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MTL venture promises `DCS at PLC prices`
Published:  01 June, 2003

MTL venture promises `DCS at PLC prices`

MTL, the company best known for its IS (intrinsic safety) products, is attacking the process controls market with a modular hardware and software technology which, it claims, will offer DCS performance at PLC prices. It has set up a new business called Most (MTL Open Systems Technologies) and has launched a family of controllers and engineering tools.

Most hopes to capitalise on a shift in the controls market from proprietary technologies to "best of breed" systems based on open technologies. "Most is making a major investment in open control technology and is working actively with systems integrators and OEM partners to help them provide open control solutions," explains its president, Dennis Gillespie. "We believe that Most is well positioned to benefit from this market shift."

Initially, Most has three main products in its portfolio:

• a logic controller supporting IEC 61131-3 sequential control strategies;

• a process controller supporting regulatory control; and

• a hybrid controller supporting concurrent sequential and regulatory controls.

The components can be snapped together by third-party suppliers such as OEMs, cutting costs compared to controlroom-mounted systems, as well as being more flexible, according to Most. The hardware will work with standard HMI packages, including Wonderware and Cimplicity.

Although IS products still account for the bulk of MTL`s sales, the proportion has dropped from 81% in 1999 to 56% last year as the group has diversified into new areas, including surge protection. The Most business will continue this diversification and target a much larger market.

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