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CC-Link IE and CC-Link adoption soars

13 July 2016

Over 2,000,000 CC-Link IE and CC-Link devices were installed in industrial automation applications during 2015, bringing the total number of nodes around the world to almost 17,000,000 by the end of the financial year in March 2016.

The CC-Link fieldbus is one of the world’s leading open industrial automation network technologies. It has achieved significant growth every year since its technical specification was transferred from Mitsubishi Electric to the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA), making it an open technology in 2000. Since that time, it has gathered strong industry support with products available from over 300 partner companies.

CC-Link quickly became a de facto standard in Japan and then spread throughout China and the majority of Asia. It has also become established in Europe and the Americas and now has a worldwide footprint.

Users tend to be keen on the open status of the technology because it frees them up from being locked into one single automation hardware vendor or a small number of control and automation equipment suppliers. Instead they are able to select components from an ever-expanding pool of world class companies, safe in the knowledge that they are compatible and easily integrated into control networks.

The fieldbus was joined by CC-Link IE in 2007, which is unique in being the only open industrial Ethernet technology that offers gigabit performance with full determinism. It can share large amounts of data in real time, an increasingly important requirement for Industry 4.0 applications, has a highly adaptable topology and bandwidth.

CC-Link IE offers protocol variations for motion control, safety, and energy management. It is also tailored to specific use at the field and control levels, but maintains gigabit performance with all versions.

The CLPA is responsible for the development and promotion of CC-Link IE and CC-Link and encourages user and manufacturer adoption. The CLPA celebrated its 15th Anniversary in 2015, a testament to the global acceptance and widespread adoption of the networks. Its head office is in Japan with regional branches and conformance test centres in Europe, USA, China, Korea, Taiwan, ASEAN, India, Turkey, Mexico, Thailand and Turkey. Mexico and Thailand are the most recent offices to open, showing that the CLPA is continuing to respond to and support the growth of the networks as their use continues to increase worldwide.

“Our continuing global growth shows that despite beginning in Asia, our networks’ acceptance continues worldwide. The fact that we were able to add over 2,000,000 new installed devices in about a year is further evidence that there is strong demand for our technologies. The industry leading technology of the gigabit CC-Link IE is further reason for our strong growth.” said John Browett, General Manager of CLPA-Europe.

One of CLPA-Europe’s greatest successes has been the setting up of the “Gateway to Asia” (G2A) program. This is working with over 20 leading European device vendors to help them increase their business with CC-Link IE and CC-Link in crucial Asian markets such as China, Korea and Taiwan. “We are able to support our partners with a variety of marketing activities in order to grow their business in these key global markets” says Browett.

Browett finished by observing growth in the uptake of CC-Link IE and CC-Link has been constant since their introduction. The CLPA expects to see further strong growth in the future as industry trends such as Industry 4.0 demand increasing bandwidth, a challenge that CC-Link IE is uniquely positioned to address.

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