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Giants such as Siemens, Schneider and Rockwell tell you why they are so powerful

Last Updated on 2020-04-29 Hits:5010

Whether it is Industry 4.0, or intelligent manufacturing and industrial Internet, it brings people a renewed industrial style. The involvement of a large number of ICT vendors and Internet of Things vendors has added support to new cutting-edge companies such as artificial intelligence and big data analysis, and the entire industry's digital market is bustling. This makes people feel that industry is being threatened by ICT. However, after three or four years, it is still the automation manufacturers that take a closer look and truly enable the digital transformation of factories and workshops.


This is not surprising. In this market, they have always determined the operation rules of the factory for higher quality, higher efficiency, lower cost and shorter delivery time. If you start from the first programmable PLC used in General Motors factories, automation has never wavered in the factory ’s dominance for fifty years.


However, in the global $ 200 billion automation market, these manufacturers have long been unrecognizable. If the digital industry is the change that people are most looking forward to, the beginning of the most dramatic effect of this drama is that automation manufacturers seek change first, and manufacturers follow behind. In other words, the big face change of automation manufacturers is a digital and intelligent foreplay.


Boring face


In October 2019, the American "Control" magazine released the Top 50 in the field of automation in 2018. Here you can find that the source of smart manufacturing is a highly surprising oligopoly market. Siemens, Emerson and ABB occupy the top three (ABB's official website claims to be the second in the industrial automation market), followed by Schneider, Rockwell and Mitsubishi Electric. Of the top ten, the United States has four, Japan has three, and Germany, Switzerland, and France each have one. However, if you look at the number of Top 50, Germany is undoubtedly the world's largest automation power, with 19 companies entering the Top 50, and Siemens ranked first with 13.7 billion US dollars. The third is Japan, with 9 companies. What many people may not think is that the United States is ranked second, with 15 companies, more than 30%, closely followed by Germany. When we all think that Germany and Japan are manufacturing powerhouses, we must know that the United States is also a superpower in automated manufacturing, overtaking Japan.

The three countries of Germany, the United States and Japan have arranged 86% of the top 50 places in the world. France and the United Kingdom basically took over the rest. (The big dark horse of China's automation-Huichuan Company has not been counted. The sales of Huichuan in 2018 are 5.8 billion yuan, which should probably rank about 40th. This may be due to the lack of visibility of the international market of Incheon Caused).

This authoritative media in the field of automation, every year, the top 50 global automation manufacturers. But the ranking has not changed much. The automatic three-strength silk remains unchanged: Germany, the United States and Japan. Although the automation market has undergone major technological changes, those who want to see the bustle will always be disappointed.


There is no unpopular story in the field of automation. The leading position of leading suppliers has always been rock solid. Traditional large-scale suppliers such as Siemens, ABB, Emerson, Schneider Electric, Honeywell, Rockwell Automation and Yokogawa continue to dominate the automation field, as stable as Taishan, and even no signs of shaking.
 
IT savages dig the corners of automation


Since August 2018, the software appetite of Internet giants has invaded the territory of established industrial manufacturers. Industrial automation has been tainted by IT vendors, and more ambitious software predators have broken through the doors of factories and swarmed. Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have all announced plans to provide data storage and related services to the oil, gas, and other process industries. If Microsoft's Windows interface has long been in the industrial field for many years without being noticeable, then the power represented by Google and Amazon is "the good will not come."


Amazon cloud service company AWS is about to provide services in the oil and gas professional field. Where do their best employees come from? As you can guess, they favor the senior employees of GE, Schneider AVEVA and Emerson. Microsoft and Google also like to recruit employees in the automation ecosystem.


Of course, oil and gas are just the beginning. There are no special barriers for chemical, pharmaceutical, public utilities and other manufacturing industries.


A chill should have risen behind automation vendors.


