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What's Going On?
Episode 215th May 2023 • Operation Automation • Omron Automation Americas
00:00:00 00:22:19

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The industrial automation landscape is constantly changing and adapting to meet the needs and challenges of manufacturers in a variety of industrial spaces. As the global markets continue to be impacted by supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and other roadblocks, automation trends have emerged over the past year to help address these challenges while keeping a keen eye on sustainability and future growth. Join hosts Carrie Lee and Kenny Heidel as they discuss Craig Resnick’s ‘Key Technology Trends for 2023’ article featured in Automation World and make their own predictions for future automation trends.  

Transcripts

00;00;01;27 - 00;00;08;21

Carrie Lee

So, Kenny, yet another episode with no guests, either. People are sick of talking to us or you. And I like to hear ourselves talk.

00;00;09;06 - 00;00;32;20

Kenny Heidel

on trends coming forward into:

00;00;32;21 - 00;00;33;01

Kenny Heidel

Right.

00;00;33;26 - 00;00;46;07

Carrie Lee

Yeah. Yeah. I thought it was a fun time talking with you. I always like to learn more about what's coming ahead and see what I what I do and don't believe and then can't wait to see what we're wrong about in a couple of years. It was a fun episode.

00;00;46;27 - 00;00;54;29

Kenny Heidel

Absolutely. Enjoy.

00;00;58;13 - 00;01;17;16

Carrie Lee

Welcome everyone to the Operation Automation Podcast Biome Run where we are talking all things factory automation. My name is Kerry Lee and I'm the Americas sales manager for Early Career Development. I've been with Omron for three and a half years and have about 17 years of experience in automation. Sitting here with me is Kenny.

00;01;18;11 - 00;01;28;03

Kenny Heidel

Hi everyone. I'm Kenny Heidel and I'm a channel sales manager focusing on channel engagement. I've been with Omron for four years and have 15 years of combined factory industrial automation experience.

00;01;28;24 - 00;01;44;18

Carrie Lee

Kenny and I are neighbors in our own front office and would often have conversations at the coffee machine or in the hallways where we would talk about new technologies and trends and of course, the Chicago White Sox. We hope to recreate that time here in our podcast and share it with listeners so that you can learn along with us.

00;01;45;03 - 00;02;01;18

Carrie Lee

So whether you are pouring yourself the first or the fifth coffee of the day, driving to your first appointment or walking the dog, we hope to help you start your day off right with a little fun and hopefully you learn something new. Okay, Kenny, what is our song for the day?

00;02;02;18 - 00;02;09;25

Kenny Heidel

Well, what's going on? What's going on? What's going on? I don't know if I know much of the rest of the song, but I think that gets the gist right.

00;02;10;04 - 00;02;17;25

Carrie Lee

I think everybody clearly recognized your Marvin Gaye impression. One of the best I've heard in the last 2 minutes.

00;02;19;07 - 00;02;20;11

Kenny Heidel

Yeah. No outtakes, please.

00;02;22;06 - 00;02;24;17

Carrie Lee

All right. So what are we talking about today?

00;02;25;25 - 00;02;50;11

Kenny Heidel

was key technology trends for:

00;02;51;11 - 00;02;57;24

Kenny Heidel

So Kari, when you're reading it, what do you think was what was the most interesting thing that you read in that article?

00;02;58;23 - 00;03;19;15

Carrie Lee

So for me, I think the most interesting thing was the close digital loops. Right? So there's just a little it's not a super long article, right? So they just kind of hit some topics slightly. But I thought the digital loop was really interesting because we've talked a lot about collecting data, you know, for as long as I can remember in our industry.

00;03;19;15 - 00;03;39;28

Carrie Lee

And what I kind of liked about that is or what they mentioned in the article is that now it's time to start making decisions based on that data and then closing that loop in the decisions we made. Right. You know what I mean? And leveraging information both to make a decision and then to verify and check your work.

00;03;39;29 - 00;03;42;26

Carrie Lee

So that was probably the most interesting part to me. What about you?

