02 October 2002
Emerson forms expert 'connect,' 'migrate' services unit
Hoping to convince users it's wise to replace legacy systems with advanced process control systems sooner rather than later, Emerson Process Management this week formed a brainy consulting services unit within the company's Performance Solutions division.
Called the Advanced Applied Technologies (AAT) group, the new services unit's 115 advanced controls specialists are charged with helping customers apply advanced automation technology and integrate their plants' control and data systems to stay a step ahead of their manufacturing competitors.
"The AAT team will focus on the two middle pillars, 'connect' and 'improve,' in the four buying occasions": build, connect, improve, and sustaining services, explained Dave Beckmann, senior vice president of marketing for Emerson's Performance Solutions division.
The AAT services group consists of veteran automation consultants, primarily from small professional engineering companies Emerson has been acquiring in recent years. Many have advanced college degrees and experience at control brain centers such as AspenTech and UOP. The 115 technical experts specialize in connecting plant process data with SAP-type enterprisewide systems and migrating users from legacy systems to advanced process control systems.
"Andy Chatha [president and founder] of ARC Advisory Group recently told us there are $63 billion worth of legacy systems 15 years old or older in need of replacement or improvement," Beckmann said. "If he's even half right, there's a lot of potential customers that will be coming to us for migration services."
Emerson envisions its AAT "connect" and "migration" experts will combine their process optimization and advanced control methodologies with Emerson's application and asset optimization knowledge to help users improve operations. The AAT team will consult with clients to analyze and benchmark current performance and then identify and implement improvement projects.
"Many clients have recognized that advanced automation solutions can simultaneously increase plant efficiency and reliability while reducing operating costs," said Jim Nyquist, Performance Solutions division president.
Specifically, initial focus areas for the group include consulting, design, and implementation services for control system and field instrumentation modernization and upgrades; process control system operational audits and process performance improvement programs; process variability reduction programs; advanced control and real-time optimization in process units, plantwide, off sites, and utilities areas; product blending tank movements and off-site management systems; process simulation; operator training simulation systems; plant production management system integration; automation educational services and training; and overall program planning for plant automation and production management system modernization, including expected benefit analysis and complete project costing.
"The economic payback from these applications is very high," said Nyquist. "We see increasing investment by our clients in these high value service areas."
Beckmann said AAT will produce about $50 million in annual revenues. Altogether, the Performance Solutions division's services component consists of 2,300 people producing $450 million in revenues "for all four pillars," the division marketing executive said.
Initial ATT studies and projects are already under way with more than a dozen leading companies in the oil and gas, refining, chemicals, and pulp and paper industries. Beckman said its 115 specialists use "systematic, well-tested, and rigorous methodology" developed long before Emerson bought the engineering companies.
One of Emerson's competitors last week also expanded its services area. Rockwell Automation's Global Manufacturing Solutions business bolstered its muscle in Central Europe with the acquisition of the engineering services and system integration assets of SPEL, spol. s.r.o. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The name of the new entity is Rockwell Automation Services s.r.o. It will be located in the existing SPEL headquarters in Kolin, Czech Republic, near Prague. Rockwell Automation and SPEL have been working together since the 1980s.
Rockwell Automation Services s.r.o. will design, build, and deliver automation systems for clients in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, and the U.K. The company employs 60 people, all of whom will continue to work at the Kolin facility.
- Jim Strothman
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