Teaming up: Endress+Hauser joins Rockwell for process industry alliance

03/22/2007


Last month Endress+Hauser and Rockwell Automation sponsored a breakfast event at the ARC Collaborative Manufacturing Strategies Forum in Orlando. The discussion topic for the sake of assembled customers and press was their ongoing alliance as they both seek a larger market share in our crowded, North American process industries. They reminded us that this isn't really news, as this partnership has been going on for some time, even if all those in attendance weren't fully aware of it.

This is an understandable alliance as the two companies compliment each other about as well as two companies could in this context. Rockwell has just about everything but instrumentation, which is a major drawback as they work to improve their position as a "process" company. One would have to hunt to find a plant, process or otherwise, where Rockwell's Allen-Bradley brand equipment doesn't turn up, but the lack of instrumentation in their offering must hurt when a customer wants a large bundled solution with control system equipment.

Endress+Hauser, on the other hand, needs the exposure. While they have a truly impressive offering of instrumentation, they are relative latecomers to a market where there are firmly entrenched competitors. Rockwell can open many doors through their formidable distribution channels, and it gives the salespeople a whole new range of products to keep customer relationships fresh.

There are some areas of overlap, but these are minor in the larger picture. E+H is probably willing to sacrifice most of its control system sales to gain Rockwell's cooperation. The interesting question will be fieldbus architecture, given that the two companies traditionally approach this from different directions. The official position is that they are "fieldbus neutral," so that leaves room for negotiation as the situation requires.

For a more extensive analysis of this collaboration, you can listen to a podcast with Rick Dolezal , Rockwell Automation's manager for process business development, and Peter Rippen, E+H's director of strategic alliances. They discuss where the partnership is headed and what each company brings to the table.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Peter Welander , process industries editor





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