FDT from the Far East to the Mid West #PAuto

15/11/2010

Hot on the heels of the news that Emerson Process Management had joined FDT come three releases in quick succession announcing developements in China, co-operation with CC-link and a new educational member from Ohio in America’s Mid West. Here are the details.

FDT in China
The FDT Group AISBL has formed a new China FDT Association with ten leading Process and Factory Automation supplier members headquartered in China.

“The China automation market has mirrored  the high growth of the China domestic market. The FDT Group has supported China activities indirectly for several years,  however, recent requests by indigenous automation companies to increase the China FDT activities lead to the formation of the China FDT Association,” states Glenn Schulz, Managing Director of the international FDT Group. “This new FDT association has been structured to allow local control and focus of FDT activities in China.”

The ten China companies joining the FDT Group include: Beijing Automation Technical Research Institute, Beijing Hollysys Co., Ltd, Chongqing Chuanyi Automation Co., Ltd, ChongQing YuTong System and Software Co., Ltd, Microcyber Inc., Shanghai Automation Instrumentation Co., Ltd, Shanghai Chenzhu Instrument Co., Ltd, Shenzhen Maxonic  Automation  Control  Co. Ltd, and SUPCON Group Co., Ltd.

“We are very pleased with the focus and dedication of our new China FDT Association. Our new chairman of the China FDT Association Board, Mr. Ken Qui of Endress +HauserChina, has set out an ambitious schedule for the new organization,” states Mr. Michael Sinz, Director of marketing for FDT in China. “I extend a special thanks to our sponsoring member companies: Flowserve, Invensys, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, and Yokogawa as well as ITEI and Southwest University for their guidance in the formation of our new FDT association.”

FDT Group in China

The members of the Board of Directors of the China FDT Association are: Mr. Ken Qui of Endress+Hauser, Mr. Scott Wilkerson of Flowserve, Mr. Shripad Lale of Invensys, Mr. Ou Yang Jin Song of ITEI, Mr. Hua Rong of Rockwell, Mr. Wang Yong of Schneider Electric, Mr. Chen Peng of Yokogawa, and Mr. Glenn Schulz of FDT Group.

FDT Group and CC-Link Announce Cooperation Agreement
The CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) has signed a cooperation agreement with the FDT Group to promote the use of the FDT as an international standard.  Under the agreement CLPA will support the development of an annex of the protocol for the FDT standard to support the CC-Link family of networks including its CC-Link IE Field Gigabit Industrial Ethernet.

CLPA’s participation is significant for the growth of FDT technology because of its pre-eminence in the Asian markets. Later this month (November 2010) FDT will make a presentation to a selected audience of members, users and the press at the CLPA 10th anniversary celebrations in Tokyo.

FDT standardizes the communication and configuration interface between all field devices and host systems. It provides a common environment for accessing the devices’ most sophisticated features. Any device can be configured, operated, and maintained over the CC-Link networks through the standardized user interface – regardless of supplier or type.

Steve Jones, European General Manager of the CLPA says,  “We find increasingly that users are demanding common tools to enable them to access and integrate intelligent field devices.  Implementing the common environment provided by FDT provides this, but also gives us the potential to add new functionality for users of CC-Link networks.”

Glenn Schulz, Managing Director of the FDT Group states, ” We are pleased to have formalized this excellent working relationship with  CLPA.  Their broad acceptance in the automation market place is a compliment to the core goals and objectives of the FDT standard.”

In addition to CC-Link, FDT supports more than 13 network protocols including Hart, Profibus, Foundation Fieldbus, DeviceNet, Interbus, AS-Interface, and others.

Lorain County Community College Joins the FDT Group
The FDT Group announces that Lorain County Community College (LCCC) is its newest member.  LCCC is located in the greater Cleveland, (OH US) metropolitan area and focuses on workforce development providing education and training in the latest technologies. “We are thrilled to bring on a new educational member,” says Glenn Schulz, Managing Director of the FDT Group.  “Institutions such as LCCC provide the educational backbone for the automation market keeping the workforce technically advanced for this growing industry.”

