Forum for exchange of ideas comes to Europe and conquers!

07 September 2012

The first ever European-based Emerson Global User Exchange took place in Dusseldorf at the end of May, attracting over 1,000 delegates.

The theme running through the event was ‘by users, for users’ with many real-life applications and user experiences being voiced in the presentations and industry forums which ran throughout the three-day event, alongside an exhibition hall which shows some of the most recent industry innovations.

Steve Sonnenberg, president of Emerson Process Management, opened the event with a keynote presentation focused around messages relating to investment and trust. He explained how Emerson was continuing to invest – even in tough times, in both resources and facilities, revealing that nearly 4,000 employees were added globally in 2011, together with many new manufacturing locations and Regional Service Centres, all with a common objective – to provide responsive, local support.

On the subject of technology investments Sonnenberg said: “Emerson invests in technology, regardless of fluctuations in the marketplace.” He highlighted a few of the more recent technology developments and acquisitions, many of which were on show at the event.

“Safety is first and foremost in everyone’s mind,” he said. “We have recently bought a company called Net Safety Monitoring, which manufactures fire and gas detection equipment. We have taken these products and married them with our existing safety products to give us one of the broadest ranges of safety offerings available. Last October we also introduced an intrinsically safe version of Delta V CHARMS, a great upgrade to this game-changing technology.

“Energy management is another area at the forefront of discussions today. “We have two innovations in this area. One is a combustion control system that is able to calculate the actual BTU values of a fuel source. It is a full and integrated part of our Smart Energy system. Another new technology is the wireless acoustic transmitter, which can monitor steam traps.

Continuing on the subject of wireless, Sonnenberg went on to talk about the plethora of wireless technology available from Emerson. “Wireless can free you from the burden of wires,” he said. “We have already put into place wireless technology in our more traditional products. Now we are moving to some non-traditional applications and making these wireless too. Acoustics, gas detection, corrosion and erosion, for example.”

“There are many essential assets in a facility that may only need to be monitored for a small percentage of the time – pumps compressors, heat exchangers – and we now have a whole range of monitoring solutions for these essential assets. They are wireless enabled, cost-effective and scalable to meet the needs of the user.”

Sonnenberg continued: “These are all great technologies, but if they are difficult to use and they cannot be used seamlessly, then they are of no use. There is a common thread running through all of our new technologies and that is ‘human-centred design’. In 2009 we introduced a ‘Conquering Complexity’ initiative to ensure we offer technology that is easy to use and which brings consistency from one product to another. We have made progress on this initiative and will continue to keep working on it to ensure that our products are easy to use.

“However, even easy to use products, by themselves, will not solve a problem. It is necessary to take these products and solutions and marry them with existing assets. This can be challenging. We undertook a marketplace survey in a bid to understand the most typical applications and solutions are that we need to bring to market. The result has been the introduction of a variety of pre-bundled solutions – for essential asset management; energy management; oil and gas wellhead solutions; power generation; remote automation; blending; logistics; and distillation.”

In conclusion Sonneberg went on to talk about the need for trust. He said: “Trust is not a milestone. It is something that you have to earn on a daily basis. I think that this concept is true in both personal and business relationships and no matter how many manufacturing facilities and service centres we build, how many new technologies we introduce, or how many companies we buy, if our actions each day do not build trust then all of our investments are wasted. One way to build trust is to become a listening organisation. The best way to listen is to actually ask questions and find out. We have done this, interviewing thousands of customers to find out how we can improve and to get their views of Emerson and what we needed to do to continue to improve. We learned a few things. Firstly our customers said that we have great products, great technologies and they respect the competence of Emerson employees. However, it was felt that response could be a little slow, in terms of quotation, order management and delivery. This is why we are investing in a variety of facilities and people to try and improve our service in this area.

Sonnenberg also discussed recent supply chain issues, which occurred as a result of flooding in Thailand last October. “This affected some of our key suppliers resulting in significant pain to many of our customers due to delayed shipments.” He apologised and voiced his appreciation and loyalty shown by customers and Emerson staff through those difficult times. “As a result of these problems I can now guarantee that we have the most robust supply chain and manufacturing base of anyone in the process industry. We are ensuring that we have redundant suppliers for all of our critical components and redundant manufacturing facilities for all of our products too.”

Emerson used the event to introduce three new technologies designed to help reduce the complexity of process manufacturing safety. These included in the DeltaV SIS logic solver with TÜV-approved CHARM I/O technology, TÜV-certified CSI 6300 Digital Overspeed Protection System and DVC 6200 SIS TÜV-certified digital valve positioner.

Based on the success and strength of the Emerson Exchange community, Emerson has also established, an online forum for the free exchange of non-proprietary information among the global user community of all Emerson Process Management’s products and services.

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