CLARCOR Agrees to Acquire Air Filtration Business from G.E. Power and Water

FRANKLIN, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–CLARCOR Inc. (NYSE: CLC) announced that it has entered into an

agreement to acquire the Air Filtration business of General Electric

Company’s Power and Water division for approximately $265 million,

subject to contractually agreed adjustments. With over 700 employees

around the world and trailing twelve month annual revenues of

approximately $230 million, the business is a leading supplier of air

filtration systems and filters used in gas turbine applications, as well

as industrial air filtration products and membranes. Headquartered in

Overland Park, Kansas and with manufacturing operations in Missouri, the

UK and China, the business will continue to supply gas turbine air inlet

filtration systems and filters to GE, which has the world’s largest

installed base of natural gas turbines, under a multi-year supply

agreement. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2013.

Christopher L. Conway, CLARCOR’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive

Officer commented, “We are very excited about this acquisition and the

multiple opportunities it offers CLARCOR. Each element of this business

– gas turbine filtration, industrial air filtration, and membranes – is

attractive and fits within our core strategies and competencies. This

transaction creates exciting new vertical opportunities and

relationships, affords us access to various new technologies, broadens

our already extensive product portfolio and solidifies what we believe

is our standing as the most diversified filtration company in the world.

“With this transaction, CLARCOR will become a leading designer and

supplier of air inlet filtration products for natural gas turbines, a

business we believe is poised for long-term growth as the world

continues to shift toward natural gas as its energy source of choice.

CLARCOR traditionally has had little presence in the gas turbine

business, and we believe this transaction will immediately position

CLARCOR as a major player in the space and provide a strong platform

from which to grow, both with respect to first-fit applications as well

as the aftermarket.

“The industrial air filtration piece of the business, better known as

BHA – one of the industry’s most well-known and respected names – is

widely recognized as having a broad offering of products as well as

in-depth customer knowledge and service capabilities. For decades, BHA

has been engaged in direct selling of aftermarket bag house air filters

and pleated cartridges for diverse industries such as cement production,

food and beverage and pharmaceuticals. This direct sales model should

dovetail nicely with our TFS distribution network and allow us to better

service aftermarket customers and vertical markets around the country

with a significantly expanded product offering of pleated industrial air


“The related membrane portion of the business not only adds attractive

high-margin products to our existing product offerings, but further

enhances our ability to develop performance filtration media that have

potential application throughout CLARCOR. Indeed, the entire Air

Filtration business comes with an abundance of patented technologies,

and will approximately triple the already extensive number of patents

that CLARCOR and its operating businesses hold today.

“When all is said and done, however, it is no secret that the key to any

acquisition is the people on both sides and the cultural fit between

organizations. It was clear to us from our first interaction with the

management team and our visits to the business’ facilities in the U.S.

and abroad that both of these factors are present here. We believe that

management has done the right things to position the business for growth

and expansion, and the workforce and culture seem closely aligned with

our own. We view this acquisition as a platform for growth and one from

which we can provide additional scale to our own industrial and process

air businesses, and we believe that the people who will be joining us

will prove themselves to be assets to CLARCOR for years to come.”

“The Air Filtration business has strengthened its operations and

improved performance over the past two years to create a world-class

filtration business,” said Victor Abate, President and CEO, Power

Generation Products at GE Power & Water. “In the Power Generation

segment, we are focused on our core gas turbine technology, and we have

made the strategic decision to simplify the business to better match our

core strengths. We are pleased that the transaction with CLARCOR will

allow Air Filtration the opportunity to grow and thrive in the

filtration industry.”

XMS Capital Partners served as exclusive financial advisor and Bass

Berry & Sims PLC served as lead legal advisor to CLARCOR in connection

with the transaction. Consummation of the transaction is subject to

customary conditions, including the expiration or early termination of

the waiting period applicable to the transaction under the

Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended.

