Panel Builder US

January 18, 2021

By Johannes zu Eltz, Vice President, Global Market Access, Rockwell Automation

Digital transformation is one of the most urgent issues confronting manufacturers – it’s no longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘when and how?’ Right now, many companies are somewhere on the continuum of digital transformation, working to connect isolated systems and processes to support modern Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies.

And while the need is great, especially with increasing global complexity and supply chain challenges, few companies can offer everything a manufacturer needs to realize a full digital transformation – including ways to bridge technical and cultural gaps between production and business systems.

Partner Ecosystems Accelerate Transition to Smart Manufacturing

The pain points are significant for companies attempting digital transformation as a solo activity. The simple truth is this: you will need different partners from a broad ecosystem to achieve your goals and to deliver value to your customers.

It’s those partners who will understand Information Technology (IT) structure and security, and most importantly bridge the gap between IT and Operations Technology (OT). They have the deep expertise to leverage technology – hardware and software – to solve an immediate problem and support systems moving forward.

Partnerships Help Manufacturers Achieve More

If you are navigating IT/OT convergence challenges, one way you can more quickly and seamlessly realize your digital transformation vision and goals – including improving security, reducing operational risk, and enhancing business integration, performance, and continuity – is to utilize the combined strengths of industry-leading companies.

Rockwell Automation and Cisco have a long-time strategic alliance that combines Cisco's global leadership position and domain expertise in IT networking and security with our OT domain and automation expertise. The goal of our strategic alliance is to help manufacturers become more agile, optimize production yield, and minimize risk.

This is important if you want to:

  • Modernize your operations through a convergence of OT and IT.
  • Develop a network architecture that reduces complexity and risk while providing end-to-end visibility and control of all assets.
  • Stronger Together

We selected Cisco as a strategic partner because they extend our portfolio and offer technology specifically around security and networking that extends value to our customers.

This relationship is two best-of-breed companies coming together to create the full value for customers. We are stronger together than we are alone.

In recognition of the strength of this partnership, at Cisco’s annual partner conference, Rockwell Automation was honored with the EMEA IoT/Industry Partner of the Year Award. We were recognized for innovation, leadership, and best practices as a Cisco business partner across EMEA.

This recognition validates what we do and how we work. Cisco, a leader in the IT space, acknowledges the value of this partnership and our partner-friendly culture.

When it’s time to pick your partner for your digital transformation, look first at companies who believe in what they can offer and who have chosen the strongest partners to fill the gaps. Then, use those partners to create the right blueprint to design and deploy the industrial network infrastructure you need.



Editor's Pick: Featured Product News


Data Centre and Plant Managers working in small and mid-sized businesses often find themselves searching their buildings for unused space to house the company’s IT and other enclosures.

Mailrooms, empty offices, janitors’ closets…all have been repurposed into data closets holding one to a few racks. This approach may be the right choice in terms of square footage needed, but when it comes to proper climate conditions for sensitive IT equipment, it could not be more wrong. At best, these spaces are cooled using only the building’s AC system. At worst? An open window.

A building’s existing air conditioning system (or combined heat and air conditioning system) is designed to create comfortable environments for employees – the reason they are sometimes referred to as “comfort systems.” When IT racks need to be placed somewhere on site, it’s thought that “any old room” will do because AC ductwork usually terminates in these spaces. However, the reality is that even if you were to add ducts to supplement the building’s AC, relying on a system designed for humans is not a good solution for IT equipment.

Server rooms need more targeted cooling to keep the temperature within a specific range and prevent the servers from overheating. According to ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers), the appropriate temperature range for server rooms is between 64.4 and 80.6 Fahrenheit. This requires a discrete cooling solution capable of monitoring and managing the temperature of both the equipment and the room. The same cooling system must also be capable of regulating humidity within the precise margins required by sensitive equipment. Finally, building HVAC will not provide sufficient airflow volume for heat removal from installed appliances; the CFM requirements for comfort cooling are significantly lower than airflow required to remove heat from the IT devices.

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binder has recently made key additions to its M16 connector series. They are versions that meet the very high data speeds required by the latest sensor-based automation systems and an ASIG-compliant model used in wireless networks including 5G.

binder has been at the forefront of M16 connector development since the 1970s working to widen the range of applications for these versatile circular connectors. Today’s models can accommodate up to 24 contacts – with or without EMI shielding. With mainly metal housings and a robust screw locking system, M16 connectors provide environmental protection up to IP68.

The combination of a high pin count with the compact size of nominally 18.5mm diameter and 60mm in length means M16 connectors offer an excellent alternative to more expensive connector systems. M16 connectors accommodate cables ranging from 4.0 to 10mm diameter, are rated to 250V and can withstand an impulse voltage up to 1500V, with current handling of up to 7A (at 40ºC).

Suitable for 5G roll out

The latest applications for M16 connectors include the impending roll-out of 5G networks where binder’s ASIG-compliant connectors have been designed to provide high international protection for selected outdoor installations. The AISG (Antenna Interface Standards Group) defines standards for the control and monitoring of antenna line devices in the wireless industry.

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Convergint Technologies recenrlt announced the acquisition of Advantage Medical Inc. (AMI), a leader in the deployment and support of wireless patient security systems in acute care hospitals. The acquisition further strengthens Convergint’s position within the healthcare safety and security market across the United States. 

Advantage Medical Inc. brings Convergint over thirty years of healthcare industry expertise, with a specialization in patient security and Real Time Location Systems (RTLS). AMI’s commitment to delivering innovative healthcare solutions is supported by its comprehensive approach to providing security solutions to mitigate risk and enhance protection in healthcare facilities. The company’s dedication to meeting each customer’s unique need aligns with Convergint’s culture.

“Advantage Medical embodies similar values to Convergint; they embrace a culture-first community centered on colleagues and are committed to being their customers’ best service provider,” said Ken Lochiatto, CEO of Convergint Technologies. “We look forward to joining our teams, learning from one another, and further deepening our expertise to continue to deliver best-in-class safety and security solutions across the healthcare industry.”

“There is an amazing alignment between the organizational cultures of AMI and Convergint Technologies,” said Dan Rea, President & CEO of AMI. “We have both centered our businesses around a similar philosophical approach: the customer comes first, and failure is not an option. AMI is looking forward to the opportunities this new relationship will bring to existing and new customers alike.”

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