Breaking down the Barriers to Higher Machine Value

Reid Schook

Reid Schook, President of CoreTigo Inc.

| 20 February, 2022
Reid Schook recently joined CoreTigo to lead our North American operations, bringing extensive experience in helping OEMs differentiate their machinery. In this article, Reid shares his insights into some key challenges and trends.
Reid Schook
When I encountered CoreTigo, I immediately realized that IO-Link Wireless was a gamechanger for machine builders. IO-Link Wireless enables machines to transmit reliable, real-time sensor and process data without cables.

Reid Schook

President of CoreTigo Inc.

During my 35+ year tenure with Rockwell Automation, I held varied roles, doing everything from guiding the development of smart sensors and components, to managing sensing, connectivity, and components businesses within the company, to leading the development and execution of the company’s strategy for manufacturing and assembly OEM customers. But no matter what I did, the goal was the same — helping customers differentiate and increase the value of their machinery.

The decades I’ve spent in the manufacturing world have given me a clear perspective on industry trends. In recent years I’ve been acutely aware of how manufacturers are struggling to meet consumer demand for customization, sustainability, and convenience. They have to manage an increasing number of SKUs, including product type and size changes, but they can’t afford to have that flexibility come at the expense of capacity—they still need to achieve their output objectives. The challenge is exacerbated by trends in the current tight labor market, as the skilled operators needed for changeovers and machine calibration are increasingly difficult to recruit.

I believe that the only way to overcome these challenges is through significant advancements in machine automation. Machines today need to be smart, flexible, and agile – otherwise known as adaptive – so that production facilities can adjust to changing supply chain demands and consumer requirements, while still operating at the highest possible levels of productivity and efficiency. But that is so much easier said than done!

In many cases, the automation required to achieve those goals needs to be located on the machine in places that are not conducive to running communication wires and cables. For example, in independent cart systems, cables to the movers are simply not feasible. In rotary table applications, power is delivered with slip rings, but slip rings don’t provide reliable communication. And even in systems where cables are feasible, they sometimes aren’t ideal. They break, lose their connections, or the integrity of the cable connection to the device becomes damaged. This wired connection is often a weak link, so if you can get away from cables, it increases the overall effectiveness and integrity of the system.

In my last role at Rockwell, we were focused on large digital transformation projects, and we found that getting information from shop floor machines and processes was a major stumbling block to success. It was clear that without full connectivity and real-time data at the sensor level, manufacturers wouldn’t be able to leverage IoT and the benefits of AI and predictive analytics. However, the question remained: how could data from legacy equipment on the plant floor be accessed in an efficient and reliable way?

When I encountered CoreTigo, I immediately realized that IO-Link Wireless was a gamechanger for machine builders. IO-Link Wireless enables machines to transmit reliable, real-time sensor and process data without cables. It makes it possible to automate elements that were impossible to automate before and achieve unprecedented performance in machines that are extremely challenging to wire, like rotary turntables, cartoner and packaging machines, robots, AGVs, and AMRs (automated mobile robots), and high-speed transport systems. Because it was designed specifically for factory automation applications, it has the necessary high reliability, low latency, and scalability, which are lacking in wireless protocols developed for non-industrials applications, like WiFi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee.

Another key benefit in IO-Link Wireless is that it increases the throughput of the equipment because you can make changes without shutting down. With no wires to get in the way, you can easily modify the line or cell configuration to accommodate changes on the fly.

The fact that it’s an international standard protocol is also significant. I’m a big believer in standardization because it’s key to integration. I want customers to be focused on getting greater productivity and value from their production systems, not on integration challenges. Standard industrial communication protocols like IO-Link Wireless allow machine builders to easily integrate components from different manufacturers and create the optimal solution for the machine and process requirements.

I see my role as President of CoreTigo Inc. as a new way to advance my career goal of helping OEMs differentiate their machines to deliver greater value for their end customer. IO-Link Wireless provides the most efficient and flexible means to connect smart devices for both control and monitoring. Whether it’s new process machines and equipment or legacy lines, IO-Link Wireless enables easy access to valuable machine and process information that can truly transform operations and overcome today’s industrial production challenges. It’s exciting to play a part in enabling that transformation.

Reid is an experienced executive with 35+ years of global OEM and enterprise account sales, business unit, and business strategy leadership experience at Rockwell Automation, prior to joining CoreTigo. Reid has diverse industry experience in meeting customer’s needs in auto, tire, food, beverage, consumer goods, and heavy industries. His role as Global OEM Business Director, where he led strategy development and sales execution for the $600M manufacturing & assembly OEM segment, prepared him to lead CoreTigo’s efforts to help North America machine builders differentiate their offerings. In his last role at Rockwell Automation, Reid was Director of Connected Enterprise Consulting Partnerships and was focused on client needs to leverage IIoT to drive value within their operations.