However, the barbarians who break into the door have no attachment to hardware. The hardware business of automation suppliers, from control valves and motors, to sensors, distributed control systems, etc., or manufacturing execution systems MES, are not very much in their basket . They just want to pull the meat in the basket. What they want is manufacturing data and data services. The most terrible thing is that they want to connect all the data, because only in this way will the value be maximized. Yes, the customer data of traditional automation manufacturers has always been a closed garden: different vendors, although the equipment on the scene is accompanied by neighbors, but the data is not related to each other. The artificial gullies constructed by such enterprises themselves have created their own wealth. However, this business practice based on "isolated automation" is facing a situation of siege by IT barbarians. However, barbarians are not able to succeed everywhere. The sky is well driven by clouds, and Fengpo falls everywhere. The data center-is a universal wrench that Aliyun has tinkered with. It hopes to unscrew the data nut of each machine. However, although the wrench is well designed, it is easy to break under the diamond cover of the automation manufacturer. Some of the pitfalls are that these automation vendors who have been dealing with machines for a lifetime can find the value of data in new ways.


In the past two years, Honeywell has launched a product called Experion LCN (Local Control Network), which is to repair its launch of the most classic plant-wide integrated control system TPS in 1996. If you consider the TDC system of the previous two decades, this is simply a 40-year repair and connection. It's really a time and space journey. ELCN combines simulation and visualization to replace the local control network (LCN) that has been used since the 1980s. ELCN can let the original application software and management interface, use the latest network, and can even be a cloud platform that is cost-effectively deployed. It is seamlessly integrated with Honeywell's control system PKS and Industrial Internet. In the eyes of large end users, ELCN "reset the outdated odometer in the old system." In other words, decades of old users can now choose to use more modern hardware while maintaining their existing configuration and management software, even though these software are very old.


ELCN is a classic of "software activates old hardware" and appears to be a transitional solution, but it provides visualization and reduces coaxial connections to save space. This conservative automation is probably not what IT manufacturers like. But large chemical users can still tolerate this speed.


IT likes industry so much, it likes to dig the corners of automation employees. For automation vendors, this is an annoying cold wind.

From mechatronics to "electromechanical software"


No matter how reluctant radicals are, we still need to see that the capabilities of global automation suppliers determine the level of smart manufacturing. Smart manufacturing is built on the foundation of automation.


The two most noticeable elements in digitalization: one is flooded data and the other is software for knowledge containers. These two, which initially experienced the panic of IT shocks, have gradually become the darling of automation vendors.


The data site in the factory has been dominated by automation suppliers for decades. The various hardware they provide including sensors, controllers, and software programs are silently generating a large amount of data, of which only a very small part of the data has entered the channel of value extraction.


Big data analysis is expected to change this rule. It is now in the early stages of software leading and disrupting the established order. In particular, a large number of IT companies, through the popularization of cloud storage and analysis, have brought users a whole new set of cost calculation rules and the expectation of simplified interoperability. In a trickle, more customers will gradually adopt software-based products.


Many automation manufacturers have to beware of this. Digital transformation stems from the transformation of factory automation, information and digitalization. However, what is meaningful is that the digital transformation first changes the automation supplier itself. All future-oriented automation suppliers are accelerating the pace of embracing software.


The story of Siemens ’active software deployment is well known. It has conveyed an unshakable saint ’s conviction for more than a decade: automation vendors can only achieve strategic transitions through software. Just as quantum jumps to higher energy orbits must absorb photons, software is the prey photon of the automation business. The independent software vendors who are slim and relatively small have always been natural prey of the five big and three thick, burly automation manufacturers. Since 2006, Siemens has spent an astonishing $ 14 billion to enter the top software merchant clubs in the world. However, its annual output value is only more than 4 billion US dollars. If it weren't for the hardware with big eyebrows, it would definitely be a pain. However, with software, the story of the hardware can be told well, and the price of the packaged hardware can be sold high. I believe that the hardware department of Siemens is both annoying and hateful to the software division but it is inseparable. Fighting between departments is indispensable, but the unity of digital upgrading has been communicated to the outside world. This is the strategic strength, which is also the best strategy lesson Siemens can give traditional automation vendors.


Schneider Electric is also actively planning. In 2013, Invensys was acquired, and a large basket of good dishes such as Foxboro DCS system, Wonderware configuration software, and Triconex security were handy. If this is still a part of the internal acquisition of automation, then its focus on PLM design software will make the relationship between the software and automation clear. After missing the best opportunity for PTC (PTC is really a "dream lover" for automation vendors), Schneider Electric completed a "reverse acquisition" of AVEVA in 2017, retaining 60% of the combined portfolio. AVEVA is also the pioneer of the earliest pioneer of computer design software CAD, and has a strong team of mathematics left by Cambridge, England. It eventually became the key design software for engineering information systems such as factory buildings and shipbuilding. After the merger and acquisition of AVEVA, Schneider Electric also injected the previous Wonderware software into AVEVA. The integration of design software and automation software will be standard for automation manufacturers. Such mergers and acquisitions are positioning balls outside the goal penalty area and have decisive strategic value. In 2018, Schneider Electric once again acquired the IGE + XAO Group, which focuses on electrical CAD and simulation, and used this strategic positioning ball more skillfully.