CLARCOR is based in Franklin, Tennessee, and is a diversified marketer

and manufacturer of mobile, industrial and environmental filtration

products and consumer and industrial packaging products sold in domestic

and international markets. Common shares of the Company are traded on

the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CLC.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the

meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and

Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All

statements made in this press release other than statements of

historical fact, are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking

statements may include, among other things: statements and assumptions

relating to the consummation of the proposed acquisition; the historical

results of operations of the business to be acquired; statements

regarding anticipated order patterns from customers, including GE, or

the anticipated economic conditions of the industries and markets that

we serve; statements relating to the anticipated effects on results of

operations or financial condition from recent and expected developments

or events; statements relating to the Company’s business and growth

strategies; and any other statements or assumptions that are not

historical facts. The Company believes that its expectations are based

on reasonable assumptions. However, these forward-looking statements

involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important

factors that could cause the Company’s actual results, performance or

achievements, or industry results, to differ materially from the

Company’s expectations of future results, performance or achievements

expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. These risks

include the failure to complete the acquisition and the failure to

realize the economic and strategic benefits of the transaction. In

addition, the Company’s past results of operations do not necessarily

indicate its future results. The Company’s future results may differ

materially from the Company’s past results as a result of various risks

and uncertainties, including the risk factors discussed in the “Risk

Factors” section of the Company’s 2012 Form 10-K and other risk factors

detailed from time to time in the Company’s filings with the Securities

and Exchange Commission. You should not place undue reliance on any

forward-looking statements. These statements speak only as of the date

of this press release. Except as otherwise required by applicable laws,

the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any

forward-looking statements or the risk factors described in this press

release, whether as a result of new information, future events, changed

circumstances or any other reason after the date of this press release.

Mexico stealing factory jobs? Blame automation instead

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump blames Mexico and China for stealing millions of jobs from the United States.

He might want to bash the robots instead.

Despite the Republican presidential nominee’s charge that “we don’t make anything anymore,” manufacturing is still flourishing in America. Problem is, factories don’t need as many people as they used to because machines now do so much of the work.

America has lost more than seven million factory jobs since manufacturing employment peaked in 1979. Yet American factory production, minus raw materials and some other costs, more than doubled over the same span to $1.91 trillion last year, according to the Commerce Department, which uses 2009 dollars to adjust for inflation. That’s a notch below the record set on the eve of the Great Recession in 2007. And it makes U.S. manufacturers No. 2 in the world behind China.

Trump and other critics are right that trade has claimed some American factory jobs, especially after China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001 and gained easier access to the U.S. market. And industries that have relied heavily on labor — like textile and furniture manufacturing — have lost jobs and production to low-wage foreign competition. U.S. textile production, for instance, is down 46 percent since 2000. And over that time, the textile industry has shed 366,000, or 62 percent, of its jobs in the United States.

But research shows that the automation of U.S. factories is a much bigger factor than foreign trade in the loss of factory jobs. A study at Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research last year found that trade accounted for just 13 percent of America’s lost factory jobs. The vast majority of the lost jobs — 88 percent — were taken by robots and other homegrown factors that reduce factories’ need for human labor.

“We’re making more with fewer people,” says Howard Shatz, a senior economist at the Rand Corp. think tank.

General Motors, for instance, now employs barely a third of the 600,000 workers it had in the 1970s. Yet it churns out more cars and trucks than ever.

Or look at production of steel and other primary metals. Since 1997, the United States has lost 265,000 jobs in the production of primary metals — a 42 percent plunge — at a time when such production in the U.S. has surged 38 percent.

Allan Collard-Wexler of Duke University and Jan De Loecker of Princeton University found last year that America didn’t lose most steel jobs to foreign competition or faltering sales. Steel jobs vanished because of the rise of a new technology: Super-efficient mini-mills that make steel largely from scrap metal.

The robot revolution is just beginning.

The Boston Consulting Group predicts that investment in industrial robots will grow 10 percent a year in the 25-biggest export nations through 2025, up from 2 or 3 percent growth in recent years.

The economics of robotics are hard to argue with. When products are replaced or updated, robots can be reprogrammed far faster and more easily than people can be retrained.

And the costs are dropping: Owning and operating a robotic spot welder cost an average $182,000 in 2005 and $133,000 in 2014 and will likely run $103,000 by 2025, Boston Consulting says. Robots will shrink labor costs 22 percent in the United States, 25 percent in Japan and 33 percent in South Korea, the firm estimates.

CEO Ronald De Feo is overseeing a turnaround at Kennametal, a Pittsburgh-based industrial materials company. The effort includes investing $200 million to $300 million to modernize Kennametal’s factories while cutting 1,000 of 12,000 jobs. Automation is claiming some of those jobs and will claim more in the future, De Feo says.

