Delivering a stirring call to action to a room filled with engineers, Dr. Peter Martin of Schneider Electric told attendees at the opening of the Schneider Electric Global Automation Conference in Dallas that changes in industrial automation should make the control engineer indispensable in the years to come.
"I've heard people day the age of the control engineer is over. Wrong. The age of the control engineer is just dawning," said Martin, a Schneider Electric Fellow and vice president of business value consulting. "We have to apply control engineering to manage more than efficiency."
Martin said the control engineer is all about managing change, a subject fundamental to the use and technology around the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). "If something doesn't change, you don't have to control it. If it changes frequently, you have to control it," Martin noted. "It's a matter of applying real-time control theory to areas other than efficiency." Among the areas Martin cited were:
Martin also talked about how manufacturers and product developers need to think less transactional and more real-time to adapt to the new world of real-time business decisions and real-time product delivery. "The real problem is not connecting the two domains; it's rethinking the two domains," he said. "We've reached the point where technology is not a barrier to solving problems. Technology shouldn't be the barrier between the people and their jobs; it should be the conduit between the people and their jobs. It's lights-on manufacturing. Let's no longer eliminate people; let's use people to their fullest extent."
- Bob Vavra is content manager, Plant Engineering, CFE Media, bvavra(at)cfemedia.com.
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