Updated: 7/1/06; 2:13:57 PM.
Gary Mintchell's Feed Forward
Manufacturing and Leadership.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Automation Minutes number 11 is posted.
4:54:27 PM    comment []

Here's a report from Carl Henning of PTO (Profibus organization) from the Siemens event. Hey Carl, say Hi to Wes out there. At any rate, I've never heard IT booed at a users event, but often there is a tension. At a recent users event (been to so many, I don't remember which one) where there were a couple of IT people in the session. The dialog is starting.

Carl (and everyone else), watch for a couple of specific articles in Automation World on this very topic, plus there will be a Webcast in November as part of our Ethernet series. In the shameless plug department, you can catch me moderating our "Ethernet to the I/O" Webcast tomorrow at 2 pm EDT. Go to to register.

Control Engineers Boo IT.

I'm in Las Vegas where we are exhibiting and presenting PROFIBUS and PROFINET at the Siemens user event.  At the Tuesday morning opening Tom Kopanski related a story told him by one of the editors attending the event.  At a nameless company's user gathering, IT was roundly booed.  I understand this reaction by control engineers but I can't accept it.  (Incidentally, the Siemens user event is not just attended by factory control engineers; there are process engineers and IT here, too.)


The PTO is not the right group to correct this problem.  I wish we were and we will do what we can.  But the magazines and companies like Siemens whose products span control and MES have to be catalysts for bridging this gap.  Synergies exist between control engineering and IT and they grow with the adoption of Industrial Ethernet.  I hope they come to realize that both departments belong to the same company and that the good of the company is served by their learning to cooperate.  Please, someone provide tools to help start the dialogue between these two departments.  Detail the requirements that differ.  Show them what they have in common.


(My apologies if this diatribe sounds familiar; I did blog about it before.)

11:14:25 AM    comment []

Believe it or not, I'm home this week. But that doesn't mean that there isn't another place to go. Wes Iversen, Automation World Managing Editor, is in Las Vegas at the Siemens users conference. Got a report from him last night. The conference used to be a process industry focus, probably a derivative from Moore. This year Siemens opened the conference to MES, discrete manufacturing and motion control users. The result was a tripling in size to about 600 people. Wes reports that the Siemens marketing people are keeping him very busy. Opening day speakers included Siemens Energy & Automation vice president Tom Kopanski who talked about the importance of innovation and collaboration. Customer presenters included James Tomlinson, head of automation for MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, who discussed the role of Siemens building automation and automation for the Cirque du Soleil show, and Tom Fitzgerald, executive vice president and senior creative director for Walt Disney Imagineering. I guess with that caliber of speaker, Kopanski had better talked about innovation .

I'm encouraged by all the talk of innovation that I'm hearing from automation industry executives. Perhaps that will propel a good 2007.
10:48:52 AM    comment []

Michael Saucier is starting to show results at his new company. Transpara Corp., manufacturer of mobile KPI applications build on OSIsoft PI, announced a pilot program at American Electric Power (AEP). The program began early last month and will run through the fall of this year. One group of employees of the commercial operations business, will be monitoring the status of AEP's generation fleet as well as external business factors such as RTO prices. The second group consists of members of the IT staff who will use the web-based software to monitor the status of AEP networks and computing resources.

"The main thing we're looking for is as fast notification of business-sensitive information as possible," explained AEP's Manager of Market Operations Support, Kevin Stogran. "Whether employees are in the office, away from their desktops in a meeting, or at home, this pilot program is bringing key information to their fingertips when they're not sitting in front of their computer."

Visual KPI is a web application that enables users in the process and utility industries to create and distribute real-time KPIs. Users can configure scorecards and KPIs and publish them for instant use by anyone in the organization or supply chain. Visual KPI supports dozens of different mobile devices, including the Blackberries and SmartPhones used by AEP.
10:09:28 AM    comment []

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