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Rockwell Automation and Microsoft team up to empower industrial businesses

Rockwell Automation and Microsoft have expanded their partnership with the intention of empowering manufacturers with greater agility, intelligence and scale from the cloud to the edge.

The pair, who have had a partnership for five years, will develop integrated, market-ready edge-to-cloud solutions for industrial customers.

According to a statement, the solutions will connect information between development, operations and maintenance teams through a singular, trusted data environment.

This will allow development teams to digitally prototype, configure and collaborate without investing in costly physical equipment, the companies say.

Furthermore, this unified information environment also enables IT and OT teams to not only securely access and share data models across the organisation, but with their ecosystem of partners as well.

By combining each of the company's expertise in the industrial and IT markets, teams can work together more seamlessly, enabling industrial organisations to save on infrastructure costs, speed time-to-value, and increase productivity.

Organisations can access Rockwell Automation solutions now via the Microsoft Azure Marketplace with more solutions currently in development.

The next phase of co-innovation solutions will be available to joint customers of Rockwell Automation and Microsoft customers in Q1 2021 at Automation Fair At Home.

To date, the companies have co-developed more than 20 use cases across food and beverage, household and personal care and life sciences industries.

Microsoft executive vice president of worldwide commercial business Judson Althoff says, "The solutions developed from this partnership will augment and enhance our current offerings."

Althoff says, "Today, one thing we know for sure is that no business is 100% resilient. Those fortified with digital capabilities and assets are more resilient than others, and the cloud is how they will thrive.

"We are pleased to deepen our already strong, decade-long relationship with Rockwell Automation to help businesses simplify industrial transformation, accelerate business outcomes and innovate with agility."

Rockwell Automation CEO and chairman Blake Moret says, "This partnership provides Rockwell Automation and Microsoft customers with a holistic, simple solution for IIoT development and operations and removes data silos that hinder industrial digital transformation initiatives.

"By eliminating a core barrier to automation initiatives, industrial organisations establish a digital thread connecting the entire enterprise, which in turn accelerates innovation, maximises productivity and optimises operations."

One of the company's existing customers is Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited, New Zealand’s largest company and responsible for 30% of the world’s dairy exports.

GM of Automation & Operational Technology, Tristan Hunter, commented on the announcement.

Hunter says, "Our team has seen the preview release of this new solution and we are excited about collaboration between our strategic partners, Rockwell Automation and Microsoft.

"Moving data from our on-premise assets securely with context and providing new workflows for us to analyse and drive better outcomes is important to maintaining Fonterra's high standards across our many plants globally."