“What we want to do is automate and let attrition” reduce the workforce, he says.

Visiting a Kennametal plant in Germany, De Feo found workers packing items by hand. He ordered $10 million in machinery to automate the process in Germany and North America.

That move, he says, will produce “better quality at lower cost” and “likely result in a combination of job cuts and reassignments.”

But the rise of the machines offers an upside to some American workers: The increased use of robots — combined with higher labor costs in China and other developing countries — has reduced the incentive for companies to chase low-wage labor around the world.

Multinational companies are also rethinking how they spread production across the globe in the 1990s and 2000s, when they tended to manufacture components in different countries and then assemble a product at a plant in China or other low-wage country. The 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which disrupted shipments of auto parts, and the bankruptcy of the South Korean shipping line Hanjin Shipping, which stranded cargo in ports, exposed the risk of relying on far-flung supply lines.

“If your supply chain gets interrupted and your raw materials are coming from offshore, all of a sudden shelves are empty and you can’t sell product,” says Thomas Caudle, president of the North Carolina-based textile company Unifi.

So companies have been returning to the United States, capitalizing on the savings provided by robots, cheap energy and the chance to be closer to customers.

“They don’t have all their eggs in that Asian basket anymore,” Caudle says.

Over the past six years, Unifi has added about 200 jobs, bringing the total to over 1,100, at its automated factory in Yadkinville, North Carolina, where recycled plastic bottles are converted into Repreve yarn. Unmanned carts crisscross the factory floor, retrieving packages of yarn with mechanical arms — work once done by people.

In a survey by the consulting firm Deloitte, global manufacturing executives predicted that that the United States — now No. 2 — will overtake China as the most competitive country in manufacturing by 2020. (Competitiveness is measured by such factors as costs, productivity and the protection of intellectual property.)

The Reshoring Initiative, a nonprofit that lobbies manufacturers to return jobs to the United States, says America was losing an average of 220,000 net jobs a year to other countries a decade ago. Now, the number being moved abroad is roughly offset by the number that are coming back or being created by foreign investment.

Harold Sirkin, senior partner at Boston Consulting, says the global scramble by companies for cheap labor is ending.

“When I hear that (foreigners) are taking all our jobs — the answer is, they’re not,” he says.

Software And Robots Eat Jobs. Now What?

In a story for Vox Monday, Matt Yglesias argues that we shouldn’t be worried about losing our jobs to robots — or to any other kind of sophisticated tech that can do the work of a human. What should worry us, Yglesias suggests, is the possibility that this doesn’t happen.

To Ygelsias, the sluggish productivity gains in the American economy over the past 40 years or so are evidence that the impact of automation on jobs, past, present and future, is a “myth.”

If robots were taking our jobs, the productivity of the workers who still have jobs — the total amount of work that gets done divided by the total number of people who are employed — would be going up rapidly. But it’s not. It is rising, but it’s rising slower than it did in the past.

Yglesias cites the 2015 Economic Report of the President and the annual report from the Council of Economic Advisers, which do indeed show that labor productivity growth has tapered off. He suggests a number of policy changes for adapting to a world with less work, and those proposals are worth debating.

White House Council of Economic Advisors

But Yglesias is wrong to assert that 1) many professions have not been significantly affected by automation and 2) many more won’t be soon. He claims, for example, that for many people, advances in tech have only affected their day-to-day jobs in “relatively superficial ways”: 

These days people are perhaps more likely to book a reservation or order a takeout meal with an app rather than a phone call, but the core work of serving and preparing food has seen very little progress.

Well, maybe. But observe the touch screens in use at your local McDonald’s — or read Dr. Atul Gawande’s 2012 New Yorker story about how the Cheesecake Factory has standardized and modernized its food-prep practices — and you might come to a different conclusion about what technology has already wrought. Then, watch the video of a robot chef embedded below and think about what’s coming in the next few years.  

This machine isn’t just playing the role of a microwave jockey in a fast-food restaurant. It’s producing restaurant-quality fare. The robot chef in this video is a prototype, but technology of this kind could be on the market in just a couple of years, according to the BBC.

Soon, many restaurants will have screens that allow customers to order and pay for their food — which then may or may not be delivered by a human.

