Molex, a global manufacturer of automation and industrial products, has been appointed as a board member of the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA), the worldwide body that develops and promotes the open automation networks CC-Link and CC-Link IE.

Established in 1938, Molex operates 45 manufacturing locations in 17 countries and already makes many CC-Link-compatible products including I/O blocks, remote I/O and network interface cards. These are often best sellers in Asia, where the customers tend to be device manufacturers, assembly line builders and system integrators; providing robotics and automation solutions to end-users in the automotive and other high-volume manufacturing industries.

Damien Leterrier, Molex director industrial communication, said that partnership with the CLPA continues the company’s policy of productive collaboration: 
“Collaboration is essential for us as a high technology company which develops products based on customer demand. We serve a fast moving market and reacting quickly to customer demand is important. This is hard to do when working in isolation, so to stay ahead of the curve in terms of technology we have to pre-empt the questions and challenges our customers will present. To do this, we have to be involved in the development of important technologies such as communication protocols, especially market leading ones such as CC-Link.” 

He further explained that true collaboration is a two-way process, with knowledge and experiences being shared back and forth. “Because CC-Link is open source, this is something we can play a part in and contribute towards the general good, as well as helping us to achieve our own commercial objectives.” 

Molex invests roughly 5% of its net revenue into research and development (R&D). It has R&D centres around the globe, all interconnected by an integrated IT structure and using common processes and tools for maximum efficiency. 

“This structure is parallel to the control networks themselves, mirroring the development direction of automation systems towards more localised processing and intelligence with higher speed, higher data rate communications,” said Leterrier. “As control moves closer and closer to the sensor or the machine it uses a common infrastructure to make communication more efficient.” 

Being elected to the board of the CLPA is regarded as a great opportunity for Molex to be involved, not only in the way CC-Link is applied to products, but also in its future technical direction. 

Leterrier feels that compatibility of communications is a key requisite in all automation markets. Put simply, the more options Molex supplies, the easier its products are for customers to buy and integrate. Speed to market and making sure the latest technology is always available is also part of the Molex philosophy. 

“When we develop products, the increase in technology we put into a simple device is growing exponentially. This means we have to bring simplicity back to a device to make it just as easy for customers to use. 

“Ultimately, improved machine and device level communication means production operations are far less likely to break down. Big data is made possible and our vision of managing automation – to react quickly to demands, to enable more on-device memory and processing power, and to increase the speed and robustness of communication, for example, is helped by the speed CC-Link IE brings.”