Milwaukee-based Rockwell Automation Inc. unveiled new company branding at its annual Automation Fair conference this week, emphasizing the role of people in its work with the brand promise “Expanding Human Possibility.”
“I know that sounds a little strange for an automation company to spend so much time talking about people, but at the end of the day, all of us, regardless of our roles, are looking for a few basic things in what we do for work,” Blake Moret, Rockwell chairman and chief executive officer, said during a presentation unveiling the brand.
Moret said people want to do important work, have the tools and support to do a good job and to have a chance to get ahead when they perform well.
“When we bring the Connected Enterprise to life well, then we enable those things for people who engage with our technology and our people and we truly expand human possibility,” he said.
The Connected Enterprise is Rockwell’s term for the combination of traditional automation equipment and software with connected devices and the ability to analyze data to improve business operations.
Moret said at the most basic level, Rockwell’s work is about automating manual and repetitive processes to help businesses improve productivity. He added that new technology is helping to unlock more productivity by making processes more intelligent and the business more connected.
“We know that when you combine the imaginations of people with the power of machines, anything is possible,” a voiceover in one of the company’s promotional videos says.
The company’s new logo and graphics aren’t a major departure from previous versions. They do use slightly different corporate colors and a new font, but the logo retains the iconic Allen-Bradley octagon that has been part of the logo for decades.
The new branding comes as people are increasingly concerned about what automation will mean for their daily lives.
A Pew Research survey in 2017 found 72 percent of U.S. adults were worried about a future in which robots and computers can do many human jobs. Majorities also supported public policies placing limits on robotics. The survey found 58 percent supported limiting the number of jobs businesses can replace with machines, even if they are better and cheaper than humans.
Many manufacturers say their use of automation is not about replacing workers but instead about allowing the workers they do have to be more productive. Business leaders say a tight job market has left them with no choice but to automate tasks to free up labor to perform tasks that cannot be automated.
In his remarks, Moret acknowledged there is some concern among industrial companies about moving forward with new technology.
“We are in a traditionally conservative industry, things move slowly,” he said. “When people figure out how to meet their production goals, they generally don’t touch it.”
But he pointed out businesses are competing in a global economy and the need to be agile is forcing the industry to move faster.
“We embrace the need for speed that may not have been there as urgently before,” he said. “It’s both in the acquisition of technology and our own development efforts as well as recognizing the human challenges involved with that. That change management is real within our own organization and also with the customers that we’re partnered with.”
“But when we combine the strengths of both, the newer technology as well as an engaged, enthusiastic workforce, anything is possible.”