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VIDEO: A Look Inside B&R, as Its Story Is About to Take a Turn

Brett Brune
By Brett Brune Editor in Chief, Smart Manufacturing

Summary of report from EGGELSBERG, Austria—Bernecker + Rainer Industrie-Elektronik GmbH, the 3,000-person firm that ABB recently said it would buy, shows Smart Manufacturing how it puts together automation PCs, or APCs, in a batch-size-one mode.

The mass customization allows the PC to become “plug and play,” said Gerald Haas, head of global industrial management. Plus, companies can get their corporate branding on the PC, so that it becomes their PC and no longer a B&R PC.

This lets each B&R customer protect its spare parts business.

Companies like Trumpf also want to show their own controls in the control cabinet, Haas said.

A big part of B&R’s story is the fact that its own production facilities have been fully networked for about a decade. The company’s workstations are connected horizontally, so that they can talk to each other without involving another, higher system. They are also connected vertically to B&R’s ERP system, as well as its APROL line monitoring system.

Besides industrial PCs, B&R specializes in programmable logic controllers and servo motion-based machine and factory automation.

Assuming the ABB deal goes through, B&R will soon also be ABB’s global center for machine and factory automation.

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