Vendors Help with Automating Procedures
Comment of the Day

July 22 2013

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Vendors Help with Automating Procedures

This article by James R. Koelsch from Automation World magazine may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section
Automation vendors have been introducing a variety of tools for helping users to automate procedures in their control systems. Rockwell Automation, for example, introduced one last month called the PlantPAx Library sequencer. It helps users to think through a set of procedures so they can configure forcible steps and define what-if conditions.

“So procedural control becomes more of a configuration effort and less of a programming effort,” says Jason Wright, PlantPAx product manager ( The sequencer builds in the visualization for helping operators to see what steps they are currently on and what steps are coming up soon. It also prompts operators for any required human decisions and actions .

Eoin Treacy's view The most common perception of industrial automation is of robots working on assembly lines but the software that allows these machines to perform complex tasks is just as important as the physical hardware.

Rockwell Automation produces both hardware and software. The share found support in the region of the 200-day MA from April and broke out to new recovery highs last week. A sustained move below $83 would be required to question medium-term potential for additional upside. ABB, Fanuc, Kuka AG and Brooks Automation have relatively similar patterns. Krones AG has rallied to test its 2007 and 2011 peaks while Dover Corp continues to extend its medium-term uptrend. (Also see Comment of the Day on June 14th).

Cadence Design Systems has held a progression of higher reaction lows since late 2008 and while somewhat overbought in the short-term, a sustained move below $13 would be required to begin to question medium-term scope for additional upside. Mentor Graphics has a broadly similar pattern. Aspen Technology has paused mostly below $33 since March and has now returned to retest the peak. A clear downward dynamic would be needed to check potential for a successful upward break.

While only loosely related to the industrial automation sector, 3-D printing companies are also worthy of mention. 3D Systems and Stratasys have held their progressions of higher reaction lows throughout their respective six-month consolidations. Sustained moves below their respective 200-day MAs would be required to question medium-term upside potential. ExOne Corp has held a progression of higher major reaction lows since its IPO earlier this year.

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