In a recent video made with the CC-Link Partner Association, sensors and measurement specialist HBM Test and Measurement has developed a CC-Link gateway module, which allows a single PLC to collect live data from multiple load cells.
This provides a low-cost solution for developing multi-head weighing systems, allows load cells to be integrated into larger control systems, and also helps HBM address the enormous potential of the Chinese, Japanese and wider Asian markets.
CC-Link is a deterministic, high-speed open automation network technology, which has a leading position in Asia. It allows equipment from many different manufacturers to be integrated into the same communication and control system.
Originally developed by Mitsubishi Electric, in 2000 it was transferred to the CLPA to be developed and promoted worldwide as an open network technology for automation. CC-Link quickly became the leading fieldbus in the booming markets of Asia. This success was reinforced with the launch of CC-Link IE, the world’s first and only open gigabit Ethernet for automation.
HBM, which has its global headquarters in Germany, is a member of the European branch of the CC-Link Partners Association (CLPA), and so has been fully supported during the development of its new module. As well as providing technical advice, the CLPA runs a business development programme called Gateway to Asia (G2A), which has been of great support to HBM.
The G2A is a development of an earlier programme focused solely on China, and is divided into three parts. Firstly, a company joins the CLPA, which initially can be free of charge. It then develops and completes conformance testing of a CC-Link compatible product. Finally, the partner works with the CLPA to develop a marketing programme to promote the product in selected Asian markets. The partner benefits from the knowledge and expertise of the CLPA in the Asian market to develop their business further.
HBM is keen to develop its presence in Asia further because it reckons that the market for its load cells there is growing at five times the rate of the European business. It also notes that many of the CC-Link-enabled products sent to Asia are incorporated into machines and systems that are then made for export around the world.