The CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA), the organisation that administers and develops the CC-Link open network, has announced changes to its European management: Steve Jones has stepped down and John Browett (pictured right) has been designated Acting General Manager.
Today there is an installed base of approximately 8million CC-Link nodes, and the CLPA has support and testing facilities serving Europe, the Americas and Asia. Ten years ago, the idea of devices from almost any manufacturer communicating freely on the same cable within an automation system was little more than a pipedream, although the enabling technology was emerging. Since then two or three alternatives, including CC-Link, have developed leadership positions and these open networks have become popular for nearly all industrial systems.
CC-Link was originally developed in Japan in the 1990s, so CLPA says that it is understandable that this protocol has become dominant throughout Asia. As the technology has developed, it has also become well established in Europe and America, where end user adoption, test facilities and university-level support have all helped its popularity grow.
The Non-Stop Open Network
Browett comments: "To coincide with our tenth anniversary, we have recently rebranded CC-Link as the Non-Stop Open Network. We feel that this name neatly summarises the key productivity benefits CC-Link offers, even in the face of adverse operating conditions. Routine industrial problems such as noise, cable damage and power failures are all taken in its stride, meaning production continues where some other technologies might fail. Finally, with home markets quieter due to the recent economic problems, CC-Link's dominance in Asia has lead to increasing opportunities for European OEMs and device makers seeking to expand their business."
Browett is a veteran of the automation industry, with an international career spanning almost 20 years. This took an unconventional start with a move to Japan, spending several years there being involved with the beginning of key industry firsts such as the introduction of the so called 'compact' and 'micro' PLCs. This led him to the industrial heartland of the USA, where he took on the challenges of managing wide-ranging, complex automation product lines across the Americas. A subsequent move back to Europe gave him further experience tackling the issues involved in delivering key marketing messages to the widely varied markets, cultures and languages of the EMEA region.
Browett states: "I saw the birth of open networks and was there when they took their first steps into industrial usage. It was obvious that this was a technology that was going to change the face of industrial automation; single-cable configurations quickly replaced massive looms of wiring that took significant time and cost to install, then caused further disruption when maintenance and reconfiguration was required. Looking at, say, a major car plant, it was clear productivity gains could be astronomical.
"Automation is a global discipline, with three key territories: Asia, America and Europe. An automation technology that leads the market in one, will inevitably transfer to the other two. This is clearly happening with CC-Link, and it is really exciting to be part of it. I am looking forward to building on the foundation Steve Jones created and further developing the partner and installed base of CC-Link in Europe."
Browett takes over from retiring General Manager Steve Jones, who ran the CLPA for four years after a career in automation and industrial communications. Prior to this post, Jones was a senior manager with Mitsubishi Electric, most recently being responsible for developing and implementing the company's Europe-wide strategy.
Browett comments: "Steve really galvanised the CLPA during his tenure. His years of experience and tremendous personal dynamism meant it was almost inevitable that membership would grow and become more proactive, whilst simultaneously he put in place a range of resources from fully-equipped testing centres to improved literature and communications. He did tremendous work in developing CC-Link from its regional dominance in Asia to an established position the European market. His groundwork will pay dividends for many years to come."