00;03;44;00 - 00;04;04;16

Kenny Heidel

And even with the title on that one, right. You think about closed digital loop. It's kind of like, well, we want this to be open, right? Because we want to be able to get all that data. So it's a little bit counterintuitive, but I completely agree. There's been so much talk in the industry over the last couple of years about utilizing data, but it's almost like too big of a topic.

00;04;04;26 - 00;04;29;00

Kenny Heidel

So I like the idea that maybe it's getting broken down a little bit into something that's actionable and then reviewable. Right. For me, I actually I thought it was interesting. And the no code, low code. Okay. You know, we talk about a lot of, you know, especially the data science market and a lot of people getting degrees in data science and everything.

00;04;29;00 - 00;04;53;08

Kenny Heidel

And even even then you hear too about the decreasing number of engineers coming into the market. I think it's interesting that that companies are starting to look into how do we make all of this programing even more simple, that it doesn't need somebody with many years of expertize to be able to program or create such machine control to really, you know, optimize processes and or whatever they need to do.

00;04;53;08 - 00;05;14;17

Kenny Heidel

I thought that was very interesting that they're moving it into more of a a simple function. Right. We can all we all have iPhones or some kind of Android phone. Right. They're all the user interface is very simple and it's very customizable to to whoever is using it. It seems like maybe a little bit of that is moving into into this the industrial space.

00;05;14;27 - 00;05;36;17

Carrie Lee

Yeah. I mean, if you think about the our cobots, they're super easy to program, right. And it's because you don't really have to be a coder to make that robot do what you need to do. You can teach it with the push of a button and then it's flowcharts, right? So with Secure Group, that's when the whenever they get a chance to use those.

00;05;36;17 - 00;05;45;03

Carrie Lee

I'm always amazed at how quickly they get it up and going. So again, making that technology more, more accessible, I think that's a good one, too.

00;05;45;25 - 00;06;11;15

Kenny Heidel

Absolutely. And even back to, you know, we talk about our Sysmex solution, right? You have you have the ability to do structured text code, like like many people may be used to in the past or there's much more in easier graphical interface to basically drag and drop the type of functions that you want in your program. So I think it's pretty cool how how that's incorporating these types of needs as well.

00;06;12;09 - 00;06;37;12

Carrie Lee

Yeah, I think we're we still need quite a bit of programing with our PLCs, but it's in alignment with the idea, you know, of making it easier. So let you know. Historically with seismic we have let control's engineers focus on designing a really good machine are making a really good process work not so much on how do I get the different parts to connect together?

00;06;37;12 - 00;06;56;26

Carrie Lee

g to need, I always think the:

00;06;56;26 - 00;07;12;16

Carrie Lee

Maybe we'll get to a point where 80% of controls work is done. More in the drag and drop or low-code no code. And that 20% is where you get really more in depth for more specific or customized solutions. It'll be interesting to see.

00;07;13;14 - 00;07;27;27

Kenny Heidel

And for, you know, with your work with this hacker group, it almost it promotes the idea of giving somebody something from an entry level position right. An ability to learn some level of coding. Right. And see if it maybe piques our interest.

00;07;28;21 - 00;07;52;20

Carrie Lee

Yeah, that's a great point. And, you know, it's it's a low barrier to entry, like you said, and then a fast learning curve. It's not as steep. So even going back to conversations we've had about the the changing workforce, there's a lot more people who are newer to automation that may be looking to minimize the the amount of time it takes them to do that first project.

00;07;53;08 - 00;07;55;03

Carrie Lee

So it's interesting. That was a good one.

00;07;56;15 - 00;08;01;18

Kenny Heidel

I like that low barrier to entry. That's an excellent way of. Excellent way of putting it. Yeah.

00;08;01;26 - 00;08;07;19

Carrie Lee

Well, thank you, Kenny. I think this is my first compliment from you and seasoned to Tad. Can you work that one down?

00;08;09;04 - 00;08;12;24

Tad Saine

We can mark it down. I think you're right.

00;08;12;24 - 00;08;30;02

Kenny Heidel

I apologize. I'm too busy thinking of these songs, so you. So building on our interesting thoughts there, Carrie, what about this article that you read? Kind of surprised you a little bit when you were going through it.

