Vol.1 CC-Link and CC-Link IE The Most Widely-Used Networks in Asia
"CC-Link and CC-Link IE", Open Industrial Networks from Japan
Spreading Globally From Their Stronghold in Asia
"CC-Link" is the industrial open network that was born in Japan. The CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) is now putting great effort into developing CC-Link in China with the slogan "Gateway to China". The entire Chinese manufacturing industry, not only the advanced companies, is now trying to adopt advanced automation using industrial networks. With the promotion in China, CC-Link and CC-Link IE will not only increase their presence in Asia, where they have captured about 40% of the market, but also in the global market.
CLPA, the association to promote CC-Link, was established in November 2000. CLPA has promoted CC-Link for about 11 years by aggressively supporting the companies involved with developing CC-Link compatible devices and system building. As of September 2012, 1253 products are compatible with CC-Link and 1742 partner companies support the activity of CLPA. Compared to 134 companies at its foundation, the number has increased about 12 times (figure 1).
Now companies all over the world support CC-Link and CC-Link IE, and 60% of the partner companies are foreign companies. Specifically, companies in Europe, North America, China, South Korea, and Taiwan have joined as partners. "Especially in Asia, CC-Link has been adopted by companies in South Korea and Taiwan and commands about 40% of the industrial open network market, which is the highest market share of the industry. The main users are big companies which manufacture liquid crystal panels, glass, automobiles, and tires", said Ms. Naomi Nakamura.
Active Support for Promotion in China
To support partner companies and users, CLPA has acted globally, with offices in South Korea, Taiwan, United States, Germany, China, and Singapore (figure 2). CLPA is especially focused on promotion in China. "In China, a quality change in manufacturing is now beginning. Accompanied by this trend, the entire manufacturing industry is focusing on the automation technology in factories. We will expand the share of CC-Link in China to 20% or more in a few years, thanks to this opportunity", said Mr. Yoshiaki Nagashima.
Manufacturing in China used to mean simply assembling goods. However, more and more companies in China handle components or materials, not only assembly, which means that the spread of manufacturing is getting wider. On the other hand, this expansion of the market requires that manufacturing companies improve their productivity and especially the quality of their products. To deal with this movement, now more and more companies have an interest in advanced automation technology using industrial open networks. In fact, FAW Car Co., Ltd. (hereafter: FAW Car), the leading Chinese automobile manufacturer, has started trying to automate its factories using CC-Link first. (See the column on the next page.)
Strengthened Support for Product Suppliers
The slogan CLPA chose for its CC-Link and CC-Link IE promotion activity in China is "Gateway to China". "For the promotion of CC-Link and CC-Link IE, increased variety of CC-Link devices will be provided and services will also be strengthened in China. To do so, we will become a gateway for companies handling CC-Link-related business to enter the Chinese market. This is the concept of our slogan", said Ms. Nakamura.
CLPA offers two ways to support companies with CC-Link and CC-Link IE: market development and product development. For example, as support for market development, CLPA takes a leading role for the promotional activities of CC-Link-compatible products. "We place advertisements introducing CC-Link compatible products to key industries in China and hold technical seminars to deliver information to users directly. We also provide free media, like webinars", said Mr. Nagashima. CLPA participated in the two big events for the flat panel display industry; "FPD International Taiwan 2012" held in Taipei on August 30, 2012 and "FPD International 2012 China/Beijing Summit", held at the China National Convention Center on September 18 and 19, 2012. "The flat panel display field is one of the most automated industries. In these international events, we promoted the advantages of CC-Link to key persons in the industry", said Mr. Nagashima.
As support for product development, CLPA distributes a development support kit containing the necessary parts for CC-Link device development. This kit enables a company to develop a CC-Link-compatible product easily. In addition, as another service, CLPA bears the cost for the conformance test of CC-Link. "In the near future, semiconductor manufacturers around the world will launch various chips, like ASSP (Application Specific Standard Product), which support CC-Link or CC-Link IE. This will make CC-Link-compatible product development even easier.
"We hope the device vendors will develop CC-Link compatible products more easily by using the support from CLPA under the "Gateway to China" programme and will develop their business further in the significantly growing Chinese market", said Mr. Nagashima.
CC-Link is supported by many companies not only in Japan, but also in Asia. The standard itself has continued to develop. For example, "CC-Link IE" has been added to the family. This is the Ethernet-based specification which connects the information and production systems seamlessly. CC-Link and CC-Link IE will continue to attract further attention as a key technology providing effective solutions for enterprises which are seeking a way to reinforce their production systems for further growth.
- CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA)