Author: Carey Robards, Viking AT
“Technology is leading us all in a very exciting direction, where the line between real world application and virtual world optimization will seamlessly work together and alter the paradigm of industrial and commercial products. It will change a lot of things. ”
– Roger Palmer, Parker Hannifin
Technology: One small word for one giant and endlessly evolving anomaly in which we, as humans, get to participate in co-creation
Brilliant and innovative people are inspiring… period. But what or who inspires these innovators? We’ve caught up with Roger Palmer, Vice President of Innovation and Technology, spearheading their technology program for the RAC-ING Instrumentation Group. Roger was great enough to share some of his thoughts during our interview with a brief look into technology and some methodology .
We would like to look into what it is like being responsible for many of the innovative decisions for a group that size. What would you say is the key to technology innovation management?
I would say that one of the most vital key components to technology innovation management is consistently being open to new ideas, new concepts and maintaining an open look into the way we all do things. Sometimes we hear, but we don’t really listen. Most engineers collect new technology and new ideas, but very few of them collect customer’s “points of pain”, or issues, and make those notes. Realizing where the intersection of innovation can be made to these points of pain is where your greatest accomplishments will be made for consumers.
Second, I would say that you have to be well networked and be well tuned in to what is going on. We often look towards universities, start-up companies and inventors to collaborate on our ideas and efforts and listen to theirs. You look for brilliant problem solvers exchanging their ideas in abstract ways, creating mental pictures with their words, quite an experience really.
Would you say that there have been significant changes to motion control in the past decade? How would you sum up today’s technology focus? What do you feel is the most interesting thing happening in motion control right now?
Most definitely. Probably the greatest advancement we have seen has been in electronic controls and motion sensors. I would say that the most intriguing technology focus today has been the connectivity between the real world and the virtual world. It can be quite difficult to try to explain. This technology will lead us in a direction where the line between real world mechanical application and virtual world optimization will seamlessly co-create, which will change the paradigm of industrial and commercial products. It will change a lot of things and is rather exciting.
What would you say is the hottest growth area for Parker right now?
I would say that the hottest area of growth for Parker recently has been in oil and gas. As consumer demands continue, the oil and gas companies are constantly drilling and looking towards new drilling environments and looking for new technologies that will adapt to the unique properties within these different environments.
Our companies have collaborated together on different projects over the last few years now. How would you describe your experience with Viking so far?
Quite exciting really. I have found in working with Jeff (Viking’s CEO), him to be extremely creative and definitely an outside of the box kind of person. One of the things that I like most about Jeff is his ability to move past obstacles with his creativity that results in sound problem solving. I have dealt with a lot of engineers from all over the world, and you have those who you give a difficult challenge to – who come back saying that it can’t be done or that they can’t do it. With Jeff, you hand him a challenge, he takes a minute, and will come back to you with a solution and the steps that it will take to get it done in great detail.
We know that Parker shares a strong interest in safeguarding the environment and is continually improving processes and products to support environmental stewardship and technologies. As a final question, do you believe that mass-scale change for a more sustainable future is possible? And, do you see any significant changes now?
Parker’s technology philosophy is based off of Professor Richard E. Smalley’s list of “The Top Ten Problems Facing Humanity for the next 50 years” with the number one problem being energy. We develop technologies and products that support solutions to those top ten problems in Smalley’s list and take it seriously.
Parker Company Information:
Parker Hannifin reported annual sales exceeding $13 billion in fiscal year 2013, with locations in 49 countries supporting 139 divisions and 341 manufacturing locations. Their products can be found in almost anything that moves. They are the world’s leading diversified manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems, providing precision-engineered solutions to a wide variety of mobile, industrial and aerospace markets. The company employs approximately 58,000 people in 49 countries and growing.