00;08;30;18 - 00;08;56;02

Carrie Lee

So the industrial control is a service, right? We see a lot about robots as a service software as a service. I thought it was really interesting in this short little section where they started talking about, you know, the virtual places and that suppliers will offer more flexibility. The thing that stuck out to me that I guess was surprising is the cloud based.

00;08;56;29 - 00;09;21;03

Carrie Lee

I know from my my time talking about our air controller that sometimes cloud connectivity or having to connect outside of the plant floor can can be a risk for our customers. So what surprised me was that they were already thinking of going to that level. And so I'm interested to see how that works and how do we manage our customers need for security with the capability of the cloud.

00;09;22;17 - 00;10;02;22

Kenny Heidel

losed off, especially between:

00;10;02;22 - 00;10;05;08

Kenny Heidel

put that as more in the forefront. Right.

00;10;06;04 - 00;10;18;05

Carrie Lee

Exactly. I'm interested to see what they come up with. There's a lot a lot of smart people working on these problems. So we'll see, you know, this time next year, we'll maybe be laughing at ourselves. Who knows?

00;10;18;23 - 00;10;22;06

Kenny Heidel

Right. Yeah, exactly. I'll be I'll be the fool with egg on my face. Right? Yeah.

00;10;22;13 - 00;10;34;13

Carrie Lee

Might be me. I've still got my Betamax VCR in the basement, in my Microsoft Zune.

00;10;34;13 - 00;10;37;14

Kenny Heidel

And what was that other. What was that? Yeah, that was the Zune.

00;10;38;08 - 00;10;58;13

Carrie Lee

And I actually am a firm supporter of the Zune. I had to different ones. They combined like an iPod with Spotify before Spotify was around. I loved it. So don't get me started on the Zune. It's a good one. How about you? What was your getting back on track here? What was your most surprising portion of the article?

00;10;59;26 - 00;11;24;25

Kenny Heidel

So I was surprised that, you know, when there's more enterprise visualization interface, I was kind of surprised that that I mean, while it's a trend, right, I feel like it's become further along and more accepted in the industry. Right. I kind of saw this as maybe initially when I was reading the article, I thought maybe we'll read about something that's kind of a newer thing coming to the market, to the industry, right?

00;11;24;25 - 00;11;48;25

Kenny Heidel

And when I read that, I was kind of like, well, yes, that's a trend with customers, right? But it seems to be something that's much more accepted, right? Yeah. And maybe it maybe it's more related to then the the implementation that it hasn't really been a full, wide implementation of those types of solutions in. And that connection between O.T. and I.T. and visualizing that data.

00;11;48;25 - 00;12;09;27

Kenny Heidel

So that part surprised me a little bit. I was I was shocked a little bit to see it in there. But also, it's a main driver, I think, in what, you know, value different machine builders. Right. Are putting on their machines and and things like that. So it's just kind of a little surprising that it was still still a trend, but it's probably just becoming maybe a bigger trend, right?

00;12;09;27 - 00;12;25;11

Carrie Lee

Yeah, I'm with you. Like, yeah. Visualization. We've had HMS for a long time. Everybody understands the need for for data and I guess maybe this is just amping it up a little bit more. But to your point, yeah, I was surprised to see that too. That's a really good good point.

00;12;26;29 - 00;12;38;26

Kenny Heidel

So with all this, we digested it in this. What does this mean, you think, for our customers? What do you do? You see anything popping out in here that you think might be really relevant to some of our customers?

00;12;39;26 - 00;13;02;12

Carrie Lee

Yeah, I think so. Right. I think that at the end of the day, it's important for manufacturers like us and and customers and then, you know, industry experts like Craig at Automation World to have these conversations and, you know, think about, you know, hey, this might be something that we see is going to be more cutting edge. And is it really applicable?

00;13;02;12 - 00;13;25;07

Carrie Lee

You know, having an understanding of maybe what a manufacturer thinks is is really a trend? Is it is it actually something customers want? So to me, that industrial control as a service, is that actually going to be effective? And then it's also kind of a good gut check of visualization is still a challenge and still something that, you know, people people do see that they need.