Food preparation and food service are just the beginning. Yglesias is right that “we still don’t have robot doctors who can treat patients in lieu of costly and inconvenient human ones.” We can assume that “Dr. Watson” will still be in the waiting room for a few years yet, although IBM’s efforts to apply its software to medicine continue.  

We can also assume, however, that there are many, many people who currently a) work in some kind of customer-service capacity and b) don’t make life-or-death decisions on a daily basis. It’s these kinds of jobs that are most at risk in the decade ahead.

Telemarketers, accountants and retail workers are at the bottom of this chart from The Economist that lists the odds (as calculated by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, of the University of Oxford) that computerization will lead to job losses in various industries by 2023. Technical writers and real estate agents aren’t far behind.

The Economist

“The advances we’re seeing in artificial intelligence and machine learning will infiltrate the broader economy quickly,” MIT research scientist Andrew McAfee told The Huffington Post last week.

“We’ll see digital customer service representatives before much longer, answering complicated questions, doing troubleshooting and setting up appointments,” he said. “A lot of people make a living today by listening to other people, figuring out what they want and giving that to them. We have always needed a person throughout history for that work.” 

A Japanese hotel run by robots shows what’s already possible. E-discovery software helps law firms to quickly find what they need amid reams of documents — a task that might once have required a room of paralegals to accomplish. Algorithms provide financial advice. And although Yglesias’ position at Vox is probably safe, anyone who does commodity reporting on quarterly results should fear the software that produces financial journalism for the Associated Press. 

The impact of technological advancement on peoples’ job prospects will probably grow. Many (though not all) of the experts surveyed on the future of jobs by the Pew Internet and Life Project last year believe that artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation will imperil white-collar jobs, from media to medicine to finance to law, along with many aspects of the retail, hospitality and customer service industries.

The good news — as The Economist highlighted last year, and as Yglesias himself points out — is that technological innovations have historically delivered more jobs than they have destroyed. My bet, though, is that the wave of automation moving through the world right now is going to replace a lot of labor. That which can be automated will be. 

What we have less insight into is how well the people whose professions become obsolete due to advances in automation will be able to adapt. Detroit was ground zero for these kinds of challenges in the last century. While some kinds of retraining programs hold promise for displaced people, structural unemployment could be in the cards for a great many Americans — factory workers would be just the beginning. If self-driving trucks displace truckers, millions more could join the ranks of the disrupted. There’s a CVS in Washington, D.C. that I’ve been to, where one attendant watches over four automated checkers and provides customer support as needed. I predict we’re going to see a lot more of that kind of thing.

What should we do about the fact that soon, many more people could lose their jobs to automation? In 2012, I wrote about a useful innovation agenda for the next president of the United States. In less than two years, it will fall to someone other than President Barack Obama to grapple with more economic disruption. We should all wish him or her luck in leading the country to help those most affected.

CES 2015: Robots Take Over Las Vegas

What happens when a bunch of robots go to Las Vegas?

It’s not the plot of a science fiction movie but is instead a reality this week at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show, where some of the most innovative artificially intelligent machines are stealing the show.

Robots may not rule the world yet, but they can dominate in a game of beer pong, as evidenced by a group seen at Empire Robotics’ booth.

A robot tosses a pingpong ball in a round of beer pong at CES 2015.

Intel showed its spider dress, which has a built-in self-defense system. The dress was designed by Anouk Wipprecht and uses Intel’s Edison chip.

When someone gets too close to the wearer’s personal space, sensors in the dress alert its spider-like limbs to expand, putting space between the wearer and perceived threat.

The Bocco Kids’ Robot sits on a table at CES 2015 on Jan. 6, 2015.

Designed by a Japanese company, Bocco is a friendly robot that aims to bring families closer together.

Bocco lets users send a voice message to loved ones at home, which will be delivered by the robot. They can then talk back and the robot will send a voice message reply.

Another feature: Attach a sensor and it can notify someone outside the home when a loved one is home, perfect for working parents whose children go home alone after school.

Grill-cleaning robots were just one type of robot to be displayed at CES 2015.

While having the perfect barbecue may be some peoples’ idea of heaven, the resulting cleanup process is not. That’s where the Grillbot steps in to help.

The robotic cleaners spring into action with the push of a button, using high-powered motors and wire brushes to clean up grill residue in a matter of minutes.

