GE Power cuts 12,000 jobs citing market disruption

GE Power plans to cut approximately 12,000 positions from its global workforce, including both professional and production employees, citing challenges in the power market worldwide.

The company announced Dec. 7 that the layoffs, combined with actions taken previously in 2017, will position GE Power to reach its announced target of $1 billion in structural cost reductions in 2018. This announcement aligns with GE’s effort to reduce overall structural costs by $3.5 billion in 2017 and 2018.

Some of the power market challenges the company cited were that traditional power markets including gas and coal have softened and volumes are down significantly in products and services driven by overcapacity, lower utilization, fewer outages, an increase in steam plant retirements, and overall growth in renewables.

GE Power said it is “right-sizing” the business for these realities and is focused on improving operational excellence and reducing its footprint and structure, which will help drive significant improvements in cash flows and margins.

“This decision was painful but necessary for GE Power to respond to the disruption in the power market, which is driving significantly lower volumes in products and services,” said Russell Stokes, president and CEO, GE Power. “Power will remain a work in progress in 2018. We expect market challenges to continue, but this plan will position us for 2019 and beyond.

GE Power generates more than 30 percent of the world’s electricity and has equipped 90 percent of transmission utilities worldwide. Stokes said at its core GE Power is a strong business, noting a backlog of $99 billion and its substantial global installed base.

“This plan will make us simpler and stronger so we can drive more value for our customers and investors,” Stokes said.

Honeywell survey shows industrial companies slow to adopt cybersecurity measures

Honeywell released a new study in December showing industrial companies are slow to adopt cybersecurity measures to protect their data and operations, even as attacks have increased around the globe.

The survey conducted by LNS Research and sponsored by Honeywell polled 130 strategic decision makers from industrial companies about their approach to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and their use of industrial cybersecurity technologies and practices.

“Decision makers are more aware of threats and some progress has been made to address them, but this report reinforces that cybersecurity fundamentals haven’t been adopted by a significant portion of the industrial community,” said Jeff Zindel, vice president and general manager, Honeywell Industrial Cyber Security. “In order to take advantage of the tremendous benefits of industrial digital transformation and IIoT, companies must improve their cybersecurity defenses and adapt to the heightened threat landscape now.”

Among the findings were:

  • More than half of respondents reported working in an industrial facility that already has had a cybersecurity breach.
  • Forty-five percent of the responding companies did not have an accountable enterprise leader for cybersecurity.
  • Only 37 percent were monitoring for suspicious behavior.
  • Although many companies reported conducting regular risk assessments, 20 percent were not doing them at all.

The study suggests three immediate actions for any industrial organization to capture the value of the new technologies:

  1. Make industrial cybersecurity part of digital transformation strategies.
  2. Drive best practice adoption across people, processes and technology, from access controls to risk monitoring, and tap external cyber expertise to fill gaps.
  3. Focus on empowering leaders and building an organizational structure that breaks down the silos between IT and OT.

The survey, Putting Industrial Cyber Security at the Top of the CEO Agenda, is available for free on Honeywell’s website.

Cleaning Product Right to Know Act requires manufacturers to disclose ingredients in cleaning products

On Oct. 15, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017 (S.B. 258). This bill is intended to balance consumer and worker demands for more ingredient information with complex implementation issues, including the need to protect certain proprietary and confidential business information. For the first time, cleaning products sold in the state of California will be required to list ingredients on product labels and provide additional ingredient information on product websites.

The online disclosure requirements apply to a designated product sold in California on or after Jan. 1, 2020. The product label disclosure requirements would apply to a designated product sold in California on or after Jan. 1, 2021.

On April 25, 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an initiative to require manufacturers of household cleaning products sold in New York to disclose the chemical ingredients on their websites. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is expected to release final guidance soon.

ISA publishes revised ‘The Condensed Handbook of Measurement and Control’

The International Society of Automation (ISA) has published the fourth edition release of “The Condensed Handbook of Measurement and Control” by Nabil (Bill) E. Battikha, P.E. The revised edition is designed to mitigate selection and implement measurement and control devices for process automation applications. “The Condensed Handbook of Measurement and Control” has long been one of ISA’s most successful publications. Battikha has twice received ISA’s Raymond D. Molloy Award — once for the initial edition of the book and once for the third edition. The award is presented annually to the author whose book outsold all others in a given year.

Rockwell Automation partners with UWM on $1.7M IoT institute

Rockwell Automation has partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) by giving $1.7 million toward a new connected systems institute (CSI). The multidisciplinary CSI will focus on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which uses sensors to gather data from equipment, machines, and manufactured products through secure data networks. The CSI will build on existing collaborations between UWM’s College of Engineering & Applied Science and its Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business, along with other academic units at UWM and other UW system universities. By providing undergraduate, graduate, professional, and executive education, research and programs, the institute is intended to develop talent, expertise and solutions to lead companies to greater productivity through IIoT technologies and applications.

The CSI, to be centrally located at UWM, will house IoT simulation, emulation, test bed and test plant facilities, where participating companies may test end-to-end production solutions.