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Omron and Rockwell plan to develop PLCs together

01 October, 2000

Omron and Rockwell Automation have begun feasibility studies which could lead to them jointly developing PLCs and networking technologies. The first jointly developed products could go on sale as soon as next year. Omron says that the collaboration will allow it to offer a complete range of PLCs from "micron-level" sizes to large systems - something that would normally be impossible for a single company.

The announcement is one of several new initiatives which build on the co-operation agreement signed by the two companies earlier this year. Another is Omron`s decision to endorse the Rockwell-backed Ethernet/IP industrial communications protocol and to promote it in the Asian market.

Omron will also offer Rockwell software and networking products, including the RSView 32 visualisation package, to its Japanese customers. Omron is already developing the technology to implement RSView32 software on its PLCs. It will also sell Rockwell`s SCADA and BizWare products in Japan.

The two companies are also looking at managing their corporate resources and functions jointly. As a first step, they are installing an EDI (electronic data interchange) system to link their business operations.

The deal will give Rockwell access to the Asian market which, according to Craig Resnick, a senior analyst with ARC Research Corporation, "is clearly not burdened with an installed base of legacy product". He predicts that the installation of Rockwell-derived network technologies will provide "tremendous advantages in pull-though sales of additional Rockwell Automation products".

"In Asia, where open standards like DeviceNet, ControlNet and OPC have just started to gain momentum, active adoption from a market leader like Omron sends a strong endorsement to all end-users," Resnick suggests.

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