ABC News’ Neal Karlinsky talks to a woman who telecommutes out of state via this remote-controlled robot on wheels at CES 2015 on Jan. 7, 2015.

While some people may enjoy working in another office or even state than their boss, the BeamPro robot allows anyone to be virtually present in an office.

Made by Suitable Tech, the robot lets users “interact with remote locations by coupling high-end video and audio with the freedom of motion to move about a space.”

The result: A more collaborative work experience and the joy of knowing that your boss is watching you, even from across the country.

ABC News’ Neal Karlinsky and Brandon Chase contributed to this report.

MIT grad decided to follow his dream rather than a salary

But for one graduate, a different calling has meant he’s sacrificed a comfortable life and taken a big risk to follow his dream: to open Africa’s first STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) campus in Nigeria.

Nigerian-American Obinna Ukwuani, who grew up in Washington D.C., went back to Nigeria for eighth and ninth grades as his family felt it was important for him to know his roots. He had a revelation when he returned during his freshman year at MIT.

“I met up with my peers, the friends and classmates I’d met during my time there and it was shocking to see how far behind me they were. It was a very real experience for me,” says Ukwuani. The edge, he realized, was due to his schooling in the United States. The imbalance he recognized, he says, “was an injustice.”

“In the U.S., if you work hard, you’ll be fine in this life. So I had that moment where I knew I wanted to improve things in Nigeria.”

Robotics boot camp

Ukwuani’s sudden realization eventually led to the launch of a robotics summer school in Lagos for high school students from 2012 to 2014. The Exposure Robotics Academy taught 113 boys and girls from 17 states around Nigeria how to code and build robots.

The five-week residential program hired MIT students to mentor Nigerian high school students in a program sponsored by Shell Oil.

Recently, a documentary based on the program, “Naija Beta”, won “Best Documentary Film” at the Roxbury International Film Festival. He’s hoping on repeating the experience with a new STEM school.

Taking risks

It’s early days but initial investment for the school, to be called Makers Academy, is happening, and Ukwuani’s sleepless nights are starting to pay off.

“I really believe in what I’m doing,” he says.

After writing a business plan, Ukwuani spent five months shopping it around before four investors came forward, each offering a $50,000 investment.

“It’s a long-term model. It could be a decade before they get their money back,” he says.

Makers Academy

Ukwuani believes Nigeria’s biggest issue presently is that the country doesn’t produce anything. “We import everything, and it comes back to education. We’re not doing a good job,” he says. He’s hoping to change that. When the school opens in Abuja (he projects this will happen in 2018 or 2019), Ukwuani is aiming for 600 students living on the Makers Academy campus.

While there are other schools in Africa offering STEM education, the Academy would be the first innovation center where students have access to tools such as laser-cutters, 3D-printers, woodworking equipment and more, says Ukwuani.

Similar to himself, the students will possess a certain proficiency in mathematics and an aptitude for building things.

“I was taking things apart when I was 10 years old. If you had purchased a remote control car, I would rip it apart and put it back together,” recalls Ukwuani.

The current economic situation in Nigeria could be a benefit, he says. The recession is forcing people to bring kids studying abroad back to Nigeria. “Now more than ever we need more options — and we don’t have them.” Hopefully Makers Academy will be the first of many for Nigeria’s youth.

Carrier to ultimately cut some of jobs Trump saved

Carrier to ultimately cut some of jobs Trump saved – Dec. 8, 2016 by Chris Isidore   @CNNMoney December 9, 2016: 8:16 AM ET ‘;

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But that has a big down side for some of the workers in Indianapolis.

Most of that money will be invested in automation said to Greg Hayes, CEO of United Technologies, Carrier’s corporate parent. And that automation will replace some of the jobs that were just saved.

“We’re going to…automate to drive the cost down so that we can continue to be competitive,” he said on an interview on CNBC earlier this week. “Is it as cheap as moving to Mexico with lower cost labor? No. But we will make that plant competitive just because we’ll make the capital investments there. But what that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs.”

The decision to keep Carrier’s furnace manufacturing operations in the U.S. instead of moving them to Mexico will save about 800 jobs out of the 1,400 at the plant, at least in the near term. The company declined to say how many of the plants 800 remaining jobs could be lost to automation, or when.

