By Kathryn Gerardino-Elagio
Marcelo Tarkieltaub, Regional Director of Southeast Asia, Rockwell Automation
More than a year on from the outbreak of the pandemic, disruptions to factory operations, supply-chain networks, and human capital have expedited the age of disruption.
Marcelo Tarkieltaub, Regional Director of Southeast Asia, Rockwell Automation disclosed key lessons industrial players can learn from the challenges thrown, as well as insights on how to future-proof enterprises for the decades ahead, in an exclusive interview with International Metalworking News for Asia (IMNA).
IMNA: For a manufacturing company to implement Industry 4.0 successfully, it demands processes to be intelligent, aware, connected, and responsive. What do you suggest they need to adopt first in order to get there?
Marcelo: When we talk about digital transformation and Industry 4.0, the first thing that comes to people's mind is technology, software, and equipment. All the things that will help them get there. However, these are just one of the pieces of the puzzle. Yes, it is definitely technology but it is also about people. How you transform your workforce the way you work and produce now becomes very different from before.
Another thing, which has also been a concern from the industry, is security threats. As you are more connected, you are more exposed. With greater connectivity comes greater risk for security threats. Your company needs a team of trusted experts on your side, providing outstanding protection against security threats – so you can continue to innovate and prosper. Our industrial security services can help secure your infrastructure, help protect assets, and maintain network availability.
IMNA: Increasingly interconnected plants mean that IT and OT can no longer be treated as separate environments – so what is the key to seamless integration?
Marcelo: We can no longer work on silos anymore because we have to be interconnected and leverage information. The only way to do that in an effective way is to bring information, which is the OT (Operational Technology) layer and bring it to the IT (Information Technology) space. The needs of OT are very different from the needs of IT. Many security practices have long been used in the IT world. But they are new to the OT world; and while many of the mitigation steps are similar in comparison, they are applied very differently in the front office than on the operation floor.
On the operation floor, every second counts and while security breaches might not be a foremost consideration, OT cybersecurity should be prioritised as much as its IT counterpart. Building security protections into your entire manufacturing ecosystem should be a priority, from individual components to the entire footprint of your plant, including connections to your own corporate enterprise, supply chain, and third parties.
IT and OT teams must work together to close those gaps. Going back to the first part of the question – people – improving awareness to create a mindset change among all employees is important. Cybersecurity is the responsibility of every single person.
IMNA: As risk exposure increases with heightened connectivity, how can manufacturers ensure their physical, digital, and intellectual assets remain secure from bad actors?
Marcelo: We talked a little about risk earlier. As we get more connected, security becomes more of a challenge to a company. There are many cases out there of industries shutting down due to cyberattacks, data loses, intellectual property loses, disrupted operations, and compromised product quality. We advise our customers and show our holistic view on cyber security at the industrial plant level. We address risks from all sides: people, processes, and technologies. We also bring together IT and OT teams, both of which are indispensable in securing network architectures. Physical security strategies are no longer enough to protect operations.
There are numerous things that we work around our customers to design a secure environment, and a place for them to keep the connectivity they need to be competitive. While making sure that they have the security, a robust system, tempered protection, all the policies, and security structure they need.
The increased level of connectedness allows companies to benefit and address challenges that more traditional models and operating practices were not able to offer. When you integrate safety and security in a connected enterprise and follow key steps, you can assess, manage, and mitigate the safety implications of security risks.
IMNA: More than just a trend, AR will redefine the future of cross-border work. How are organisations deploying AR to respond to future black swan events?
Marcelo: We have talked about certain trends but Augmented Reality (AR) is already a reality and no longer science fiction. The pandemic has highlighted our commitment in helping our customers keep their production. Adjusting to the months of remote work became a worldwide phenomenon, as strict travel bans unfolded. Fortunately, Rockwell Automation is well versed in the benefits of using AR technology. Many of our customers adopted AR to accelerate production and survive. We have some use cases like OEMs who are able to start up their machines overseas and in different countries. The ability to quickly, and easily connect with remote service experts is a game changer for resolving equipment issues faster, which is exceptionally important during times when remote work has become much more commonplace.
We also see many customers adopting digital twins to help them be flexible in their manufacturing space and making changes in their process. Some of them are combining digital twin with AR so that they can see how their process are doing. Training people is another crucial aspect of enabling widespread AR adoption.
IMNA: Digital twins as a best practice to future-proof businesses and capture growth in disruptive times
Marcelo: Digital twins have really been helpful to customers to be flexible with their decision making process. It allows them to simulate operations, which can help them explore opportunities for improvement or try changes before making them. The fact is that you can check all the issues, so that when you go live, the process becomes seamless. Therefore, we see digital twin providing great opportunity for use in numerous manufacturing applications because time to market for a product is increasingly becoming fast. We have use cases of companies changing products in a speed that never happened before. By implementing digital twins, engineering teams can garner new insights that speed innovation and reduce costs from the design phase to the production phase. Definitely digital twin is another reality that can make customers become more competitive by improving how they work and moving projects into a dynamic digital environment.
IMNA: How will you continue to foster Rockwell's success in South East Asia?
Marcelo: Rockwell Automation is prepared to support customers in this challenging time, giving them the efficiency that they need.
The biggest thing that we are doing here in South East Asia is understanding the needs of the market. Our goal is to help customers become more successful in the global landscape. We have dedicated employees in the region and a robust ecosystem of partners collaborating towards delivering value for our customers. Rockwell Automation continues to transform the industry, unlocking potential and productivity through automated and connected innovation.
South East Asia continues to be a key area of strategic growth for Rockwell Automation, as we look to increase market share across Asia Pacific. I look forward to building on our capabilities and engagement initiatives across the region, by way of helping our customers become more efficient and competitive.
IMNA: What can you advise our readers in South East Asia who are thinking of implementing automation in their shop floors but are hesitant?
Marcelo: If you want to survive in today's business world, you must be willing to adapt to change. Rockwell Automation continues to invest in its vision of expanding human possibility and digital transformation for our customers in South East Asia.
We encourage our customers and provide them with strategies. Of course, these strategies are different for every company, as this is not a one size fits all kind of strategy. If you want to arm your employees with the right information, you can begin by leveraging technology. You are not competing with your neighbor country anymore. You are competing globally. Here at Rockwell, we are positioned to be our customers' partner on their digital transformation with our portfolio of products, software and services.
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