Watch for a new series of products featuring more integrated functionality from Schneider Electric, the French-based automation supplier. “Our customers are really driving us toward integrated functionality, and the ability to handle complex applications in a single device at a relatively low cost compared to the automation systems of days gone by,” says Jeff Jervah, business director, Automation & Drives, for Schneider, in Raleigh, N.C.
In response, says Jervah, Schneider Electric plans during the next couple of years to roll out three new, low-cost programmable logic controller (PLC) platforms that will feature combined or integrated functionality. To be focused on the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) market, the line-up will include integrated PLC/drive, PLC/human-machine interface (HMI) and PLC/motion control functionalities, he says. One early example is an integrated “HMI Combo” product set for formal introduction this December that combines a five-inch touch screen with PLC in a single package.
“For me, this is one of the most exciting times to be in the automation environment at Schneider, because we’ve got more than 80 new products that are planned between now and the end of 2010,” says Jervah. Out of this group, around 10 to 12 will fall into the “integrated combination product” category, he says. More information may be available at the Schneider Electric Init@tive users meeting, Aug. 13-15 in Las Vegas, Jervah indicates.