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Can you spot the similarity between Steven Spielberg and an industry partner association?

The way I see it, the resemblance is in the company they both keep. Steven Spielberg thinks surrounding himself with talented people results in great films. Similarly, the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) believes that working closely with qualified partners from around the world makes industrial automation technology more innovative and reliable. This philosophy means that the CLPA now has over 2100 trusted members internationally.

Whether you're a fan of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Indiana Jones or Jurassic Park, you've got to admit it, Spielberg was on to something. And I think CC-Link might be too.

Steven Spielberg once said, “film making is all about appreciating the talents you surround yourself with and knowing you could never have made any of these films by yourself.”  Here at the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) we understand that just as with film making, partnerships play a central role in business. This is why we are particularly proud to announce we now have over 2100 members worldwide.

Our partners come from different sectors, but they all have two things in common: talent and ambition. Companies like Balluff, Festo, Weidmüller, 3M, ABB and Mitsubishi Electric are driving industry forward through their innovation and perseverance. But becoming a member of the CLPA can make any company a part of one of the world’s largest international open automation network associations. And that is only the beginning.

CC-Link is one of the world’s leading open automation network technologies, , with an installed base exceeding twelve million devices. Just to give you a feel regarding our size and spread, we have over 1,300 certified products from more than 280 manufacturers. CC-Link is the leading fieldbus technology in Japan and Asia and is becoming increasingly popular in Europe and the Americas.

There are two main reasons why our membership is increasing at a rapid rate. In Europe, the past several years have presented many European companies with challenging business conditions. The recent Euro crisis was the wake-up call to many businesses that long-term success relied upon developing markets beyond the “local” European area. CC-Link, with its acknowledged strength in the Asia-Pacific market, provides a key enabling technology for companies looking to increase their business in this critical global market. The CLPA actively supports and encourages this kind of expansion with our “Gateway to Asia” (G2A for short) programme. This offers European companies with support assistance valued up to 10,000 Euros when they develop a CC-Link product and wish to market it in Asia.

Secondly, CC-Link offers world-leading technology which offers significant performance advantages over similar networks. The CLPA is the first and currently only organization of its type to offer its members the ability to implement open gigabit industrial Ethernet performance in their products. This is in the form of CC-Link IE, the world’s first and so far only open industrial Ethernet technology that operates at 1Gbps.

With a growing partner base, CC-Link has become more and more popular around the world and across industries. For example, the US AutoAlliance car plant in Flat Rock, Michigan,  implemented CC-Link in the Ford Mustang and Mazda 6 production lines. The technology is utilised across all manufacturing stages including assembly and paint operations.

Although CC-Link originated in Japan as a technology originally aimed at the Asian market, the international adoption rate has been very successful, with the majority of the current membership being outside Japan. Many of the CLPA members are located across North America and Europe, establishing the brand as a global solution.

Passing the 2000 member mark is proof that CC-Link is firmly established in the “club” of technologies which are seen as the main choices for open networks in automation. This also means that it has proven itself across a wide variety of industries such as automotive, food and beverage, life science, consumer electronics and energy. Furthermore, the vast selection of products available means that OEMs can be confident of application flexibility when integrating CC-Link into their designs.

If the CC-Link story was a film - and perhaps one day soon it will be – we are confident it would win a record number of Oscars, because just like Spielberg, we have surrounded ourselves with the top industry leaders and most innovative players around the world.

CC-Link enables devices from numerous manufacturers to communicate, resulting in a fast, deterministic control system. It is managed by the CLPA, which represents manufacturers and users, academics and other interested parties.

***John Browett is the European general manager of the CLPA.