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Top Automation CompaniesWorking with ARC this year, CONTROL magazine has cleaned up the criteria for their list of "Top-50 Automation Vendors". Editor Walt Boyes of CONTROL, and Larry O'Brien of ARC - well done !
If I might, let me list just the top 12 companies, showing how they change from Global to N. American rankings. For some well-known companies on the list, I'll provide my own commentary that might interest you.
Total worldwide sales for the top-50 companies is $65B, which represents the approximate market size for industrial automation; add just a couple % points for the combined sales of companies not listed.
The top 6 global companies shuffle their ranks in N. America. But the Japanese (7,8,10 worldwide) drop way behind in N. America, to 19,18 and 28 respectively.
With almost $2B revenue, Invensys jumps from 9 globally to 8 in N. America, while GE jumps from 11 to 7.
National Instruments keeps growing and is now 22 globally at over $700M revenue, jumping to 13 with 70% in N. America.
MTL (soon to be part of Cooper/Crouse-Hinds) is 40 globally at $175M, jumping to 32 in N. America. Intrinsic-safety rival Pepperl+Fuchs is 29 worldwide at $446M, and 30 in NA, with $85M.
Matrikon is on the list at 48 with $77M global revenue, over 60% of that in N. America.
The old connector/terminal block rivals, Phoenix and Weidmuller used to be neck-and-neck as they shifted focus to electronics. Now Phoenix has jumped ahead to 15 globally, at $1.25B, while Weidmuller has dropped to 24, at $639M.
OPTO-22, recognized for its distinctive products, did not make the list, beyond "honorable mention". This means that the company is still languishing at less than $60M worldwide, and $22M in N. America. Pity.
Still independent software supplier Iconics was 46 on the N. American list, with revenues of almost $30M. Didn't make the global list. Wonderware, of course, is part of Invensys.
Beijing HollySys was 50 on the global list, the only China-based vendor included. Advantech has grown to $200M worldwide, 38 on both the global and N. American lists.
Mini-conglomerate Spectris is now 14 globally at $1.4B, dropping to 16 in N. America with $340M. Ametek, another acquirer, is 17 worldwide at over $1B, jumping to 11 and over 50% of revenues in N. America. Roper Industries is following the same path with small acquisitions, and is 28 on the global list at over $0.5B, with 80% of revenue in N. America, ranked 14.
There's lots more interesting stuff on this list, the only one of its kind in the Automation business. Take some time to study this and you'll get the pulse of the automation business.
2008 Pinto's Pointers - Technologies & MarketsHere are my pointers and prognostications regarding the top automation technology and market trends that will gain traction in the coming year.
The dawn of GreenFor decades, environmentalists have warned of the coming climate crisis, but the alarms were largely ignored. Now we are starting to see signs of the destructive potential of global warming.
Sadly, the solutions offered by "green" activists - curbing pollution, using less energy, rejecting technology and returning to a simpler way of life - are unappealing to most. Asking the world's wealthiest and advanced societies to turn their backs on abundance is fruitless.
Humans pollute because our industrial systems leave no options. Homes, high-rises, factories, freeways and power plants were developed before there were any ideas about pollution and global warming. The consequences of our progress were not grasped.
Consider the automobile - an ecological disaster, contributing to polluted atmospheres, oil-slicked oceans, and Mid East wars. As the enormity of these problems begin to really sink in, markets will emerge for sensible alternatives. Today a Toyota Prius burns far less gasoline. Tomorrow there'll be vehicles that consume no fossil fuels and emit no greenhouse gases. Progress is indeed being made towards a better, more sustainable future.
Some of the Indian software majors are planning for long-term growth in this arena. They see "clean-tech" software and systems as the next big opportunity. This is the programming and monitoring for thousands of global companies which will be launching the drive to become carbon neutral, more energy efficient. They see this need as inevitable; a safe bet rather than a strategic risk. Becoming more energy efficient is a profit opportunity beyond just satisfying regulators, or image improvement.
The idea is to use energy-related software to reduce material costs, simplify logistics, drive down electricity charges and shorten supply chains. As large companies start to do this, it will require a lot of data management - which is what Bangalore-based Infosys and others are focused on. They think the opportunity is huge, and they intend to provide the leadership that will satisfy the demand.
Will this new clean-tech demand be satisfied from forward-thinking developers in the US or Europe? Or, will the technology leadership come from places like India?
Hey, if you're looking for a good stable-growth career - green consultants, green designers, green builders are all going to be in huge demand.
Traffic in booming BangaloreBangalore is infamous for its crowded roads and lagging infrastructure. With all the ongoing building of 'ring roads' and 'flyovers', India's third-most populous city (6.5 million) and fifth-largest metropolitan area, cannot keep up with its growth. Traffic is visible evidence of that organized chaos.
In Bangalore's traffic there are no rules - except "Don't hit anyone". If you follow any rules, you'll have an accident. I have driven in many major cities in the world - London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Mexico City, Sao Paolo - but never in Bangalore; the prospect intimidates me. But, my son David (who lives in Florida) LOVES driving in Bangalore - he thinks its like being in a real, live video game.