The latest news is that Schneider Electric planned to acquire the German construction software developer RIB Software in February for 1.4 billion euros, waiting for shareholders' approval in Jing. This means that Schneider's "electrification + digitization" in the construction field continues to run fast. Half of Schneider's revenue comes from the sales of construction and data center products, and the future construction will be All-Digital and All-Electric. Under such circumstances, the German RIB's cloud-based products are crucial to the field of digital construction and operations. Schneider is carefully building the industrial software group AVEVA, but at present, RIB should not be merged into AVEVA, but a new member of the independent combat. This will lead to another big game of Schneider Electric. In April last year, Schneider Electric and Carlyle Investment Group Carlyle planned to set up a joint venture called AlphaStruxure to design and engineering distributed energy and microgrids. The two have previously formed a strategic alliance to deploy microgrids in large infrastructure projects. This time, it means that the deep integration of building information model BIM software will completely change the traditional appearance of infrastructure. The National Development and Reform Commission announced the concept of "new infrastructure" in late April, which was a surprise. The new generation of information infrastructure, in addition to 5G, Internet of Things, satellite network, actually includes industrial Internet. The concept is really confusing. Looking at the practice of Schneider in France, we can better understand the new infrastructure. Those cement rebars that were reactivated by the software have given the traditional infrastructure a whole new energy.


ABB's performance was unsatisfactory. In the automation market of automation, discrete control and robotics, ABB's annual report shows that sales in 2019 will be around 10 billion. Without the acquisition of B & R, ABB's performance in the digital field can only be expressed in bad terms. The elephant is either a little tired, or is blinded by the success of the robot. It wasn't until the acquisition of Austria's B & R, a cold automation lone ranger, in 2017 that the situation was considered to be half back. Although B & R only has a revenue of about US $ 600 million per year, its outstanding performance in high-end PLC and automation software is definitely the best prey for large automation manufacturers. These small automation companies have always been masters of rivers and lakes, and it is often possible to be acquired only when the family founder is burnt out or other occasional opportunities. With this kind of treasure, ABB automation is only a bright spot in the field of automation software. After that, it still took two years to complete the matching between ABB robot and B & R software. It seems that integration is not easy.

The latest strategic patch of ABB comes from the strategic cooperation reached with Dassault at the beginning of last year. ABB conducts modeling and simulation before delivering solutions to customers. Technologies such as digital twins will be gradually introduced in ABB's four business segments. However, this kind of cooperation, just like its cooperation with Microsoft and HP, cannot explain too many problems. The alliance on the rivers and lakes has gone more, embedding products into each other, just to make the user experience better, and does not allow an automation enterprise to have a substantial improvement in strategy.


Software is not Japan ’s strong point, but it does not affect Japanese automation vendors ’sudden and refreshing layout. 2016 was Yokogawa ’s most dynamic year, and it changed the shape of the brand through a series of software acquisitions. This includes Industrial Tianyan IE (cloud-based, shared as a service plant data), British KBC (process simulation and consulting services for oil and gas), and SVM (energy management and optimization solutions). Yokogawa subsequently integrated all SVM and IE into KBC, and realized the simulation of oil and gas engineering, which has also become the pillar of Yokogawa's new software. In May 2019, Mitsubishi Electric acquired Iconics, a U.S. automation software developer, to strengthen its human-machine interface, Internet of Things, and data analysis capabilities in industrial and building automation. This company, which has installed 350,000 sets of software, is part of Mitsubishi Electric's enhancement of its software capabilities in areas such as edge computing.


In the 1970s and 1980s, Japan proposed mechanical and electrical integration, also known as mechanical and electronic engineering, which is a combination of mechanical engineering and automation. It has completely changed the face of mechanical automation in the past. Today, software technology is integrated with mechatronics, which I call "mechanical softwareization". No automation manufacturer, nor a manufacturer, can get rid of the impact from "electromechanical software".


