Milwaukee-based Rockwell Automation increased its sales guidance for the rest of its fiscal year on Wednesday and the company’s top executive said there is reason to expect that strength will continue over the longer term. “I do believe that this is the beginning of a sustained period of expansion in the North American manufacturing economy,” said Blake Moret, chairman and chief executive officer of Rockwell. “The breadth of the orders that we're seeing, the mix of supply for existing operations, plus expansions and then the occasional greenfield, gives us a lot of confidence that we are seeing a sustained period of growth.” Moret pointed to strength in a number of industries that Rockwell serves with its automation products and software as reason for optimism. “There’s no chance of that slowing down,” he said of the electric vehicle market, adding semiconductor, ecommerce, life sciences, food and beverage and the return of oil and gas markets as areas where the company sees strength. The improvement is already showing up. Rockwell announced it crossed $2 billion in orders for a quarter for the first time. Sales in the quarter were up 5.6% to almost $1.78 billion, including a 1.3% organic sales increase. Net income in the quarter increased from $132.2 million last year to $415 million. Drawing on the strength the company has seen in automotive, semiconductor, ecommerce, good and beverage, life sciences and tires Rockwell increased its guidance for the full year. The midpoint of the reported sales increase went from 10% to 10.5%, including a full percentage point increase in expected organic sales growth. The increase amounts to a roughly $100 million increase in sales to $7 billion for the full year at the midpoint of Rockwell’s guidance.