Potential suppliers wanting efficient access to the accelerating Chinese automation market may also win themselves an iPad by visiting the CLPA (CC-Link Partner Association) Booth 6-136 at SPS/IPC/Drives. This is described as Europe's leading exhibition for industrial automation, taking place in Nuremberg, Germany, from 22-24 November 2011.
Each day, CLPA will remove an unspecified length from a reel of certified CC-Link cable; the visitor who guesses the remaining length most accurately wins an iPad - so there are three chances to win.
The cable is supplied by 3M, which is a key sponsor of the CLPA's Gateway to China programme. Marlies Postels, 3M's Business and Technology Manager for Industrial Factory Automation, in the Electronics Solutions Division, explains: "We are working with the CLPA and a number of other sponsors to open up an efficient route into the Chinese market.
"Automation systems are always a collaborative venture, with suppliers of hardware, software, integration, design and logistics all working together. The Gateway to China is a way to make this as effective as possible, by pooling experience, establishing links with key players in China and capitalising on CC-Link's already dominant position in the region."
CC-Link provides for efficient communications between devices in an automation system. It is open, enabling system integrators to choose the best device for each particular node, rather than being confined to the offering of one specific manufacturer.
John Browett, Acting General Manager of the CLPA, states: "It is common to automate one process within a plant, then others, and later wanting to interconnect them all into one integrated system. Typically at this point you will encounter problems with incompatible hardware. However, CC-Link completely circumvents the issues, allowing the plant to become rapidly and easily ever-more automated.
"The Chinese have recognised that if they are to maintain the position they have developed in global manufacturing over the last 25 years, then automation is absolutely vital. Thus there is almost total focus on implementing automation right across this huge nation. And since CC-Link is regarded as a de-facto standard in many industries, it's well placed to take advantage of this."
The Gateway to China programme is being co-ordinated by the CLPA and is supported by 3M and 13 other key European CLPA partners (ABB Robotics, Balluff, Bihl+Wiedemann, Cognex, Datalogic Hilscher Gesellschaft fur Systemautomation, HMS Industrial Networks, IDEC Corp, Mitsubishi Electric, Pepperl + Fuchs, Pro-face, WAGO Kontakttechnik and Weidmuller's Ethernet infrastructure business unit); between them, these companies represent all aspects of automation from sensors, through PLCs, drives, HMIs and robots, to software integration and communications.
Already the CLPA has identified key industries its members want to target, including food and beverage, water, energy management and consumer packaged goods. Its SPS booth will demonstrate how products from European CC-Link partners can be used to build systems tailored to applications' specific needs. The aim is to show that CC-Link supports a wide range of applications across many industries using devices from established European vendors.
Browett comments: "CC-Link is the standard in many Asian industries, such as automotive and flat panel display production. This installed base and local familiarity with CC-Link helps European device manufacturers achieve market acceptance in China.
"We also recognise that we are building a foundation for future growth. Manufacturing is globalising and China has become one of the main hubs. It is aggressive in developing its manufacturing base, but recognises that it must use world-class automation to achieve its aims.
"This means there is tremendous potential for European device manufacturers and systems integrators to supply them."