Related: Robots threaten these 8 jobs

The threat that automation poses to jobs a big concern for Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers union Local 1999, which represents the Carrier workers.

“Automation means less people,” he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day” on Thursday. “I think we’ll have a reduction of workforce at some point in time once they get all the automation in and up and running.”

Still, automation is the only way that a plant in Indiana that pays about $20 an hour can compete with Mexican plants where workers earn $3 an hour.

Related: Carrier to raise prices on furnaces and air conditioners

The number of U.S. manufacturing jobs in the U.S. has declined sharply thanks in large part to more efficient factories.

“You can’t just blame cheap labor [outside the U.S.],” said Dan Miklovic, principal analyst with LNS research. “Certainly many of the jobs that we’ve lost, especially in more sophisticated industries, it’s not so much that they’ve been offshored, but it has been automation that replaced them. We use a lot more robots to build cars.”

Related: The manufacturing boom Donald Trump ignores

All together, U.S. factories are actually producing more products today than they did in the post-World War II era, according to the Federal Reserve’s reading on manufacturing output. Output at U.S. factories is up 150% in last 40 years. But U.S. manufacturing jobs have plunged by more than 30% in that same period. And automation is a big reason why.

And it’s not a trend that’s going to end with Carrier or even with manufacturers.

A recent study by McKinsey & Co. said that 45% of the tasks that U.S. workers are currently paid to perform can be automated by existing technology. That represents about $2 trillion in annual wages.

CNNMoney (New York) First published December 8, 2016: 4:14 PM ET

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Industrial Revolution 3.0 | The Huffington Post

The accelerated pace of life makes it difficult to take stock of the patterns drawn by deeper forces shaping the world. We marvel at amazing gadgets but we easily lose sight of the powerful industrial revolution that is gaining momentum.

It is easy and dangerous for business and government leaders to underestimate the breadth and depth of its strategic implications. Putting the rising revolution in a historical context can allow us to anticipate and better prepare for change to come.

Revolution 1.0 transformed the world in the 1800s. It was powered by coal and moved by iron machines and factories, railways and steamships. The telegraph allowed for instant communication across oceans and continents. Agricultural innovations such as enclosures, crop rotation, selective breeding brought productivity gains freeing rural labor. Access to vast tracts of land and resources in the Americas, Africa and Asia made food and materials like cotton abundant and triggered an unprecedented rise in standards of living and population growth. England and Western Europe became dominant global powers.

Revolution 2.0 shaped the 1900s. It was powered by oil. Cars, buses and planes were the new means of transportation. The telephone, TV, cinema and radio transformed communication and society. Manufacturing became vastly more productive with assembly lines, standardized and specialized machine tools and dumb robots. Urbanization led to the rise of the service economy.

Agriculture changed again with mechanization, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and industrial farming. Steel, aluminum, plastic and synthetic fibers underpinned the economy. Revolution 2.0 brought modernization and unprecedented quality of life and population growth across the world. The US and Western civilization remained leaders.

Today Revolution 2.0 shows clear signs of fatigue and decline. Rising oil prices and unprecedented debt levels are putting a huge burden on global growth and job creation. Youth unemployment is massive and widespread, at 28 percent in the Middle East and over 40 percent in parts of Europe, creating a fertile ground for extremism and conflict. Food prices remain near historic peaks and threaten to erase progress in poverty eradication and further aggravate social tension. IPCC warns of dire impacts of climate change.

At the same time Revolution 3.0 is gaining strength and beginning to shape the 21st century. Internet and billions of mobile and connected devices are rapidly redefining communication. Renewable energies are gaining ground to fossil fuels. Networks of electric and hydrogen powered drones and autonomous vehicles are poised to redefine transportation. Social and flexible robots, 3D printers and nanotechnology are transforming how we make things, making complexity free and labor costs less relevant.

Artificial intelligence is replacing humans in a growing array of activities. Novel materials such as carbon nanotubes, bioplastics and graphene are poised to replace those of the second revolution. Synthetic biology is beginning to redefine transformation processes just like chemistry did in the past. Agriculture is becoming a high-tech sector with genetically modified crops, remote sensing, prescription planting as well as urban agriculture and bioprinted meat. The private sector is leading the creation of a space economy with reusable rockets, nanosatellites and space robots.

