With the various challenges confronting Australian manufacturing industry, including the potential demise of the automotive sector, it is important that manufacturers utilise the latest innovative technology, develop new products, and pursue niche markets in order to remain competitive.
Following its recent acquisition of GOVAN Industries, manufacturer of intrinsically safe explosion protection and electronic sensors, Pepperl+Fuchs, has opened a new 4000 square metre facility at Campbellfield Industrial Park in Melbourne.
Already a market leader in the development and manufacture of intrinsic safety barriers, electronic sensors and components, Pepperl+Fuchs is now establishing itself, through the acquisition of GOVAN, as a leader in the supply of electromechanical explosion protection equipment in Australia and around the world.
At the new facility, the company will manufacture customised enclosures including a comprehensive range of multi-function local control stations and control panels.
Managing Director of Pepperl+Fuchs in Australia, Shane Parr, says a big benefit of the new facility is that it enables the company’s automation equipment to be incorporated with hazardous enclosures, including the creation of customised Exd/Exe enclosure solutions to meet the specific project requirements of customers.
“These solutions also allow the hazardous area mounting of a wide range of industrial products that do not have ‘Ex’ approvals. Components such as PLCs, starters, and transformers can be mounted in an Exd enclosure which then allows them to be located in a Zone 1 certified area,” he explained.
“We are now able to provide a one-stop-shop and package an entire engineered solution for a wide range of hazardous area applications.
“One of the first actions that needed to be taken in setting up the new facility was to install integrated work processes, which was supervised by external auditors. Pepperl+Fuchs is now moving from the production of components to the design and production of complete solutions,” said Parr.
The main product lines of Pepperl+Fuchs in Process Automation include intrinsic safety barriers, signal conditioners, remote I/O, fieldbus interfaces, surge protection, purging solutions, human/machine Interface, and explosion protection equipment.
In relation to Factory Automation, the company offers inductive, capacitive, ultrasonic and optical sensors, inclination and positioning sensors, ASi interfaces, identification systems, industrial vision and rotary encoders.
Photographed at the opening are (L-R): Mehmet Hatiboglu – COO/MD Pepperl+Fuchs Group; Adem Atmaca – Deputy Mayor Hume City Council; Dr Gunther Kegel – CEO Pepperl+Fuchs Group; Shane Parr – MD Pepperl+Fuchs Australia, Regional Sales Manager Pepperl+Fuchs Asia Pacific.
The company’s CEO, Dr. Gunther Kegel, who visited Australia from Mannheim in Germany for the official opening of the new Campbellfield facility, says the internet will be the basis for the next generation of technology.
“There is likely to be significant growth in cyber physical systems, with devices that talk to each other as part of factory automation in the future. The flow of materials and goods through the entire manufacturing process and on to packaging and logistics is set to become more highly automated and much faster, establishing a seamless flow,” he told PACE.
“New product lines are being developed to enable this, including smart sensors with improved recognition capabilities and the ability to scan 360˚ images and give them to a robot for instant action.
“More robust and reliable networks are required in factories, including closed loop control systems. Safety needs to be guaranteed, so these networks need to be stable and provide diagnostic information in real-time.
“For example, in a chemical plant that relies on a computer to ensure that there are no explosions, it is important to know in real-time that the computer is not corrupted.
“Big productivity gains of up to 30 percent can also be delivered through the introduction of innovative closed loop control systems that provide information in real-time.
“As an example, savings of up to 40 percent in electricity consumption can be achieved by simply removing old motors and replacing them with highly efficient DC motors and drive systems. Such investments can provide payback within two years.”
Kegel says Pepperl+Fuchs is focussed on two key market segments.
“The first is within discrete manufacturing industry that produces piece-by-piece, such as the general machining and packaging markets. The second key market area is process automation where products are produced in a continuous process, such as in the oil and gas, and chemical and pharmaceutical sectors, as well as the mining industry, including automated loading of ships,” he said.
“There are a number of factors that help our company to maintain its competitive advantage. We put a lot of emphasis on delivering complete engineering solutions, providing highly skilled and informed support to our customers, and ensuring the availability of substantial stock levels, which is a big investment for us.
“Also, an important strength is our flexibility in being able to cater to a broad range of industries, which is particularly valuable in difficult economic times. Our new facility at Campbellfield will further enhance this strength and assist the company to pursue significant growth export markets, particularly in South East Asia and the Middle East,” noted Kegel.
Recent product releases from Pepperl+Fuchs include the R2000 Laser Scanner which the company says incorporates measurement optics based on mirror technology as opposed to the usual lens technology.
The R2000 uses Pulse Ranging Technology to provide a high level of accuracy. Its optics operate independently of wave length and are equally suitable for red as well as infrared light, thus providing a high degree of freedom in using the device.
Team Pepperl+Fuchs outside their new facility in Campbellfield Industrial Park.