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Japanese bus aims for global leadership

01 October, 2001

Japanese bus aims for global leadership

Another fieldbus technology has entered the fray, with the aim of becoming the third best-selling technology in Europe within three years - and the number one open system worldwide two years later.

The system, called CC-Link, was originally launched by Mitsubishi in 1996 as a proprietary bus. Last year, the company handed the technology over to an independent foundation, the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA), to manage its development and conformance testing. In doing so, Mitsubishi was following a similar path to that taken by Rockwell Automation which transferred its DeviceNet and ControlNet bus technologies to independent bodies for further development.

CLPA now claims to have more than 200 "partner" companies offering more than 300 CC-Link-compatible products. Most of the organisation`s members are Japanese, including Yaskawa, Sumitomo, SMC, NAIS and Idec, as well as Mitsubishi.

Non-Japanese members include Pepperl+Fuchs (which produces a gateway from CC-link to the AS-i bus), Festo (which makes compatible pneumatic valve terminals), Wago (which has I/O components), and ABB (which has a robot controller that supports CC-Link).

Earlier this year, CLPA set up a European branch operating from Mitsubishi`s Hatfield site, with Malcolm Robins as general manger. He argues that anyone exporting to Asia should consider supporting CC-Link because "it is currently selling three times as many nodes as Profibus or DeviceNet". The installed base now exceeds 650,000 nodes.

CC-Link is designed to perform deterministic, simultaneous control and data transmission. It is said to offer fast reaction times and high network availability, supporting up to 26 "floating" master stations.

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