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CC-Link IE connectivity products to drive Industry 4.0

05 January 2017

The drive to Industry 4.0 brings challenges in communications and connectivity, and Weidmüller is helping customers to address these.

The company’s growing range of products supports all of the key industrial network protocols, including CC-Link IE, the gigabit industrial Ethernet version of the CC-Link fieldbus.

Weidmüller portfolio manager Simon Seereiner says: “Industrial Ethernet is the backbone of Industry 4.0. Without standardised digital interfaces, the Industrial Internet of Things will not be possible.”

Weidmüller develops innovative, sustainable solutions for customers across all fields of industry, setting benchmarks for industrial connectivity. The Weidmuller range of products for industrial Ethernet includes cables, connectors and cord sets, with field attachable RJ45 connectors being an important part of the range.

“All of these are industrial connectors, so they follow rigorous standards regarding characteristics such as robustness,” says Seereiner. “In particular, they meet standards for 10Gbps Ethernet, so they are well suited to the CLPA’s CC-Link IE specification.” 

CC-Link IE is the industrial Ethernet version of CC-Link and is unique in its ability to provide gigabit bandwidth as an open network. This allows large amounts of data to be transferred at high speed, a key feature to address the requirements of Industry 4.0 type applications.
“Weidmüller has supported the CLPA for many years,” comments Seereiner. “Just as CC-Link IE Field was the first industrial Ethernet protocol to offer gigabit support, so Weidmüller was the first connector manufacturer with 10Gb support. It is the perfect combination.”

CC-Link enjoys a leading position across Asian markets and is also popular in other major regions such as Europe and the Americas. The technical specification for CC-Link IE is available to any organisation that joins the CLPA, the body responsible for the development of promotion of the technologies. The CLPA is one of the largest open network associations, with over 2,800 partners around the world.

“Weidmüller is a member of CLPA in both Europe and Japan, so we support its activities globally,” comments Seereiner. “We see huge potential for growth in CC-Link technologies all over the world.”

In particular, he notes the potential for CC-Link IE in China: “Chinese manufacturers recognise that automation will be essential if they wish to maintain the strong global market share they have built up over the last 25 years. CC-Link is already the de facto standard for many industries in China.” 

Seereiner also notes that the recently announced cooperation between CLPA and Profibus International (PI) will be a key driver for growth in network technologies: “As a member of both CLPA and PI we can see that connecting the two technologies with one standard is beneficial for further growth.”

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