Anybus adds POWERLINK
Based in Halmstad, Sweden, HMS is the market leader in communication interface products for industrial applications. Their Anybus modules make it easier for engineers to develop automation technology that is compatible with a wide variety of fieldbus systems and Ethernet-based field networks. The recent addition of the POWERLINK standard to Anybus modules, first introduced at the 2011 SPS/IPC/DRIVES show, illustrates how Anybus continues to live up to its name. For HMS CEO Staffan Dahlström, this is the beginning of a close cooperation with B&R and the Ethernet POWERLINK Standardization Group (EPSG), with this innovation further improving the availability of prefabricated POWERLINK products.
HMS Industrial Networks AB was founded in 1988 by Nicolas Hassbjer (HMS = Hassbjer MicroSystems) and has since been at the forefront of communication technology development, especially in the area of machine manufacturing. With Anybus, the Swedish company introduced a network card onto the market that can connect practically any device with any network.
21 years later, several hundred HMS employees develop and manufacture hardware that helps device manufacturers ensure compatibility with a wide variety of fieldbus systems and industrial Ethernet-based networks. The main product families are the Anybus CompactCom series of plug-in interfaces, Anybus Master/Slave embedded modules and Anybus-IC DIL-32 PCB-mount piggy-back network interfaces, all of which are designed to be integrated in industrial automation devices. The HMS catalog is rounded off by the Anybus Communicator protocol converter and the Anybus X-Gateway for network-to-network communication. In short, HMS is the world's leading source of industrial communication solutions, offering the hardware and software needed for data translation between the many industrial devices and networks currently available on the market.
Leading up to the 2011 SPS/IPC/DRIVES trade fair, HMS CEO Staffan Dahlström sat down with automotion to answer some questions about HMS products in general and the addition of POWERLINK in particular.
automotion: Why would a company that designs and manufactures industrial automation equipment buy Anybus-embedded products instead of integrating the network or fieldbus technology themselves?
Dahlström: Customers see benefits in a number of areas. Using Anybus technology, HMS customers can relieve their design engineers of what generally is a rather demanding task outside of their main area of expertise, allowing them to concentrate on their true design goals. With Anybus, a single design iteration is all it takes to establish multi-protocol fieldbus and industrial Ethernet connectivity for automation equipment. And with off-the-shelf Anybus modules ready to be plugged into customer hardware, this integration is even feasible at low volumes. Of course, a faster time to market thanks to the greatly shortened design cycle is a strong motivator for companies trying to retain their edge in competitive markets.
automotion: In which applications do you see the greatest demand for POWERLINK compatibility?
Dahlström: Our customer base includes a wide range of industrial device manufacturers. Currently, more than 900 different product types include Anybus integration. When it comes to POWERLINK, we see a demand for industrial automation applications in general, especially on high-performance machines since these require network technology that combines high reliability and fast data transfer.
automotion: In which geographical markets do you expect to see the most POWERLINK applications?
Dahlström: Industrial automation is an increasingly global market, and we have requests for POWERLINK coming from customers as far east as China and as far west as the USA. The biggest demand, however, is still within the central European market with its strong position as the global leader in sophisticated machinery.
automotion: What's the time frame for availability of Anybus with POWERLINK?
Dahlström: Our first product that supports POWERLINK – Anybus CompactCom – was introduced at the 2011 SPS/IPC/DRIVES show in Nuremberg. Initial prototypes will soon be delivered to the first group of customers.
"This is great news for POWERLINK users, and we are very happy to be building this strong relationship with HMS," adds Stefan Schönegger, manager of Open Automation Technologies at B&R and managing director of the Ethernet POWERLINK Standardization Group. "Anybus modules for POWERLINK will instantly give the OEM machinery market a choice of 900 additional POWERLINK-compatible products from a wide variety of automation equipment manufacturers.
B&R's outstanding commitment to supporting POWERLINK helped us decide in favor of integrating that standard," says Staffan Dahlström, CEO of HMS Industrial Networks AB (left). Stefan Schönegger, manager of Open Automation Technologies at B&R and managing director of the Ethernet POWERLINK Standardization Group (EPSG), is also pleased that "Anybus integration makes an additional 900 more outstanding automation hardware products available for easy integration in POWERLINK-based systems."
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