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Lifetime warranty marks PLC milestone

01 March, 2005

Mitsubishi Electric has marked the installation of its six millionth FX PLC by announcing a lifetime warranty on the next million FX processors. According to a recent report from the market researcher ARC, Mitsubishi makes nearly twice as many PLCs as many as its nearest rival. Of the 5,000 million PLCs sold globally during 2003, Mitsubishi supplied 29.5%.

"We originally developed the FX PLC to address some specific needs of our in-house manufacturing," reveals Mitsubishi`s Jeff Whiting. "It proved so successful that we decided to expand it into a full range and to offer it to the global automation market." The oldest FX PLCs are now approaching 20 years of service.

Some observers have been predicting a decline in PLC sales as PCs take over but, according to Whiting, sales are actually increasing, and Mitsubishi expanding its production. He attributes this to a combination of PLC technology expanding to replace other forms of control, and the growing number of non-industrial applications.

Another factor is the mushrooming demand from emerging economies with South-East Asia, in particular, expected to account for a quarter of the global PLC market within three years."They seem to eat compact PLCs," says Whiting. "They are ideal for such countries which are automating tasks that were previously performed manually, with workforces who are using control technology for the first time."

China is expected to double its demand for PLCs to $750m by 2008, when it will represent about 10% of global demand. The Chinese PLC market is growing by about 15% a year - three times faster than global sales.

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