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21 September, 2023

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Omron and Rockwell join forces

01 April, 2000

Automation giants Rockwell and Omron have entered a global agreement to collaborate on technological and product developments.

At first, the two companies plan to promote common technologies and open standards, but they say they are also "investigating other forms of co-operation beyond joint technology developments". This could include cross-branding of products and joint e-commerce ventures.

While these other opportunities are being explored, Rockwell and Omron will continue to operate independently in the automation market. Initially, Rockwell will provide technical assistance to Omron. One aim is to increase the penetration of Rockwell-developed, but now open standard, technologies such as DeviceNet, ControlNet and the recently announced Ethernet/IP (industrial protocol) into Asia where Omron holds more than 40% of the market.

The companies will also work together to improve links between their software products through technologies such as OPC (OLE for process control). Omron chief executive Yoshio Tateisi says that the agreement has been driven by the converging needs of automation customers worldwide.

"By combining our unique technical strengths and aligning our respective open automation architectures, both companies are working to ensure interoperable automation solutions are available anywhere in the world," he says.

Rockwell chairman Don Davis points out that while there has been progress in establishing global automation standards, "regional differences still exist across the $36bn global automation market". Users around the world "are faced with the daunting challenge of integrating multiple `regional standards`," he adds.

Davis sees the agreement with Omron as an important step in removing these regional barriers. Omron`s adoption of the open standards "sends a strong endorsement to customers and global competitors alike," he suggests.

The agreement between Rockwell and Omron follows a similar pairing between Siemens and Moeller Electric announced at last month`s Hanover fair.

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