Like in the past, the seeds that will shape this century were planted in the previous one. In fact, many of its foundational technologies already exist and well-funded innovative startups are making strides towards their market success. Elon Musk, for example, is simultaneously working to reshape the space, automobile and solar panel installation sectors. If anything, this revolution has yet to show its full power with new developments in nanotechnology, for example.

Just like the previous versions, this revolution will eventually bring abundance and rising standards of living. It will also bring massive shifts in the balance of power and bring profound changes in society. The transition to the new era will result in turbulence and create the conditions for conflict. Disruptive innovation will dominate value creation. Entrepreneurs will spearhead change replacing the constructs of the second revolution.

New paradigms are becoming dominant. Adaptability and nimbleness are being sought over predictability and scale. Value chains are being replaced by fluid multi-tiered ecosystems. Ownership is being trumped by access. Talent is becoming global and freelancing is growing over full-time employment. Open innovation, crowdsourcing and the maker movement are gaining ground over big labs. Networks are overcoming hierarchies.

The speed of Revolution 3.0 is brutal due to its digital and exponential nature. Its magnitude will also dwarf previous revolutions. For example, IDC predicts that we will generate 44ZB of data by 2020 versus 1.8ZB in 2011.

But qualitative quantum leaps make it unique. While other revolutions replaced muscles, smart machines are now replacing humans in cognitive functions. We can read, edit and print DNA and create new life forms. We will have to move from biosphere exploitation to regeneration. We are on our way to become a multi-planetary species.

Revolutions 1.0 and 2.0 brought massive conflict and adaptation costs in the form of conflict, inequality and pollution. During Revolution 2.0 we paid the price for the abuses of Revolution 1.0 in the form of communism and racial tensions. In Revolution 3.0 we will pay the price of Revolution 2.0 in the form of debt and environmental stress. Why not hack the future and make it better?[‘

We can reinvent education to make it relevant for the future and address the growing skills mismatch challenge. We need to get ready for a world with fewer jobs and abundant opportunities. We can stimulate the development of technologies to cover basic necessities at a small fraction of the cost. We can accelerate the growth of renewables to make energy abundant and cheap, boost global growth and reverse greenhouse gas emission trends.

Ignoring or resisting change and protecting the structures of Revolution 2.0 over the emergence of Revolution 3.0 will involve a hefty price. History shows that those who proactively embrace and lead technology revolutions reap their benefits. Let’s surf the technology tsunami coming our way and make the future better.

Rockwell Automation Acquires Lektronix, A Leading Industrial Automation Repairs And Service Provider

MILWAUKEE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE: ROK) today announced it has purchased

Lektronix, a leading independent industrial automation repairs and

service provider in Europe and Asia, headquartered in Cannock, U.K.

Lektronix provides automation repairs, spares and other maintenance

services for most industrial automation products, including programmable

logic controllers (PLC), electric motor drives, industrial computers,

and computerized numerical control (CNC) equipment. Customers include a

broad range of manufacturers from food and beverage to heavy process

industries. Lektronix’s management team will join the Rockwell

Automation Control Products & Solutions operating segment.

“This acquisition accelerates the growth of the Rockwell Automation

service business in Europe and further expands our customer presence in

emerging economies,” said Hedwig Maes, president of Rockwell

Automation’s Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

“Lektronix customers will continue to receive the high level of

technical excellence and customer support they currently enjoy, and gain

significant advantages using the global network of Rockwell Automation

products, services and solutions,” said Tony Jones, Lektronix managing

director and CEO.

“Rockwell Automation understands that our customers have a large and

diverse installed base of industrial automation products and they need

their maintenance partner to be able to service a wide portfolio of

products to maximize plant productivity,” said Blake Moret, senior vice

president, Control Products & Solutions, Rockwell Automation. “Adding

Lektronix’s broad-based repair capabilities to the Rockwell Automation

plant services business creates an appealing value proposition for our

customers to enter into maintenance and technical service contracts with

Rockwell Automation.”

Lektronix has approximately 290 employees across 11 facilities and 8

repair centers in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE: ROK), the world’s largest

company dedicated to industrial automation and information, makes its

customers more productive and the world more sustainable. Headquartered

in Milwaukee, Wis., Rockwell Automation employs over 19,000 people

serving customers in more than 80 countries.