Based on the strategy of giving priority to software and conforming to the trend of "mechanical software", automation vendors have become completely unrecognizable.

Or add or subtract focus on the main channel


In some cases, many large suppliers are undergoing reforms, restructuring, and even "de-diversification." In 2019, Siemens finally resolutely divested its natural gas and power businesses. The divestiture of Siemens Energy is becoming the focus of this year, and it is expected that the company's public listing will be completed in September this year. The current CEO Kai Sa was nominated as the chairman of the Siemens Energy Supervisory Board. The CEO has already been determined, and even the current Chief Financial Officer of Digital Industry Group (DI) was also sent. New domestic companies are also registered.


80% of ABB's power grid business was also sold to Hitachi in December 2018; GE gave up most of Baker Hughes' control without suspense-this business used to cost GE about $ 34 billion.


No. 7 Honeywell of the United States separated its home furnishing product portfolio and ADI distribution business into a Resideo company with a production value of $ 4.5 billion focusing on smart homes in December 2018; the transportation system was also split. Honeywell, on the other hand, has increased its focus on the Performance Materials Technology Group (PMT), whose Honeywell UOP provides technical and software services for the global oil and gas industry; and the Process Control Department The industry leader in basic automated control systems, instruments and related services. The separation is to better focus on industrial automation and software services.


Mergers and acquisitions is the main theme to maintain the market. Take the British instrument company Spectrics as an example, the number of mergers and acquisitions has reached 40 in the past ten years.

In 2015, Omron acquired Adept Corporation, the largest industrial robot manufacturer in the United States, for 200 million US dollars, and also acquired the multi-axis controller Delta Tau, and entered the robot industry with small loads. Compared with the previous discrete component products such as sensors, measuring instruments, PLCs, etc., the acquisition of robots has made Omron's product form more integrated. The artificial intelligence coaching robot that can play table tennis has become the ambassador of Omron's external display of Factory Harmony. In 2017, Omron once again acquired the US-based industrial barcode reader and machine vision Microscan for US $ 157 million. This full-scale expansion of the production line is behind the addition of IoT technology. Almost all objects on the manufacturing floor, including raw materials, equipment and robots, are starting to connect.


Coincidentally, Mitsubishi Electric acquired a wholly-owned robot startup company Realtime Robotics in 2019. In terms of robots, Mitsubishi Electric launched the MELFA series of industrial robots, and added visual capabilities, force sensors and artificial intelligence technologies to achieve high-speed, high-precision pickup and control solutions. It is expected to see Mitsubishi Electric's new industrial robot system this year.


These silent focuses are the core business of automation, and motion control is the core cornerstone. Of course, the rapid development of technology has also created some new challenges in the traditional automation supplier business model, one of which is how to transition to software management services. Increasing the company's size and filling in the gaps in automation products, such acquisition momentum still exists, but around the software restructuring business, for automation strategists, it seems to be a more interesting Sudoku game.


The strategy of Chu Jun on the industrial Internet platform


Each major supplier has an IoT strategy, including their own cloud services, and a comprehensive digital plan that spans its software product range. All suppliers are pursuing their own IIoT and digital strategies and solutions. ABB has ABB Ability; PlantWeb from Emerson; Connected Plant from Honeywell; Connected Enterprise from Rockwell Automation, EcoStruxure from Schneider Electric and MindSphere from Siemens, and the young master Ge Predix.


The application of these scenarios does not have to be complicated. Emerson's PlantWeb digital ecosystem, through Microsoft Azure, plays a role at the sensor / actuator level of the Industrial Internet. Through analysis and applications, it enhances the in-depth understanding of assets and plant performance, and reduces the complexity of wireless installation, commissioning, and connecting equipment.


These platforms are simply solutions. They are all called industrial Internet platforms in the Chinese market. Chinese players are playing with great enthusiasm, but in the actual promotion and application, these international automation manufacturers still show an extremely cautious attitude. After years of hardening, the ideas of automation manufacturers have been basically clear. In terms of strategic positioning, the industrial Internet platform has established the status of prince and is the future crown prince.

