Automation “Cyber Physical Production Systems will Change the World of Automation”
Ready for the fourth industrial revolution? The merge of the digital plant and real life technology is at hand: Acquainting us on the latest trends of Fieldbus technology and process automation, Dr Gunther Kegel, CEO of Pepperl+Fuchs, enunciates how the recent advancements in this field will change the face of the automation sector...
PROCESS: How is the company leveraging the maximum from its latest strategy from being a sole producer of components to being a provider of complete turnkey solutions?
Dr Gunther Kegel: Solutions require a regional if not local focus. Therefore we decided to establish a Solution Engineering Center in most of our nine sales regions. At the end of last year, for example, we acquired the company GOVAN in Melbourne/Australia and turned it into our Solution Engineering Center for the Asia-Pacific region.
Out of these centers we offer a variety of boxes and enclosures that incorporate our electronic products and combine them with different explosion protection methods such as ex-p, ex-d and ex-e. Our solutions utilize stainless steel and GRP boxes for ex-e and ex-i, but aluminum for ex-d applications.
“Emerging Markets Appreciate new Technologies”
PROCESS: How do you look at the emerging markets in terms of acceptance of innovative technologies?
Dr Kegel: The emerging markets appreciate new technologies more as compared to the established industrial markets. The reasons are multiple: All emerging markets have a much younger population who value new technologies. The education in the emerging markets has been significantly improved during the last decade and young graduates are eager to implement what they have learned into a practical environment.
Protection of the installed base is not an issue in emerging markets. In the established industrial markets plants are built to serve over a period of 15 to 25 years as the saturated markets only allow long-term returns on investments. Here the chemical plants have to be very efficient; availability and reliability are the strongest requirements. As such the installations done years ago dictate the installed technology along the entire lifecycle.
Labor costs are considerably lower and this allows control engineers to spend some time on new technologies instead of living on blue prints only. The copy and paste approach in basic and detailed engineering is inexpensive and over time steadily helps to create a very mature and reliable solution. Unfortunately this approach does not support the integration of new technologies. The advantage of a new technology should always be promising enough to overcome the costs of moving from an approved solution towards a field of uncertainty.