Traffic is everywhere - all the streets are jammed most of the day and late into the night. If you want to go about 10 miles, you'll sometimes need an hour. The traffic includes cars, buses, trucks - but most of all, auto-rickshaws, because of the economy and maneuverability. And there are still bullock-carts and occasional cows, but somehow the traffic tolerantly allows for that.
Intersections without light are interesting - the cross-traffic speeds by, while the build-up accumulates behind those waiting. Hardly any honking - just the quickening impatience of the accumulating lineup. If there are gaps in the cross-traffic and the leader is too timid, an autorick or a motorcycle pushes past and blocks the flow, and the traffic surges ahead. This continues, until it switches back, mysteriously - it's a beautiful example of 'chaos theory' at work. I've provided a YouTube link to a recording of an intersection traffic camera. Take a look.
There are 700,000 autoricks in India; 70,000 in Bangalore alone. There are relatively few taxis because they cost more. Besides, 3,4,5 people or more often ride in an autorick; the results are often quite amusing.
Yes, there are probably police-rules, but they must be impossible to enforce. You see police around directing traffic, but they don't - probably can't - inhibit any of the natural results of the over-crowded traffic. I saw a policeman stop someone once, but passers-by yelled at him to "give the guy a break" and he just had to give up. Most people are gentle, helpful and accommodating, by necessity I suppose - no aggressive behavior, except when someone is behaving badly; the crowd is the watchdog.
The $50 taxi drive from the airport to my home in San Diego would cost me about $1.00 in Bangalore. With the cost of fuel (gasoline costs about $7.50 a gallon) how is this possible? I quizzed Kumar, the autorick driver my sister Clara always uses - we refer to him as her "Rolls Royce" because he's always at her beck and cellphone call. Kumar owns his autorick, cost (used) about $1,500; they can be rented for about $5/day. He pays about $ 100/month for insurance, though he has never had an accident in 15 years. After fuel and all his expenses, he makes about $5-10 a day, depending on how long he wishes to work.
You may have read recently that Indian automaker Tata is introducing the Nano, the world's cheapest car, at a price of 100,000 Rupees ($2,500) bringing car ownership into the reach of tens of millions. The tiny four-door subcompact has a snub nose and a sloping roof, and can fit five people - if they squeeze. The basic version has no radio, no passenger-side mirror and only one windshield wiper. Air conditioning comes with the deluxe version. The Nano averages 50 miles per gallon and meets domestic and European emission and safety standards. Tata insists that the Nano will pollute even less than motorcycles.
Understanding the numbersAs we move forward in the new century, India (pop. 1.2 billion) will overtake China (pop. 1.4 billion) to become the world's most populous country. While there is still vast poverty in both, the middle-class is advancing quickly to produce and consume a vast amount of products and services - and energy. Competition will be fierce in the global village, and future scenarios will be vastly different, even within a decade or two. Look for BIG changes.
In 1900, which country was the richest in the World, had the largest military, was the center of world business and finance, had the strongest education system, was the world center of innovation and invention, had the currency which was the world standard of value, and the highest standard of living?
Now: Which country will have all those characteristics in the year 2100?
eFeedbackJohn Gardner [John.Gardner@emerson.com] sent this after reading eNews on his Blackberry while in a big traffic-jam in Mumbai, India:
"The spirit and capabilities of Wonderful India are very tough to ever beat. Emerson has a lot of presence here, Emerson overall and Emerson Process Mgmt.
"My early trips to India were in fact as a Dir. of Technology global for a Division to allow local mfg of world class products. Over the years I have returned many times in many different roles. I continue to be amazed by India, the people and the progress (except, of course, the roads).
"I love the can-do attitude and the will to improve and break thru old perceived barriers. I have many good friends and some huge memories burned in my mind from these trips over the years! What a great set of experiences and people I have had and met!
"I hope that I continue to return to this Wonderful and Amazing India many, many more times in my life."
"Times are changing and there isn't much that we will do about it. We are the only remaining superpower, but we really no longer run the show. What the neocons envisioned as the American century, instead will quickly see the end of American dominance. Global warming may in fact soften this end. What would have been a death fight over the remaining oil, may instead become a joint effort to develop sustainable energy and preserve what we can of this planet. Cooperation may well take the place of competition."
"For some reason, most people just seem to overlook that our children are better off then we were. They travel the world, meet others, and are far more informed about other cultures and their sensitivities than we were at that age. Young generations around the world are just as dynamic and full of optimism about their future as we were (and some of us still are). I see it wherever I go, even in good old (tired) Europe and tenuous Japan; and you saw it in India. My brother just called today that we have another engineer in the family (his son got his bachelors degree - unthinkable for him 40 years ago).
"The older generations seem to concentrate so much on gloom and doom. It's just their perception though, not reality by any means.
"I hope we will live long enough to see all the good things that will happen, with perhaps even some form of democracy in the Middle East. I'm sure we will find solutions for the big hurdles that await us, be it social problems, the future of energy, or any obstacle that the future holds, even global warming (if that really continues to happen - which I'm not so sure of).
"Let's work on making it the next 10 years...."
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