With the introduction of virtualization technology and digital technology, users are becoming familiar with the value that business IT and computing technology can provide. The typical gap between IT technology and operational technology in the field of OT can be reduced from the previous 10 years to a few years. This digital transformation may be promoted by users. This is obviously different from the past technology adoption. The oil giant ExxonMobil users have promoted the open automation OPAF movement. This movement can be seen as a "betrayal" of Emerson, the overlord who occupies a large process control system. The latter's closed DCS control system and IT architecture do not give the cloud-based fresh air a penetration gap. This organization is developing rapidly, and Emerson has wilfully opted out of OPAF. But if OPAF is going well-a very obvious fact, then Emerson may have to rejoin in an awkward future. All these make automation vendors have to embrace and beware of cloud computing vendors.


These changes still take time. And all that is missing is credit for the Industrial Internet. The potential of the industrial Internet platform cannot be underestimated, but the rapid advancement is prone to all-encompassing, chaotic, and overshadowed complexity of the core industrial problems. The development of the Industrial Internet has its own historical track, which can be called the "internalization, externalization, and plug-in" syllogism: opening up the internalization of enterprise business processes, the externalization stage to achieve the integration of manufacturing services, and a platform that empowers the industry Plug-in stage.

The positioning of the giants of foreign automation manufacturers on the industrial Internet platform is a strategy that can be attacked and retreated. Obviously they are all placed in the stage of "internalization and externalization". This is a brief lesson. Four years ago, GE Digital ’s 26,000 horses entered the “plug-in” stage with Predix, and many automation manufacturers also have the same envy and strategic impulse: Honeywell ’s Internet of Things platform has also been repeated many times. The strategic height of Siemens MindSphere is also up and down. Finally, with the downturn of Predix, the low-key retreat to the "externalization" stage. Last year, providing P & G with GE Predix manufacturing data cloud MDC was a very good breakthrough. For these giants, it is better to serve large customers first. Things that empower the industry can be said aloud but not immediately. The foreign industrial Internet platform is the tiger skin that is on the wall, and it can't stand the cult. Because looking at the past carefully, the names of the industrial Internet platforms of some companies are even the cloaks used many years ago. However, there are still many new elements added. As a platform for "internalization" and "externalization", it is still an excellent strategy. The Internet of Things platform has naturally become the standard configuration of the automation giant. Many interesting things are happening, but that is not the main battlefield.


From enterprise cloud to enterprise branch


The key to the development of the Industrial Internet lies in the awakening of industry itself. Enterprises on the cloud, from the perspective of China's practice, are more likely to be criticized for being aimless. This is more like a cloud platform provider with another abacus, plus a unilateral push formed by overzealous policies. The factory still calculates the feasibility of cost-benefit according to actual needs.


Many of the data collected by the Internet of Things, if processed in the cloud, will have many concerns: speed, security, and necessity. And edge computing makes these better processed. Even judging from the achievements of telecom operators striving to promote 5G in the past year or two, users pay more and more attention to the data achievements of edge computing. This also makes automation manufacturers find their feelings.


Judging from the big trends, the edge intelligence closest to machines, control and sensing will become a key position for automation vendors. The demand for edge computing will increase more and more, and the demand is also great. Many of the data are "burned after reading," and will die out in a flash. If these data are directly introduced into the cloud, it will be a disaster. And edge computing is making traditional hardware start to process data, instead of just a data channel as before. More computing power is being grafted on the hardware.


In the design of EagleEye, a new generation of embedded smart camera, Advantech has integrated the IPC with the lens. The powerful industrial computer is embedded in the camera together with the algorithm. This greatly improves the capacity of the controller on the edge side. Omron's visual lens also uses this method, adding a lot of preprocessing.


Mitsubishi is pushing the edge computing alliance EdgeCross in Japan. Omron, NEC, and Advantech have also joined. Because the edge side needs to preprocess big data. This is one of the most influential impacts that traditional automation companies feel from the Internet of Things. Automation companies must deal with computing power. EdgeCross encourages alliance members to put a part of the analysis function on the industrial control computer side, which also makes Mitsubishi popularize eFactory for many years, and restarts to strengthen the hub position of the industrial computing machine MELIPC based on edge computing. The function is embedded in it. Due to the emergence of edge computing, the old guys of PLC and IPC, which were almost marginalized, have regained their youth again, and the C position has come to power.