LCCC is targeted as the first FDT Certification Testing Site in the Americas with accreditation to perform DTM certifications expected before the end of the year.   The new certification site is supported by a $5.5 million grant from the Wright Center for Sensor Systems Engineering (WCSSE) supporting economic development objectives allowing for the transition from older industries to newer, high-growth industrial technology markets like sensor technology.

This new center will support the global automation market by providing consultancy services in the areas of DTM analysis, testing of communication, gateway and device DTMs during development, and final DTM certification testing to ensure conformance to the FDT specification.  In addition to these services, LCCC will host an in-house integration evaluation and testing lab providing a hands-on facility for users to validate benefits of FDT Technology, implementing asset management strategies based on FDT Technology.

“We are excited to join forces with the FDT Group and their international based membership to build on business opportunities needed to ensure economic and workforce development for the manufacturing and technology industries in the greater Lorain County region,” said Duncan Estep, Director, FDT Technology Certification Testing Center –Americas.  LCCC is preparing for their accreditation audit to occur before year end.


Patent case won in China

27/07/2010

HARTING takes action against Chinese patent infringers

Patent infringements and plagiarism represent major problems in China, especially for the manufacturers of brand products. The Harting Technology Group has taken resolute action against a Chinese company that had copied its connectors. Following in-depth investigations, the Espelkamp (Germany) headquartered company took recourse to the Shanghai Second Intermediate Court and initiated legal proceedings for damage and injunction in connection with patent infringements.

After proceedings of only four months the Shanghai court passed a judgment confirming the patent infringement and sentencing the respective manufacturer to discontinue the production and sales of the counterfeit products, as well as imposing the payment of damages.

The court judgment is an important positive signal for Harting, as this action not only weakens the market position of the opponent, but also issues a warning to current and future patent infringers.

Harting is a globally active company and holds a particularly strong position on Asian markets. The Technology Group has filed patents in China since the beginning of the nineties, although their actual enforceability has been doubtful to date. The outcome of the recent proceedings demonstrates that intellectual property is also being protected in China in the meantime. In taking resolute action, they have clearly demonstrated that the company will assert its intellectual property rights internationally and will not hesitate to take recourse to all respective legal measures – now and in future.


Market report: HMI software & services

05/05/2010

HMI software & services market driven by services, security and “ergonometrics”

Strong growth is expected to resume during the latter part of this five-year forecast period!


The rapidly growing market for HMI services will be driven by the end users’ and OEMs’ needs for additional supplier-provided technical expertise to support HMI software and systems, as end users’ and OEMs’ will not fully replace the internal support personnel lost during this past recession. As a result, the HMI software and services market is in a period of recovery, with the services portion expected to grow at a higher rate than the total market, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.

The weakness in the global economy had a major impact on the worldwide HMI software and services market. However, stronger growth is expected to resume during the latter part of the five-year forecast period, as users replace HMI software based on older operating systems with new software packages based on operating systems designed with security in mind. “Security issues presented by older operating systems will drive upgrades from legacy HMI software to the latest HMI platforms. The security issue, combined with the greater use of more powerful, 64-bit microprocessors, will shift users from HMI solutions based on Windows XP or Server 2003 platforms to those based on Windows 7 or Server 2008.” according to Craig Resnick, Research Director,  the principal author of ARC’s “Human Machine Interface Software and Services Worldwide Outlook”.

Building Automation Solutions Achieve Rapid Growth
HMI software solutions that focused on the building automation industry and other non-manufacturing applications experienced the most rapid growth. These HMI software solutions were applied in either off-the-shelf or embedded forms and were accompanied by a full range of HMI services. Off-the-shelf HMI software products are largely replacing proprietary, device-specific solutions that often lack the full feature set and adherence to industry standards found in the latest HMI software solutions. In the traditional HMI software markets, growth is accelerating in the rapidly expanding process and infrastructure industries such as oil & gas, water & waste, electric power, food & beverage, and mining & metals.

