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Rockwell Automation and Microsoft expand industrial automation design collaboration

Rockwell Automation has extended its longstanding relationship with Microsoft to accelerate industrial automation design and development through generative artificial intelligence.

The companies are combining technologies to empower the workforce and accelerate time-to-market for customers building industrial automation systems.

The first outcome of this collaboration will add Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service into FactoryTalk Design Studio to deliver industry-first capabilities accelerating time-to-market for their customers building industrial automation systems.

Matthew Littlefield, president LNS Research, says: “The skilled labor shortage and ensuing lost productivity is the biggest challenge facing industrial organizations and their service providers today.

“These shortages are increasing the need, value, and complexity of automation projects when the ecosystem of service providers is less equipped to deliver on time, quality, and budget.

“Generative AI has already proven its ability to capture the imagination and enhance the productivity of workers in a range of IT and business scenarios.

“Rockwell Automation and Microsoft’s strategic partnership is an exciting and high-potential step forward in addressing these long-term structural challenges.”

Rockwell and Microsoft recognize that using AI to enhance automation across various roles, from decision makers to control engineers and operators, is a key area where they can come together to help customers streamline their processes and drive worker productivity.

Blake Moret, chairman and CEO of Rockwell Automation, says: “Rockwell’s decade-long relationship with Microsoft illustrates our ongoing commitment to providing best-of-breed solutions that empower customers and support our shared vision of driving industries forward through innovation and collaboration.

“Together, we’re not just addressing current market needs; we’re shaping the future of technology in industrial automation.”

Adding Azure OpenAI Service into FactoryTalk Design Studio helps engineers generate code using natural language prompts, automating routine tasks and improving design efficiency.

It will also empower seasoned engineers to accelerate development and mentor newcomers on a learning path more efficiently and effectively.

Additionally, it will assist in finding relevant help from vast collections of information to further educate developers.

Rockwell and Microsoft see a bright future in extending this integrated technology to solve other challenges, including Quality Management and Improvement, Failure Mode Analysis, and training frontline workers to execute manufacturing processes through chat-based collaboration with experienced human workers as well as Azure OpenAI Service-based chatbots.

Judson Althoff, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Microsoft, says: “The explosive growth and interest in artificial intelligence is driving organizations to partner with Microsoft as a trusted cloud and AI provider.

“I am pleased to further strengthen our longstanding relationship with Rockwell by combining its expertise in industrial automation with Microsoft’s generative AI technology to help industrial professionals expedite the creation of complex control systems, optimize the efficiency of their operations, and spur greater innovation across industrial organizations.”

Additionally, Rockwell and Microsoft are continuing to explore ways to advance innovation in the industrial metaverse.

Both companies are using their respective IoT capabilities, cloud datasets, simulations and AI to design and build products more effectively, more efficiently and more sustainably.

The work between Rockwell and Microsoft will be showcased during Rockwell’s 2023 Automation Fair on November 6-9, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts.

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