The motion control system is also put on the table one by one. Those traditional executive agencies, etc., are all waiting to be part of a long list of "edge computing" nutrient solutions. For example, the slide rails and ball screws of THK in Japan and Taiwan Silver, and the actuators of Festo in Germany, all started to collect data and were controlled by data analysis.


Edge computing power is strengthening, data layering effect is obvious, some are at the edge of control, some are at the end (such as the lens), and more complex are only going to the cloud. For example, sensors for vibration analysis belong to high-frequency data and will not be uploaded directly. Instead, it needs to extract the characteristic values, filter a part, and then enter the IPC of the industrial computer. Each link has a corresponding data processing method, and behind this is a deep insight into industry knowledge. At the same time, with the accelerated popularity of 5G, it has also accelerated the prevalence of mobile edge computing MEC. It can be said that 5G has found a business model for sinking factories. It is no longer an independent third-party pipeline, but is very likely to become part of the factory assets. This huge change will not be ignored by automation vendors. Edge computing has become a new star everywhere.


This is the most skilled position for automation manufacturers. ICT vendors are laymen. It is for this reason that robot manufacturers attach great importance to the progress of this position. Both KUKA and Fanuc have made great efforts. As far as domestic industrial Internet platforms are concerned, these robot manufacturers are more focused on the precise layout of edge computing. Fanuc has made a second investment in a Japanese artificial intelligence company rookie Preferred Networks, just to ensure that FANUC can continue to consolidate the bastion in the advantages of CNC systems, servo systems and robots.


At the end of 2017, Yokogawa unexpectedly released the brand-new automation brand "Synaptic Business Automation (neuron)". Synapse is a key part of the connection of information related to neuron function. This not-so-understandable term expresses countless scattered automation nodes that will be connected without a level to realize the free flow of data. This is an imaginary song about the future automation system. It vividly allows us to think about the communication, control, and data command transmission paths in the future automation field, and edge computing will become an extremely busy data port.


The in-depth defense of edge computing is an advanced defense card that automatically confronts IT vendors. Rather than saying "enterprise going to the cloud", it is better to say "enterprise support", which can make the plant owners happy to hear it. Moving towards edge computing has allowed automation to regain confidence in the menacing cloud computing vendors.

Process and discrete handshake


The automation trends in the process industry and discrete manufacturing are on the road closer to each other. In the reorganization plan of Siemens in 2019, the process industry that was separated from previous years was re-merged with the digital factory to form the Digital Industry Group, and it was difficult to promote the merger of various departments into a unified business.


And this is also the weakness of the process automation giant that has always wanted to make up. The most restless is Emerson, which ranks third in global automation, and has been eager to make a name for itself in discrete manufacturing.


In 2017, Emerson had bid for nearly $ 28 billion to acquire Rockwell because the latter's resolute "anti-marriage" failed. Rockwell then adopted a three-handed defensive action. First, it quickly launched a large-scale stock repurchase program worth 1.5 billion US dollars, thereby enhancing its independence; secondly, investing 1 billion US dollars in PTC, one of the three largest CAD manufacturers in the world; and again in 2019 Strategic cooperation with ANSYS, the largest simulation company in the United States. The old man talked about being a teenager, holding the yellow to the left and Qing Cang to the right. This defensive technique of opening and closing the bow will make it difficult for Emerson to take another shot. Rockwell's strategic layout expresses how an automation vendor uses the software alliance to build its own new trenches.


Emerson needs to continue to fulfill this mission of entering discrete manufacturing. The acquisition of the GE Intelligent Platform business in 2018 has attracted countless attention because of the popularity of the GE industrial Internet platform. However, the GE intelligent platform is just a business with a revenue of more than 200 million US dollars, and it is still the traditional PLC and industrial PC, I / O and other related hardware and software and machine control technology. This kind of merchandise is generally not required by automation manufacturers, but Emerson has to bend down to pick it up. Who let himself have a shortcoming in the field of discrete control. I knew that I had picked up GE's human-machine interface system CIMPLICITY today, so why did I carelessly lose Jingzhou in the past. Invensys sold Wonderware, the flower of the man-machine interface system, to Schneider, who later armed it from a small software business unit into an independent brigade, and finally installed AVEVA as a reinforcement division. Autonomous predators, as long as they don't provoke IT too much, generally don't overturn their ships. Of course, occasionally splashing a little mud soup, that is also indispensable.

