The CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA), the organisation responsible for the development and promotion of the CC-Link and CC-Link IE family of open automation networks, featured a wide variety of development options for their network technologies at SPS/IPC/Drives 2014.
CC-Link and CC-Link IE are acknowledged as market leaders in Asia, and many European companies have taken a close interest in the technology. In particular, over 20 well-known European device makers are participating in the CLPA’s ‘Gateway to Asia’ (G2A) programme, which assists such companies in marketing their CC-Link and CC-Link IE compatible products in Asia.
However, before these kinds of activities can begin, it’s clear that these companies need to have a good choice of industry standard development options with which to develop their products. The CLPA recognised this several years ago, and has now built up a comprehensive array of different partner companies that provide familiar and cost-effective routes to CC-Link and CC-Link IE-compatible products. A key point is that since the CLPA has teamed up with industry leaders such as Hilscher, HMS and Renesas, many companies who use their technology in their products already are halfway towards having a CC-Link or CC-Link IE product too. This is because these companies offer flexible multi-network platforms that support a wide variety of protocols, including CC-Link and CC-Link IE. Hence supporting these networks could be as simple as a firmware change on an existing product. This would then allow a manufacturer to exploit the potential of up to 20 per cent increased market share in Asia.
The CLPA has recently run an extensive campaign in the German market to highlight this potential with its partners Hilscher, HMS and Renesas. This has highlighted the netX platform from Hilscher, the Anybus system from HMS and the R-IN32 industrial Ethernet communications processor from Renesas. All three partners offer a familiar route into the development of a CC-Link or CC-Link IE product, while leveraging the skills and knowledge a device maker has already developed through previous use of these platforms.
In addition to these three partners, the CLPA is also working with additional industry leaders to bring more options for device development to the market. Other possibilities include an FPGA system based on Altera ‘Cyclone IV’ devices combined with an IP core from Altima. Tokyo Electron Device is preparing CC-Link IE support with their ‘Inrevium’ line-up of devices, based on industry standard Zynq-7000 technology from Xilinx technology.
John Browett, General Manager of CLPA-Europe summarises: “When a company is planning new product development, some of the key items they are looking for are familiar, low-risk, cost-effective development strategies. CLPA understood the importance of this from the beginning. Hence we now offer a comprehensive portfolio of different partners and their solutions to address this. The bottom line is, no matter whom you are working with now, or whatever technology you are using, the chance is high that it is already capable of implementing a CC-Link or CC-Link IE solution too. Hence a company is closer to exploiting the opportunities this can bring than they might realise.”
More information on these development options is available by visiting www.clpa-europe.com/development and downloading the comprehensive guidebook.