From wire and cable to digital transformation: Benefits for industrial customers
A wire and cable company transforms to signal transmission solutions, to create a foundation for digital transformation, finding new ways to serve customers using resources from three innovation centers with testing labs, engineering for design and validation with specific industry experience.
- Understand the need for industry-specific help for designing, testing, validating and deploying end-to-end networking solutions.
- Learn how creating a bond for collaborative innovation helps deliver industrial communications to enable a more digital world.
- See ways expansion of industrial network technologies in China is meeting industry-specific needs.
Industrial networking insights
- A provider of industrial communications technologies and services opened a third customer innovation center to provide industry-specific help for designing, testing, validating and deploying end-to-end networking solutions.
- Collaborating with customers helps deliver industrial communications to enable a more digital world, beyond only wire and cable.
As a provider of signal transmission solutions, Belden, once primarily a provider of wire and cable, now provides interconnection, automation and network security products and services for industry users. On March 28, Belden’s third Customer Innovation Center (CIC) opened in Shanghai, following CIC openings in Stuttgart in Germany and Santa Clara in the United States, facilitating greater industrial integration of people, machinery and factories. After the opening ceremony, Pavan Mahajan, managing director, solutions delivery of Belden Asia Pacific, answered questions about innovation, industrial networking and digital transformation.
Creating a bond for collaborative innovation
In recent years, Belden’s expansion of products, services, sales, and ecosystem of distributions partners and system integration have delivered strong growth. Senior solution account managers have maintained long-term relationships with end users in various vertical industries. The CICs provide Belden with a “home base” for product configuration, testing and collaboration with partners to develop solutions for field solutions.
Belden’s CIC in Stuttgart laid the foundation for Belden’s strong technology tradition, while the CIC in Santa Clara provided a source of new technologies for the company’s development and transformation. The first two CICs maintain three to five customer visits per week, Mahajan said, to “communicate with digital automation consultants, application engineers and solution consultants of customers and partners” and “create as much value as possible for each design by forming an efficient team.”
After two years of preparation, the Shanghai CIC is the third of the five planned Belden customer innovation centers, and an important development for Belden Asia Pacific.
“As Belden’s first CIC in Asia Pacific, Shanghai CIC is not only a showcase for Belden’s latest technologies and products, but also a platform for designing, testing, validating and deploying end-to-end solutions, which will surely become a bond between Belden’s partners and customers in Asia Pacific to innovate together,” said Mahajan.
He continued, explaining that the new CIC will gather “senior technical experts from various sectors to target customers in vertical fields such as transportation, energy (including transmission, distribution and generation), process automation (including water treatment, coal, oil and gas), and so forth.” Shanghai CIC also uses an innovation discovery wall, proof of concept (PoC) lab and has capabilities to help with networking and cybersecurity.
Enhanced solution delivery enabling the digital world
After the start of Industry 4.0 12 years ago, networking, digitalization and intellectualization have become the keywords for the transformation and upgrade of manufacturing enterprises. Deep integration of the new generation of information and communication technology and modern industrial technology, industrial internet is the core information infrastructure for the development of industrial intelligence and digital transformation. Enterprises are eager to achieve more digital functions, with enthusiasm for interconnected people, machines and factories, which expands rapid development of the industrial network markets.
The core of industrial internet is data flow, analysis and reengineering, which involves data acquisition, transmission, architecture and management. A safe, reliable and robust industrial network is the foundation for enterprises to tap and utilize the value of massive data and to transmit data to the cloud. China’s industrial manufacturing industry has many categories and complex industrial chains. Enterprises in different fields have their own digital development process. Therefore, it is extremely important that the supplier understands the customer’s reality.
Helping customers achieve operational efficiency requires information technology and operational technology (IT/OT) integration. It also requires creation of greater business value by leveraging innovative technologies, expertise, talent and global business coverage. Mahajan said transforming from product-centered to solution-centered organization helps. Enhanced solution delivery integrates Belden’s automation product portfolio and edge-cloud computing solutions, with support, installation and maintenance services to help customers advance digitally.
Exploring additional expansion in China
With the size and rate of growth, China has many opportunities. Belden’s Suzhou factory is one of its largest factories and the only manufacturing base with cable, connector and switch production capacity, helping to drive growth in China.
Belden aims to meet customer needs for connectivity, reliability and real-time insights, Mahajan said. With increasingly severe market challenges, Belden expects to help customers succeed through operational challenges and performance requirements, using a value blueprint based on actual situations.
The newly opened CIC in Shanghai is closely related to frontier technologies such as robotics, 5G wireless communications and artificial intelligence. Belden expects to use its talents in engineering, technology and design, to promote technological innovation and more effectively support customers. The PoC laboratory and design reference framework, combined with customer requirements, will design and refine solutions to maximize customer value.
How to support industrial network communications, growth
About growth, Mahajan said, “Solution sales are important in our overall revenue, and we are determined to enhance its significance even further by the end of 2025. Moreover, we plan to maintain a steady and robust compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next three years.” To achieve this goal, Belden will continue to enrich its product portfolio, improve its solutions and services ecosystem, and make use of its global expertise to develop new solutions and services as needed. Mahajan said Belden also will explore more potential customers and markets, to bring more partners to its cooperative ecosystem to win the future of digitalization.
Stone Shi is executive editor-in-chief, Control Engineering China. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, firstname.lastname@example.org.
KEYWORDS: Industrial networking, digitalization
Have you widened from thinking only about components, such as wire and cable, to broader systems, such as industrial communications, enterprise connectivity and data analytics?