Rockwell incident: GE collaborates on automation tech

GE Healthcare will demonstrate automated single-use bioprocessing technologies at Interphex this week after teaming up with Rockwell Automation.

Ahead of the Interphex event in New York City this week, GE Healthcare has announced a collaboration with Rockwell Automation, combining automation, IT and single-use technologies in efforts to create more flexible and faster facilities.

“We are working with Rockwell to develop innovative solutions that address single-use bioprocessing challenges,” Kevin Seaver, executive general manager of Bioprocess Automation and Digital at GE Healthcare told Bioprocess Insider.

Image: iStock/EtiAmmos

“Rockwell is an industrial automation provider that develops software and hardware products. They can also support our single-use platform deployment with service, design, and implementation services but only for Rockwell – and Rockwell partners – software platforms and hardware products.”

Financial details and specific combined products have not been disclosed, but one solution being worked on by the two companies will be demonstrated on the show floor at Interphex, Seaver said.

Rockwell and Zenith

This is not GE Healthcare’s first step into automated bioprocessing technologies.

In 2016, the firm teamed up with Zenith Technologies to integrate process control systems, manufacturing execution system (MES) solutions and other supporting technologies with its own KUBio modular manufacturing facilities and FlexFactory single-use manufacturing platform.

There are some similarities between the Zenith and Rockwell deal but some differences, Seaver said. “Fundamentally, our relationship with Zenith is a partnership and our relationship with Rockwell is a collaboration.”

He continued: “Both are amazing organizations that GEHC relies on to deliver technical solutions to our bioprocess offering. Zenith is a partnership that supports the implementation of our single-use solutions with service, design and integration of automation solutions from a variety of automation and hardware providers.”

In 2017, GE Healthcare moved its partnership with Zenith up a notch through a strategic minority investment in the company.

Seaver said “GE Healthcare has no intent to acquire some or part of Rockwell” when asked.

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