After more than two years, the Emerson Exchange Users’ Conference is back in person in Grapevine, Texas. At the keynote, Mike Allen, chairman of the Emerson Exchange board of directors, opened the event to a room of over 1500 people, sharing big news about the future.
Mike shared that this year’s Exchange is aimed at a “forward focus” as a changing world drives new trends in automation, noting that the people in attendance were
“driving the changes of tomorrow.”
Mike also shared exciting news, announcing that next year will feature a new users’ gathering, the Automation and Control Software User Event.
The future is boundless
But new events aren’t the only changes in store for Emerson. The future ahead of the automation industry is limitless, and Mark Bulanda, Emerson’s executive president of Automation Solutions joined the event to share how automation software and analytics will be a critical part of that future. Emerson will meet the future of control with a new strategy of boundless automation.
Mark shared that automation has been evolving faster than at any other point in history. The Purdue Model is beginning to flatten as seamless automation and cloud and enterprise connectivity become central to the way manufacturers operate. Much of this change, Mark explained, was driven by the move toward remote and autonomous operations that came out of social distancing needs during the global pandemic.
Today, organizations have access to more data than ever, and that data has become available just in time. Sustainability initiatives are taking plants by storm as decarbonization becomes a global imperative. And, Mark shared, to meet that imperative, Emerson has,
“designed, developed, and manufactured the most comprehensive digital automation portfolio in the industry: the Plantweb™ digital ecosystem.”
As we look to automation to optimize all aspects of the plant and the enterprise, embedding AI at all levels and pushing computing power to the edge making systems and personnel more responsive. Mark explained,
“The future of automation will be a seamless architecture integrating the intelligent field, the edge, and the cloud. We call this boundless automation. Operating models like autonomous and semi-autonomous operation are driving this. Data is needed—in context—by more people in more places.”
Optimizing with AspenTech
Mark detailed that a key part of meeting the future of automation is expanding Emerson’s portfolio to enable business and asset optimization at all levels. To accomplish this, Emerson has partnered with AspenTech, to provide end-to-end automation software solutions. AspenTech president and CEO Antonio Pietri joined Mark to share the vision of the partnership between Emerson and New AspenTech.
Antonio explored the idea of artificial intelligence as an impending disruptive technology. Process manufacturers have access to more data than ever, but also have fewer highly experienced people than ever to deal with that data. Moreover, much of the data is stored in poorly organized data lakes with little context, making it hard for operators to use. As Antonio explained,
“By consuming all this data in real-time, using high performance computing to process that data and generate insights, we believe technology will be able to learn in real-time, be able to adapt, and send signals to the plant or to the engineer or operator to improve decisions and unlock the ability for plants to self-sustain.”
Better sustainability through automation
Emerson’s chief sustainability officer, Mike Train, took the stage to elaborate on how automation will unlock a more sustainable future, explaining,
“The world has a deadline. Together we must reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This will not be easy but it’s not that different than what we do every day; driving efficiency, lowering costs, and reducing waste is perfectly aligned with driving decarbonization.”
Mike shared Emerson’s Greening Of, Greening By, Greening With initiative, wherein Emerson will help drive global sustainability by driving internal change, customer guidance and assistance, and public outreach.
To accomplish this, Emerson will follow science-based targets to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions and will use that same data coupled with its innovative technologies to help customers enact powerful changes through increased process optimization and efficiency. Mike explained that a key opportunity area is emissions management, sharing,
“Whether it’s greenhouse gases, fugitive emissions, or methane, this is really ground zero. There’s a tremendous opportunity to make an impact now. An important thing to remember is that efforts to reduce emissions are typically tied to improved operating performance as well.”
There will be far more to come as experts across a wide variety of industry verticals share their knowledge and experience with Emerson users this week. If you’re at the event, have a great time, and if not, you can follow the highlights throughout this week and next here at the Emerson Automation Experts Blog.