Always a good read, Andrew Bond’s Industrial Automation Insider, e-published every month from the Garden of England, is a fearless commentator on the comings and goings in the Automation world.
Each month he highlights four or five quotes which encapsulate the themes of that issue. We publish these in the right hand border column of the Instrumentation Signpost and today we include them in the box on the right!
This publication is a reliable commentary not least because it is not dependent on vendor advertising but on the annual subscriptions or readers. It is a few pounds well spent.
He starts this issue in discussing the effects of what is called the “Global Downturn” on the major automation vendors. He considers that Yokagowa is suffering the most pain at this stage of the cycle. Indeed the top echelon of staff there have taken a 40% pay cut as the company reported losses of $400m and orders have dropped by 25%. Further cuts seem inevitable. Many in our sector have felt that the effects of what is happening in the world markets would not effect them. This is comprehensively laid to rest by these facts as well as those from other sources especially the 2008 results from the world’s second largest automation vendor ABB and in their first quarter results for this year.
Having digested that bad medicine we are informed of the good messages coming out from the sector. Wonderware updating its offering; optimistic soundings from Siemen’s British arm; Rockwell’s belief that in accordance with research on the American public’s attitudes to the modernising of industrial processes the US government will provide incentives for manufacturers to modernise their plants (Yes we can?); The English newspaper of record, The Sunday Times, reports that automation companies are “best to work for!” (But we always knew that, didn’t we?)
We especially like the fact that he highlights the launch of the Read-out Instrumention Signpost Blog on page eleven with some complimentary words about the Signpost which modesty precludes us quoting here!!
He reports that hardly had the loudspeaker system been turned off at ARC’s Forum in Orlando (FL US), where they announced the Syncade Smart Operations Management suite, than Emerson announced their first customer. Pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has specified the new software as part of the overall automation solution being provided by Emerson for its new facility in Devens, (Mass US).
And again in new reports from ARC it is reported that the Real-time Process Optimization and Training (RPO) and the Process Engineering Tools (PET) markets are expected to grow at respectively 9 and 11% compound between now and 2013, despite the current global economic downturn. As well as their specific content, the reports are significant because of being among the first from ARC to take into account the impact of the current slowdown in the global manufacturing environment. Capital expenditure in the developed world is expected to decline with many large capital projects being delayed or cancelled altogether. “For the next year or two, companies will be hunkering down and cutting costs to remain viable,” says ARC.
And so say all of us.
To read the full stories and to keep up with what is happening behind the scenes in our sector it is well worth the few pound to take out a subscription to Industrial Automation INSIDER.