management of assets.Do you know when assets are near the end of life? When they need patching? What assets, versions, series, and software are in the plant? Keeping the system current has never been more important, but the scale of that task continues to grow in size and complexity, said Dave Rapini. Software helps manage assets as a service that can be included with the latest process control software, in Rapini’s session, “PlantPAx System ID: Simplify Management of Your Assets Lifecycle.”

15. Process automation software can combat the skilled workforce shortage.全球制造商发现越来越难找到熟练工人,导致职位空缺和高培训成本。Plex产品管理副总裁Tony Kaczmarek在“用流程自动化解决技术劳动力短缺”的会议上解释了自动化流程如何帮助填补全球技术制造劳动力短缺的问题。

– Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager,Control Engineering,CFE Media and Technology,mhoske@cfemedia.com, using information from Plex Systems and Rockwell Automation.

KEYWORDS: Automation, digital transformation, cybersecurity


Are you usingadvanced, automated digital tools to improve manufacturing operations?

Mark T. Hoske

Author Bio:Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.