ENDRESS-HAUSER AND ROCKWELL AUTOMATION OPEN EUROPE'S FIRST JOINT TEST CENTRE
When you are a manufacturer of process automation solutions, you have many options to test new products. However, these tests are rarely carried out at the beginning of the development phase under real-world conditions, in the company's own facility. Rockwell Automation, an expert in automation solutions in industrial production, and Endress-Hauser, an instrumentation specialist, have just opened their first joint test centre for validation in Europe.
The main components of the test facility at the Endress-Hauser site in Maulburg, Germany, are three huge tanks, each containing between 2,000 and 26,000 litres of oil. On these tanks, more than 20 Endress-Hauser instruments with different measurement techniques have been installed, and all communicate with Rockwell Automation's Plant PAx control system. All the staff of the test centre receive accurate information and diagnoses on the contents of the tanks at a glance.
For customer training and product validation
The original idea for a joint installation came from the training centres created by Endress-Hauser with the help of Rockwell Automation in recent years: Process Training Units. At ten sites in the United States, Colombia, China and Canada, salespeople and technicians from both companies conduct hands-on training sessions for their clients. These courses include installation training, real-world simulations, diagnostics and comparisons between different technologies.
With an investment of several hundred thousand euros, Maulburg's first joint test centre for Europe further develops this concept by creating new standards: it is surrounded by the Endress-Hauser production site for pressure and level measurement technologies and targets product validation.
Research and development take center stage to align new products with customer requirements from the outset under real environmental and application conditions. "All of our products must pass the tests at the validation centre and prove that they create sustainable added value for customers. They are exposed to extreme stress tests," explains Gerd Gritsch, Head of Quality Management at Endress-Hauser Maulburg.
Automation specialists join forces
Increased customer benefits: this is what triggered this strategic alliance between Rockwell Automation and Endress-Hauser more than a decade ago. The former CEOs, Keith Nosbusch and Klaus Endress, promised to combine their strengths for the benefit of customers and create systems that communicate perfectly with each other.
In Maulburg, this translates not only into research and development, but also to the training of employees and clients at the validation centre and practical work sessions for apprentices. Last year, 2,600 outdoor visitors were trained on tanks and test facilities. From now on, Rockwell Automation will send new interns.