Rockwell Automation announces a new partnership with Accenture and highlights the one-year anniversary of their partnership with PTC for a digitally connected enterprise.

Manufacturing Blog: Partnerships are the Future at Rockwell Automation Fair

Jan 14, 2020

by Carlos Gonzalez

It is difficult for a company to offer everything. So companies partner with other organizations to offer their customers solutions for all their needs. Apple, for example, offers buyers of their computers and tablets a subscription to Microsoft Office. While it might sound odd that Apple is offering a competitor’s product, the company understands that users are going to seek out the tools they need regardless of the brand. The idea is that it’s better to have these products work together and be part of one larger ecosystem.
Coming back from Rockwell Automation Fair, I’ve seen that industrial companies are no different.
This year’s big news was Rockwell’s announcement of a new partnership with Accenture. Accenture’s Industry X.0 will help Rockwell develop a digital platform to help move existing customers towards a connected digital enterprise.
Rockwell Automation's CEO Blake Moret and Accenture's Group Chief Executive Mike Sutcliff announce their industry partnership.
The partnership makes use of what each company does best. Rockwell’s long history in automation and Internet of Things (IoT) data-gathering equipment will now be analyzed via Accenture’s software, providing customers with analytics, system integration, and application development.
“By teaming up [with other companies], we reduce complexity, reduce risk, and achieve better results,” said Blake Moret, CEO of Rockwell Automation, on stage at Rockwell’s Perspectives media event.
Rockwell Automation has been on the partnering trend since last year’s fair, where they announced a game-changing partnership with PTC.
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In the year since they have joined forces, Rockwell’s FactoryTalk InnovationSuite is now supported by PTC’s software and provides data preparation and automated data discovery. Data is automatically pushed in applications or to the cloud, and it connects to legacy and new equipment.
“Our number one challenge is product integration,” said Keith Higgins, vice president of marketing and industrial IoT at Rockwell Automation. Higgins explained how the InnovationSuite today not only connects automatically to new hardware added to the network but can also discover legacy hardware, collecting data from both.
These metrics are then gathered and fed into the analytics software to create new predictive models. Rockwell’s FactoryTalk Analytics, combined with PTC’s software, is now using machine learning to execute models across applications and systems, allowing users to normalize their data and achieve better conclusions.
PTC is also benefiting from this partnership. According to Mark Gallant, senior director of marketing manufacturing solutions, the partnership with Rockwell Automation has introduced PTC to 20 new customers in 21 different countries. It has brought PTC into the automation and manufacturing world, expanding beyond product computer-aided design.
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The Vuforia suite of augmented reality tools help workers be more digitally connected and independent.
PTC has doubled down on industrial marketing and is now promoting its suite of augmented reality tools for manufacturing. Vuforia Chalk is marketed towards teleconferencing with AR enhancements. A demonstration at Automation Fair showed two tablets video chatting while drawing visual instructions and highlighting product features with barely any lag time. Vuforia Studio allows for the AR overlay of a system and providing instant operational information. Vuforia Expert Capture still seems to be the number one case providing common step-by-step procedures for workers via an AR headset or tablet.
Rockwell is showcasing these tools for good reasons. With so many of their customers-engineers out in the field, each one of these AR tools makes them more efficient and independent. Any engineer, regardless of experience, can pull up an AR device and receive instructions, guidance, and data on how to operate and run a system. For both PTC and Rockwell, this is the future of digitally connected workers.

Carlos M. González is special projects manager. 

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