In the same year, Emerson also acquired AVENTICS, a German supplier of automated pneumatic technology, for more than 500 million euros. Can't help but interject, this brand is a long story. Originally a department of the old German industrial giant Mannesmann, Bosch Automation acquired Mannesmann's Rexroth in 2001, and the pneumatic department of Rexroth ran away from home in 2013 and operated independently. This is also a leader in power equipment and fluid automation, with annual sales of more than 400 million euros, and Emerson started at a fair price, which is really a jump in the price.
But Emerson ’s market share price is not good, and as of last week, it has fallen by nearly 30% a year. Nevertheless, the Wall Street stock market is still full of confidence in Emerson. This is probably the magic of an automation company.


There are many automation companies with discrete, process industry feet. With the power of the Internet of Things and cloud computing, including the penetration of distributed MES, the distance between these two different industrial industries is closer than ever. This also tests the new strategies of automation vendors.


Sober mid plate and later catfish


While large-scale suppliers are dominated by diversified businesses and their leading positions are rock-solid, medium-sized suppliers tend to focus on specialty businesses and make progress. Like Ametek Corporation of the United States, as a global leader in electronic instruments and electromechanical testing equipment, annual sales are about 5 billion US dollars. The German Endershaus E + H instrument and the German Pepperl + Fuchs P + F sensor, etc., have all shown vitality in the digital age. These companies are also repeating the story of large suppliers, and are actively welcoming the changes of the times. Taking Phoenix Electric in Germany as an example, this electrical and automation company, which started with terminals, has moved towards the integration of software and hardware through the PLCnext software open platform that integrates OT and IT, and the charging solution for charging piles has conformed. The trend of global re-electrification. These are the inevitable situations leading to the future. The converse can also explain that on the road of intelligentization and re-electrification, the strategic route that these medium-sized automation suppliers need to choose is actually not difficult. They seem to consciously or unintentionally set the chess game, all in line with the development of the times. The rest are just tactical ups and downs. There are no surprising laggards on this road. On the contrary, they are more alert than any other player.


The market is rock-solid, and the middle game is not panic. On the chessboard of those small players, there is another kind of wind and water scene. Smaller, independent companies are booming, and startups are emerging. Network security and data analysis have become the nursery beds of the new company.


These small startups that are constantly being born are often very focused, and big data and security offenses and defenses are paradise for them to linger on. Hundreds of such companies are emerging. Including Dragos, Seeq, etc., are related to network security, health security and environment (HSE), etc. The motivation for adopting the Internet of Things technology often comes from the promotion of the IT aspect of the business. However, before the true integration of IT and OT, an unprecedented loophole is being presented. The industrial network security strategy must give priority to and thoroughly solve this problem. In this sense, the security in edge computing is much higher than the technology of time-sensitive networks such as TSN and OPC UA. As the scope and impact of cyberattack threats continue to expand, while large automation vendors are struggling to cope with cybersecurity capabilities, these start-up companies that have gradually entered the cybersecurity market come at the right time.


Data analysis companies and machine learning companies are equally popular. Traditional machines and equipment suddenly burst out so much data, which is a distressing thing for maintenance personnel and factory IT personnel. Large cloud computing companies that step on Xiangyun from the sky cannot solve the scattered data analysis needs at the bottom. But these cloud computing companies opened the managers' minds from top to bottom, splitting the shell of the machine with a thunderbolt, and the data bloomed like the opened pomegranate seeds. Those data catcher companies that focus on the Internet of Things, or data analysis, are born with data as food, are waiting for such a moment. When the machine roared and the pomegranate opened, it was their happiest meal time.


These hard-working data-catcher companies can easily grow rapidly. Some of these suppliers may even cause serious competition to traditional automation suppliers. But it is more likely that the automation company that has been alert has subsequently acquired it. These vigorous start-ups can make automation tycoons live better. When the small fish grow to the right size, the big fish will eat them in one bite.
As a result of this free competition, more and more commercialized software, from data storage, to data calculation, to data closed-loop and even into control. The business model has also been disrupted, and IT service models that use software subscriptions as a source of income are entering the field of automation. Every small place changes every day.

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