B&R Industrial Automation expands U.S. headquarters, sees wider markets

Norcross, GA — Austrian automation giant Bernecker + Rainer Industrie-Elektronik GmbH is expanding its North American activities.


Application demos showed “Office Opening Event” visitors the ease of integrating a variety of B&R and third-party products.

Norcross, GA — Austrian automation giant Bernecker + Rainer Industrie-Elektronik GmbH is expanding its North American activities. The company’s U.S. subsidiary—B&R Industrial Automation Corp.—has recently increased the size of its main office near Atlanta, GA, to nearly 10,000 sq. ft, anticipating wider markets for its automation products and technologies. B&R’s presence in the U.S. dates from 1987 and has shown continuous growth through direct sales offices as well as via a unique Automation Partner distribution network, says the company.

B&R used the occasion of the June 17, 2004 "Office Opening Event," to present its new hardware and software offerings to customers, automation partners, and the media by way of application demonstrations. The demos illustrated practical integration of the company’s intelligent servo drives, servo motors, controllers, PC-based operator panels, IP67 I/O modules, and automation software with third-party products (such as, pneumatic valves, encoders, network bridges, etc.)—all communicating through CAN bus and Ethernet Powerlink networks. (Ethernet Powerlink is a decentralized, real-time communication system developed by B&R for high-performance automation and motion control.)

Among the demonstrations, a soft CNC application showed several B&R products working in concert, connected by Ethernet Powerlink plus CAN bus. Three Acopos Mini Series servo drives formed the core of this application requiring X-Y-Z axis motion. Power Panel 200 provided the operator interface, while Automation Studio handled control, motion, and visualization tasks. Also, a mobile controller (handheld but cable-connected) allowed an operator to regulate the whole system, including functions such as dead-man switch and E-stop.

Markus Sandhoefner, B&R industry segment manager, presented a seminar on Ethernet Powerlink entitled "Making Ethernet Real-Time a Reality." Introduced in November 2001, the communication system has deployed 15,000 nodes worldwide as of March 2004, according to Sandhoefner. The system is based on numerous industry standards and, among other features, employs domain separation for security by separating real-time from non-real-time functions.

Ethernet Powerlink obtains its determinism for real-time operation by use of a time-slicing mechanism that "guarantees collision-free data transfer," explains Sandhoefner. The system provides master cycle update of 400-microseconds for up to 240 network nodes. It uses only standard processor chips available from multiple vendors. Ethernet Powerlink Standardization Group (EPSG) manages the communication system.

B&R’s newly expanded office includes up-to date training facilities and a team of 30 employees well prepared for B&R’s growth in the North American market.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Frank J. Bartos, executive editor

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