CIMTEC Automation LLC Selected as Universal Robots’ Distribution Partner for Collaborative Robots Serving U.S. Southeastern Region


Automation LLC today announced it has been selected as Universal

Robots’ distribution partner for collaborative robots serving the U.S.

southeastern region. The partnership augments CIMTEC’s already

best-in-class automation components and will provide even more advanced

automation tools to improve its customers’ manufacturing quality and


“We are excited about this new partnership with Universal Robots,” said

Dan Keenan, president of CIMTEC Automation. “Having built our reputation

on providing state-of-the-art automation products and industry

solutions, we are eager to bring this advanced robotic technology to our


“We see a collaborative robot as a tool – one that can quickly be

transitioned between automation tasks to streamline production planning.

Flexibility in manufacturing involves ability to deal with variation in

volumes, design and material handling as well as variations in the

process sequences. We look forward to working with CIMTEC to bring these

innovative tools to an even wider customer base in the Southeastern

market,” says Douglas Peterson, general manager of Universal Robots’

Americas Division.

Having a built-in safety system that enables a robot to stop operating

if it comes into contact with an employee, has long been the defining

feature of collaborative robots. Universal Robots has expanded the term

“collaborative” to include user-friendliness, the ability to quickly

re-deploy, and simple setup. Whether it is adjusting to seasonal lines,

or to variation in co-packing lines, employees can teach these robots

new moves as production schedules change.

About Universal Robots:

Universal Robots, a part of Boston-based Teradyne Inc., is headquartered

in Odense and has subsidiaries and regional offices in the U.S., Spain,

Germany, Singapore, Czech Republic, India, and China. Universal Robots

has more than 300 employees worldwide. Learn more at

About CIMTEC Automation LLC:

Established in 1987, CIMTEC Automation has become one of the industry’s

largest, most progressive, responsive, and trusted automation

engineering solution providers. The company’s customer-centric

philosophy and mission is focused on providing the best value and

performance in innovative automation solutions to provide its customers

with a competitive advantage in the global market. Headquartered in

Charlotte, NC, CIMTEC has offices in strategic locations throughout

North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Learn more at

GM buys Cruise Automation to speed self-driving car strategy | Reuters

General Motors Co (GM.N) announced Friday it is buying Cruise Automation, a San Francisco self-driving vehicle startup, the latest move by the auto company as it competes with Silicon Valley to develop self-driving cars that could be used in ride-sharing fleets.

GM and Cruise did not disclose the value of the deal. Technology website Re/Code cited sources as saying GM paid $1 billion. A GM spokesman declined to comment on that figure.

GM intends to use Cruise’s technology and people to accelerate its effort to develop vehicles that can operate without a human driver, potentially as part of ride-sharing fleets “as soon as possible,” GM President Dan Ammann said in an interview.

“We will be committing considerable resources to recruit and grow the capability of the team,” Ammann said.

Cruise has been working to develop hardware and software that could be installed in a vehicle to enable the car to pilot itself on a highway, without the driver steering or braking.

GM initially planned an investment in the company but moved within five weeks to buy Cruise outright, said venture partner Nabeel Hyatt of Spark Capital, an investor in Cruise.

“They moved faster than most Silicon Valley companies would move,” he said.

Cruise, which has 40 employees, was launched in 2013 and has raised $20 million in venture capital, founder Kyle Vogt said in an interview.

Vogt impressed Silicon Valley venture capital fund Signia Venture Partners by demonstrating an Audi A4 that could be controlled by a game console, said Signia principal Sunny Dhillon.

More recently, Cruise was working on a system that could make a car “fully driverless,” Vogt said.

A flurry of investments by traditional auto companies reflects a fear among industry executives that the century-old business of building and selling cars that people drive themselves is at risk, even though global vehicle demand is strong.

In January, GM said it would invest $500 million in ride-hailing company Lyft Inc and followed that by forming a new car-sharing operation called Maven. The company has also established a separate unit for self-driving vehicle development.

Other automakers are moving into ride sharing and self-driving vehicles, as are some traditional auto suppliers.

Germany’s Continental AG (CONG.DE) and Delphi Automotive Plc (DLPH.N) among others are seeking technology companies to buy for intellectual property and programming talent.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum and Cynthia Osterman)

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