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Maruti Suzuki, a car manufacturer in India, is using CC-Link open networks at its major production sites in order to achieve consistent market-quality products.

The Indian manufacturing plants are highly automated, yet are constantly being updated with new technologies and improved systems. Maruti Suzuki has recently installed several CC-Link industrial communications networks to enhance various systems on the shop floors as part of a continuous development plan.

CC-Link is an open automation network technology that allows devices from many different manufacturers to be mixed and matched on the same network. This means users can install best-in-class control equipment, rather than being tied to a single manufacturer. More than 1,200 products from more than 260 manufacturers are currently available.

Maruti Suzuki has already installed CC-Link in several applications, such as the Cordless Limit Wrench, a system that provides fool-proofing for the torquing of critical joints during the assembly of each vehicle. It guarantees application of the correct torque by stopping the assembly conveyor if a joint is over- or under-torqued or even missed completely.

The company now expects CC-Link to deliver benefits to the rest of the plant. It plans to increase the amount of data handled within the plant and to connect widely separated systems. These are both well within the capabilities of the network, whose 10Mbit communication speed allows dozens of stations to be updated in a few milliseconds.

Key benefits of product applications

  • CC-Link can be used to create networks that integrate digital I/O on the shop floor directly with enterprise IT systems so that stores, production, sales and distribution, finance and marketing all become one seamless operation.
  • Previously, the torque control system was hardwired and very complex; CC-Link has reduced the wiring and complexity by an order of magnitude, improving reliability and making maintenance far easier. It has also freed up shop-floor space and reduced cost by enabling a much more compact control panel to be designed.
  • Use of CC-Link in the Pika Pika system has provided cost reductions through simplified cabling, reduced installation time and increased flexibility when line changes or updates are implemented.
  • Benefits gained within by the use of CC-Link in the VTS include a 40 per cent reduction in cables and hardware through use of CC-Link remote I/O, a reduction in installation time, capacity for transmitting up to 128 different signals and interconnectivity with other systems.

CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA)

The CLPA is the organisation of manufacturers of CC-Link compatible products and users of CC-Link technology. The CLPA oversees and manages the CC-Link specifications, provides technical support and conformance testing and promotes the worldwide adoption of the CC-Link open automation network technologies. The CLPA was formed in November 2000. Global adoption of CC-Link is demonstrated by the following:

  • Over 12 million CC-Link devices have been installed
  • There are more than 2,100 members of the CC-Link Partner Association
  • There are more than 1,300 certified CC-Link products available from over 280 manufacturers

CC-Link is acknowledged by third party research to be the leading choice for open automation networks in Asia. By adding CC-Link to their portfolio, companies will be able to access up to 20% of the Asian market not accessible to Western technologies. To assist companies with this, the CLPA offers the “Gateway to Asia” (G2A) programme, G2A provides development and marketing assistance to companies who join the CLPA and develop CC-Link products.

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