U.S. automation users could become privy to one of Europe’s best kept automation secrets in the next few months when Copa-Data GmbH (www.copadata.com) establishes its North American operation. The Salzburg, Austria-based developer of the zenOn supervisory control and data acqusition/human-machine interface (SCADA/HMI) package is currently looking for a base in the Chicago/Detroit area, where it plans to set up a sales and support operation by early summer 2006.
Founded in 1986 by brothers Thomas and Alexander Punzenberger, Copa-Data already has a toehold in the U.S. market as a result of major European users such as BMW choosing to adopt zenOn for their U.S. operations, and due to European original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) exporting machinery incorporating the SCADA/HMI software to the U.S. In mainland Europe, zenOn is one, if not the leading ‘independent’ SCADA/HMI package. Again, however, because of its very high level of adoption among OEMs, quite often even its own users don’t know they are using it. Nevertheless zenOn’s reference list reads like a roll call of Europe’s most prestigious companies, with the European arms of some notable North American names—Coca-Cola, Dow and DuPont, for example—thrown in for good measure. Thomas Punzenberger reckons that Copa-Data’s success to date can be attributed to maintaining the focus on SCADA when others have been beguiled into manufacturing execution systems (MES). That’s why he believes zenOn is far and away the easiest to use of all the major SCADA/HMI offerings, and why it will receive a warm welcome in the U.S. later this year.