A newly published White Paper examines how automation companies can leverage their technical and marketing efforts to more easily build and maintain a presence in their markets - local and global - by joining the CC-Link Partners Association (CLPA).
The CLPA was established to develop and support the global installed base of CC-Link networks, both technically and from a marketing point of view. CC-Link is a family of communications networks for handling data and information within an automation system. Critically, it is an "˜open' protocol, so any manufacturer can incorporate it into their products. Originally developed in Japan by Mitsubishi Electric, it was transferred into the public domain and quickly became established as the default standard throughout Asia and has since spread around the world.
The CLPA works with partner companies to implement CC-Link in their products. The support provided includes direct advice as well as assistance with conformance testing. Once products have passed conformance testing, the CLPA provides a wide range of marketing opportunities, including advertising, literature, fairs and virtual fairs; websites, seminars, webinars and press releases; opportunities for customised promotional activities, and the groundbreaking Gateway to China programme (G2C).
John Browett, General Manager of CLPA Europe, explains: "The CLPA has grown into a large and sophisticated worldwide organisation that offers a number of different services to different types of organisations. Many of our 1700-plus members are actual manufacturers of automation equipment, so chose to join our organisation as Regular Members in order to gain the necessary marketing benefits on offer."
For many members, such as Weidmüller, the CLPA's international reach is imperative. Simon Seereiner says: "We see a big growth of CC-Link both in Europe and Asia. Weidmüller is a global company and we specifically support moves into the Asian markets with network solutions for CC-Link."
For others, the focus is on a specific region, with many highly appreciative of the Gateway to China programme. Marlies Postels of 3M, for instance, says: "A lot of our customers are focussing on China and the G2C programme is something 3M is involved in to support this." Similarly, Balluff's Stephan Langer says: "China is very important for us. We plan to grow more and more in this market and see CC-Link as one of the keys to be successful in China."
Based in Germany, Regular Member Bihl+Wiedemann is a leader in the complementary AS-i network technology. A leading product line is a series of gateways between CC-Link and AS-i. Bihl+Wiedemann have opened a subsidiary in China and Team Leader Thomas Rönitzsch says: "CLPA has proved very helpful to us in both developing the products and starting business in China."
Jörgen Palmhager of Sweden's HMS Industrial Networks commends CLPA's global reach: "Our products are mainly used by device manufacturers who need to access networks on the global market. The CC-Link technology is a major door-opener into China, and the rest of Asia."
As well as the G2C programme, there are 10 key benefits from which CLPA Regular Members can profit:
Browett concludes: "This level of support and promotional activity is unprecedented in the open networks market arena. The CLPA is providing a cost-effective package of promotional activities to "˜open doors' for members which increases their exposure in target markets."
The White Paper Strengthening the CC-Link open network partnership is available by contacting the CLPA at firstname.lastname@example.org.