Increased “Ergonometrics” Provides “Fourth Dimension”
Maximizing operator effectiveness is essential to minimize the risks of accidents, eliminate unscheduled downtime, and maximize production quality. This requires deploying the latest HMI software packages designed for “Ergonometrics,” where increased ergonomics help increase KPI and metric results. These offer the best resolution to support 3D solutions and visualization based on technologies such as Microsoft Silverlight. Integrating real-time live video into HMI software tools provide another excellent opportunity to maximize operator effectiveness. Live video provides a “fourth dimension” for intelligent visualization and control solutions.

Asia Pacific and Latin America Lead Market Growth
The Asia Pacific and Latin American HMI software and services markets will be the fastest growing regions. North America and EMEA will grow at a considerably slower rate. ARC believes that the slower forecasted growth in North America and EMEA is because a significant amount of HMI software has already been adopted in these mature markets. Greenfield and expansions in process industries, such as chemical, electric power, mining & metals, oil & gas, pulp & paper, and refining, as well as growth in the discrete industries in China and India, are helping to drive the HMI software and services markets in Asia Pacific and Latin America.


Technical possibilities of PC fuel market

01/02/2010

The market for Industrial PCs is driven by an increasing rate of technological advancements in hardware and software according to a study released recently by ARC.  This includes the Atom processor, increased computing power, increased ruggedness, and also failsafe industrial PCs.


Report author Automation Analyst Florian Güldner

The market had enjoyed high growth rates until the economic crisis. The industrial PC market structure is fragmented, with no dominant player on a regional or global level.  While industrial PC technology itself has matured, new applications and requirements will enable differentiation through hardware and software.


“In 2009, the market dropped by 19 percent.  Even though the recovery will start quickly, the level of the boom year 2008 will not be reached again until 2012.  A major factor dampening the recovery is the constant drop in prices that is driven by user demand and a drop in intermediate good prices,”
according to Analyst Florian Güldner, the principal author of ARC’s “Industrial PCs Worldwide Outlook

Industrial PC Market Will Remain Competitive and Fragmented
The market for industrial PCs remains fragmented, the companies above 2% market share represent only 62% of the market.  In addition to industrial PC product specialists such as Stahl HMI, the market includes focused automation suppliers like Phoenix Contact, full line automation suppliers like Siemens and Rockwell Automation, and PC-based automation suppliers like Beckhoff and B&R.  Furthermore, PC specialists like Advantech and Kontron plus hundreds of Taiwanese companies supply industrial PC products either directly to the market or to other industrial PC suppliers.
One of the most important topics discussed in the market is the build vs. buy decision.  Depth of production varies greatly between suppliers.  Many companies use boards from Taiwan in their industrial PCs or brand label industrial PCs.

The Atom Processer Will Boost Industrial PC Business
Various trends within the industrial PC market will affect future growth but Intel’s Atom processor will have the most influence.  The Atom processor provides up to 2 GHz with low thermal design power.  This offers various possibilities to end users and machine builders.  First, the low-cost, low-power Atom enables low-CPU power industrial PCs at a low price and with low energy consumption and low heat.  Size-independent computing power also makes new form factors possible such as flatter panel PCs that are more easily integrated into machines and small wide screen panel PCs.

Asian Markets Are the Most Vibrant Suppliers and Users
Asia has its own dynamics in investment climate and in industrial PC sup-ply and demand.  In Asia’s emerging markets, Taiwanese industrial PC suppliers dominate this price-driven market, which is slowing sharply along with the global economy.  Taiwan hosts a number of different com-panies, which range from component-driven companies that are moving up the supply chain, to established automation suppliers.  ARC believes that China and India will not only demand more automation equipment as wages rise, but will also shift towards more sophisticated systems with greater capabilities for achieving international quality standards.