|This article does not cite any references or sources. (November 2014)|
|Traded as||NYSE: ROK
S&P 500 Component
|Key people||Keith Nosbusch,
Chairman & CEO
Manufacturing Execution System
|Revenue||US$ 6.62 billion (2014)|
|Net income||US$ 756.3 million (2013)|
|Employees||About 22,500 (2014)|
Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE: ROK), is a global provider of industrial automation and information solutions. Brands include Allen-Bradley and Rockwell Software.
Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Rockwell Automation employs over 22,000 people and serves customers in more than 80 countries worldwide. The Fortune 500 company reported $6.35 billion in sales during fiscal 2013.
Rockwell Automation traces its history to 1903 and the formation of the Compression Rheostat Company, founded by Lynde Bradley and Dr. Stanton Allen with an initial investment of $1000.
In 1904, 19-year-old Harry Bradley joined his brother in the business.
The company’s first patented product was a carbon disc compression-type motor controller for industrial cranes. The crane controller was demonstrated at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904.
In 1909, the company was renamed the Allen-Bradley Company.
Allen-Bradley expanded rapidly during World War I in response to government-contracted work. Its product line grew to include automatic starters and switches, circuit breakers, relays and other electric equipment.
In 1914, Fred Loock established the company’s first sales office in New York.
Upon co-founder Stanton Allen’s death in 1916, Lynde Bradley became president. Harry Bradley was appointed vice president and attorney Louis Quarles was named corporate secretary.
In 1918 Allen-Bradley hired its first female factory worker, Julia Bizewski Polczynski, who was promoted to foreman the following year.
During the 1920s, the company grew its miniature rheostat business to support the burgeoning radio industry. By the middle of this decade, nearly 50 percent of the company’s sales were attributed to the radio department. The decade closed with record company sales of $3 million.
By 1932, the Great Depression had taken its toll and the company posted record losses. Amid growing economic pressure, Allen-Bradley reduced its workforce from 800 to 550 and cut wages by 50 percent. To lessen the financial burden, Lynde and Harry Bradley implemented a unique program: the company replaced employees’ lost wages with preferred stock. Eventually, the company bought back all stock at six percent interest.
Throughout this period, Lynde Bradley supported an aggressive research and development approach intended to “develop the company out of the Depression.” Lynde Bradley’s R&D strategy was successful. By 1937, Allen-Bradley employment had rebounded to pre-Depression levels and company sales reached an all-time high of nearly $4 million.
Following the death of Lynde Bradley in 1942, Harry Bradley became company president and Fred Loock was promoted to vice president. The Lynde Bradley Foundation, a charitable trust, was established with Lynde Bradley’s assets. The foundation’s first gift of $12,500 was made to Milwaukee’s Community Fund, predecessor of the United Way.
World War II fueled unprecedented levels of production, with 80 percent of the company’s orders being war-related. Wartime orders were centered on two broad lines of products – industrial controls to speed production and electrical components or “radio parts” used in a wide range of military equipment.
Allen-Bradley expanded its facilities numerous times during the 1940s to meet war-time production needs. With Fred Loock serving as president and Harry Bradley as chairman, the company began a major $1 million, two-year expansion project in 1947. The company completed additional expansions at its Milwaukee facilities in the 1950s and 1960s, including the Allen-Bradley clock tower. The clock tower has since been renamed, and is known today as the Rockwell Automation clock tower.
Harry Bradley died in 1965. Fred Loock retired in 1967 and died in 1973.
Late 20th century
During the 1970s, the company expanded its production facilities and markets and entered the 1980s as a global company. With president J. Tracy O'Rourke (1981-89) at the helm, the company introduced a new line of programmable logic controllers, the PLC-3, in 1981.
In 1985 privately owned Allen-Bradley set a new fiscal record with sales of $1 billion. On February 20, 1985 Rockwell International purchased Allen-Bradley for $1.651 billion. This was the largest acquisition in Wisconsin's history to date.
The 1990s featured continued technology development, including the company’s launch of its software business, Rockwell Software (1994), the Logix control platform (1997) and the Integrated Architecture system (1999).
During this decade, Rockwell International also acquired a power systems business, composed of Reliance Electric and Dodge. These two brands, combined with control systems brands Allen-Bradley and Rockwell Software, were marketed as Rockwell Automation.
In 1998, Keith Nosbusch was named president of Rockwell Automation Control Systems. Rockwell International Corporation headquarters was moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin the same year.
Rockwell International Corporation changed its name to Rockwell Automation in 2002 and continues to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “ROK.”
Keith Nosbusch was named chief executive officer in 2004.
In 2007, Rockwell Automation sold the Power Systems division to focus on its core competencies in automation and information technology.
Rockwell Automation operates its business through two segments – Architecture and Software, and Control Products and Solutions.
- The Architecture and Software segment contains key elements of the Rockwell Automation control and information platforms, software applications and automation components.
- Control Products and Solutions consists of motor control products, solutions and services.
The Rockwell Automation portfolio includes:
- Integrated Architecture®
- Midrange Architecture System
- PlantPAx® Process Automation System
Industrial Control Components
- Connected Components
- On-Machine Solutions
- Safety Technology
- Manufacturing Intelligence
- Manufacturing Operations Management
Motor Control Devices
- Intelligent Motor Control
- On-Machine Solutions
- Connected Components
- Safety Technology
- Sensors & Switches
- EtherNet/IP and CIP Networks
- Machinery Safety
- Process Safety
- Electrical Safety
- Visualization & HMI
Rockwell Automation solutions include engineered systems that range from custom-designed, bundled components to large, turnkey system integration projects. Services include repair, asset management consulting and remote support centers and training.
- Asset Management
- Consulting & Assessment
- Engineered Packages & Panels Integration
- Integrated Support Agreement
- Integration Services
- Main Automation Contractor (MAC)
- Maintenance & Repair
- Network Services
- Online & Phone Support
- OnSite Services
- Remote Support & Monitoring
- Project Management
- Safety Services
- Security Services
- Systems Design
- Converting, Print & Web Handling
- Manufacturing & Assembly
- Material Handling
- Power & Energy
Awards and recognitions
Within the last 5 years, Rockwell Automation has received multiple awards from the following organizations:
- Control Engineering Engineers Choice Award
- Control Magazine’s Readers Choice Award
- Control Design Readers Choice Award
- Better Business Bureau International Torch Award
- Automation World Leadership in Automation Award
- Food Processing Readers Choice Award
- Forbes Magazine World’s Most Innovative Company Award
- PR News Top Honor for Trade Show/Event
- World's Most Ethical Company Award 2008-2014
- Retro-Encabulator, fictional Rockwell Automation device
- Engineer In Training (EIT) Program
- Allen-Bradley Clock Tower
- Programmable Logic Controller