00;13;25;28 - 00;13;45;08

Carrie Lee

I think all of this stuff comes back to the same things that have been important to manufacturers forever. Right. How can I make my products better and faster and more efficiently? So, yeah, they all kind of, you know, whether it's no code, how can I make my machines faster and more or reduce the design time of my machines?

00;13;45;08 - 00;14;01;12

Carrie Lee

Right. I don't know. I think these type of articles always have something, you know, it's always interesting to read, but I'm never like, oh my gosh, the industry is taking a total turn. At the end of the day, it's still about making products better, products faster and safer, right?

00;14;02;07 - 00;14;42;22

Kenny Heidel

Yeah. Yeah. And hopefully what it represents to is, is discussion points with our customers. Right. Because typically, you know, especially in these days. Right. With with less of a workforce as we had a couple of years ago, people are being stretched thin. They're there. Their concerns are, how do I make more machines? But sometimes they don't have enough time to step back and think about, okay, how do I actually implement something like that that will benefit us in the long run, that it creates kind of a thought process for those people or even even people higher up in their organizations to kind of drive that information down and say like this, these are the trends

00;14;42;22 - 00;15;03;05

Kenny Heidel

in our industry. Are we even implementing any of them? If we're not, how do we take this as an opportunity to implement them? You know, and they look for partners like us, right? That can help them achieve those goals and meet those those goals, too. Ultimately, again, like you said, make stuff more efficient, faster, better.

00;15;04;02 - 00;15;28;15

Carrie Lee

Safer. Aren't you a safety guy? So the the other thing, too, I guess I would think about is when you said discussions in sharing information, even if, you know, maybe some of our customers hear that another their competitor has adopted some of these technologies that may seem pretty risky or difficult to overcome. And you might think, oh, if they can do it, maybe it isn't as much of a risk.

00;15;28;15 - 00;15;41;11

Carrie Lee

So some of that collaboration between competitors articles like this or staying in touch with trends can always help that way to to help increase adoption of new technologies.

00;15;42;04 - 00;16;00;14

Kenny Heidel

Absolutely. Absolutely. And even customers may. Yeah. Like you said, competitors looking for a competitive advantage even like if if that competitor if their competitor is not implemented something like this, then maybe it's time to look at that because it gives them new value that they can provide to their customers. Right.

00;16;00;26 - 00;16;16;05

Carrie Lee

ear, what would you want on a:

00;16;16;05 - 00;16;36;17

Kenny Heidel

I think what I would want to see is something along the lines of a fully incorporated factory, maybe not necessarily the dark factory like we've heard about where it's completely autonomous, but something a little bit more on the lines of that. The the new trend moving forward is to make sure that all the machines are connected, all the machines are creating data, all of that.

00;16;36;17 - 00;17;15;19

Kenny Heidel

Like there's a full connection in a full manufacturing process that manufacturers are really pushing for in the machines that they're purchasing, that they're interoperable, that they're they're all pushing information to each other so that ultimately then they can evaluate their process and look at the data coming out and saying, how do we optimize this even more? I think with the the less skilled labor that's in the market right now and a lot of people that are the skilled labor that are retiring, I think the more information people can get from their their machines on the plant floor and start to look at it and analyze it and, you know, kind of in that in that

00;17;15;19 - 00;17;29;16

Kenny Heidel

closed digital idea, make actionable decisions off of it and evaluate, was that a good decision to make? I think that's what I would like to see, almost like expounding on that that closed digital loop. What about you, Gary?

00;17;30;02 - 00;17;58;15

Carrie Lee

I like that. I guess for me, maybe it's because I'm spending so much time with young people who are just starting out. But I'd like to see us kind of think about humans as assets and manufacturing and what does it look like? Like where do how do we see humans affecting automation in five, ten years? Right. To me, I see it is, you know, humans are going to be more of the creative driving force doing less of the low value added tasks.

00;17;58;15 - 00;18;17;15

Carrie Lee

But and we see that on a really high level. But what does that really mean? What what if I went to, you know, a 12 year old and said, hey, you should go spend time learning about robots and you can go work in a manufacturing facility someday. Well, what what can I do there? What is it? Is it repairing the robots?

