In February 2020, Emerson Automation Solutions finalised its separation from GE, a year after Emerson’s acquisition of GE’s Intelligent Platform business. While the acquisition was more important to market-minded executives than it was to systems integrators, the separation will have an impact on integrators of automation systems. Here, Sean Robinson, service leader of industrial automation solutions provider Novotek UK and Ireland, explains what the separation means for system integrators. 

When Emerson’s acquisition of one of GE’s business units was first announced, it caused a stir in the automation community for integrators, distributors and engineers alike. The deal meant that Emerson would inherit a range of programmable logic controller (PLC) technologies and controller products that would expand its own offering into the automation space.

Following the deal, Emerson emerged with a range of PLC products and new PACSystems Rx3i controllers, which provided secure, reliable and powerful processing and control in edge applications. So far, so good for integrators and machine builders looking for automation hardware.

However, now that the separation is finalised, we’re confident that most integrators will see only minor administrative changes in the ways that they access the programs available to them from the now-separate businesses. And with each vendor focussed on core strengths, we’d expect that integrators will be pleased at how that’s reflected in areas like product development and customer support.

For example, the separation allows Emerson to focus its attention on offering a new support model to help with system issues. This model will help provide guidance around offerings such as the PAC Machine Edition (PME) package. Engineers can use the software package to develop, design and configure machine-level interfaces and PLC controls, so it’s an ideal option for system integrators working on machine-level projects.

The PME package is offered as part of Emerson’s development software (DS) suite. This suite offers PME, alongside up to 8000 tags for PC control and view development and runtime, as well as the PAC Change Management system. As of April 2020, it also includes the PAC Productivity Suite (PPS), which provides enhanced hybrid SCADA and PLC programming functionality and advanced proportional integral derivative (PID) control.

Of course, systems previously packaged via GE Digital, like GE Digital’s iFIX and Cimplicity HMI/SCADA, will remain under GE Digital. So, in situations where a combination of systems is required, they will now come from two distinct providers.

However, the suite, software and package complexities don’t need to perplex systems integrators. If you’re an integrator, the main focus should be on the value proposition to customers, rather than the administrative headaches of parts numbers and programs. Instead, systems integrators can partner with automation system specialists such as Novotek UK and Ireland to ensure the best overall solution is in place.

Novotek has been a long-time partner of both GE Digital and Emerson Automation, so we’re able to provide the full range of solutions from both, in a streamlined and non-complex way. Whether a project calls for machine-level control software via PME or operational-level data management and analysis, we’re able to identify and provide the best system for the job.

Effectively, we can serve as a one-stop shop for Emerson and GE Digital solutions, helping system integrators continue to operate as they did prior to the separation. This is further reflected in the availability of system training and bundling services from Novotek UK and Ireland.

It’s taken some time, but the details of the GE and Emerson split have become apparent and so too has the impact on integrators. Now, it’s a matter of streamlining the process of integrating these control suites into projects and delivering automation solutions that add value.