00;18;17;15 - 00;18;31;20

Carrie Lee

Is there some sort of analysis right where we can really use our our unique capabilities as humans in how we can influence manufacturing? I think it would be interesting for some people to to think about that approach a little bit.

00;18;32;12 - 00;18;50;28

Kenny Heidel

And maybe more of a define. You know, we talk about, well, robots don't take jobs away from humans. They allow humans to do more creative jobs. Like what? What are those job like put maybe more definition around it, right? So it's not just this vague thing that that that people talk about.

00;18;51;12 - 00;19;05;21

Carrie Lee

Right. And maybe start to define that more and build up more excitement for people to come join. What I think is one of the most fun topics and in career paths there is around. So I think we need to get more people excited about it.

00;19;06;11 - 00;19;16;01

Kenny Heidel

Absolutely. Absolutely. The amount of automation and things that go into anything that is sitting on your desk right now is pretty cool. And they're all kind of different, too, so.

00;19;16;20 - 00;19;26;00

Carrie Lee

Exactly. And then maybe in:

00;19;26;12 - 00;19;31;08

Kenny Heidel

It's going to pull the information from our brain, but maybe, maybe, maybe we don't want that to happen and.

00;19;31;21 - 00;19;34;05

Carrie Lee

We'll still need a sensor button for something. Yes.

00;19;34;19 - 00;19;34;29

Tad Saine

Yes.

00;19;36;07 - 00;19;42;16

Kenny Heidel

All right. Well, Carrie, don't worry. I took care of trivia because I want to make sure that we have a relevant trivia question.

00;19;42;20 - 00;19;43;02

Carrie Lee

Okay.

00;19;43;11 - 00;19;57;29

Kenny Heidel

So what was the first cloud platform? And I can give you clues if you need them, but I can tell you when I say the name, you'll know it.

00;19;57;29 - 00;20;03;02

Carrie Lee

Not sap. No. All right. Give me a clue.

00;20;04;10 - 00;20;14;28

Kenny Heidel

It is a very popular customer relationship management system. Oracle close.

00;20;14;28 - 00;20;16;19

Carrie Lee

Salesforce was the first cloud.

00;20;17;25 - 00;20;22;22

Kenny Heidel

computing was Salesforce.com,:

00;20;22;29 - 00;20;23;23

Tad Saine

Wow.

00;20;23;23 - 00;20;24;26

Carrie Lee

I did not know that. Yeah.

00;20;25;15 - 00;20;35;22

Kenny Heidel

So, boom, I didn't know that either until I until I found it up. A very interesting right now there's a bazillion of them. And that is a technical term, right?

00;20;37;10 - 00;20;39;23

Carrie Lee

Yes. A business. A bazillion and one.

00;20;40;05 - 00;20;50;14

Kenny Heidel

ink we should revisit this in:

00;20;50;19 - 00;20;55;12

Carrie Lee

Yes, I hope so. All right. Thanks, Kenny. Who's a good chat?

00;20;56;14 - 00;21;17;27

Kenny Heidel

Thanks, Gary. Thank you, everyone, for joining Carry Me for the Operation Automation Podcast. If you have topics you'd like to hear discussed in future episodes, please send them to our email address Operation Automation at Amazon.com with podcast idea in the subject line. Finally, all these cool things you learn about on this podcast can be found at automation dot homerun dot com.

00;21;18;16 - 00;21;50;15

Kenny Heidel

Until next time we put the fun in factory automation. All right. It's definitely the latter because but but also people love us. People love us. But super, super cool article we found that we can read and comment on about trends in the industrial automate what.

00;21;53;08 - 00;21;55;12

Carrie Lee

Sorry did people love us.

00;21;55;12 - 00;22;06;02

Tad Saine

People love us. It's pretty great. It's pretty good. People love us.

00;22;07;28 - 00;22;13;19

Carrie Lee

So can you need a little break there? I was laughing too hard. Go ahead and finish your statement about the episode today.

00;22;14;01 - 00;22;19;12

Kenny Heidel

Of course. Of course. Of course. So we we read a very.

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