<b>Headquartered in Mannheim, Germany, Pepperl+Fuchs was founded in 1945 by Walter Pepperl & Ludwig Fuchs. Working on low power radio transformers, the company had a good hand on using fundamentals of electromagnetism. The same technology was worked deeper and applied to derive the first inductive proximity switch in 1958. This switch which did not require any mechanical movement within itself to operate and change its output was the product of the first generation of a technology in offing which changed the face of electro-mechanical automation for decades to come.
In its journey along the past six decades - Pepperl+Fuchs has come a long way. From the first proximity switch, the company went on to develop its expertise in products required for automation in both – the factory and the process automation environments. P+F also developed its first transistor amplifier with an intrinsically safe control circuit and thereafter the company expanded its product base significantly and became an icon of technology in its field. Scouting for newer markets and production bases the company forayed into Asia as early as in 1975 and has been consistently expanding since.
Even in the 70s, the owners of P+F had the vision that the future of business and its volumes lay in Asia. Giving shape to that vision, the company set up its high capacity production plant outside Germany in 1979 in the then fledgling Singapore. Emboldened by the continuous growth and potential of business in Asia, using Singapore as a base, during the mid-80s, the company set up its key business subsidiaries in India, China, Australia and Japan.
The 90s saw the company consolidating its product portfolio by continuously reinvesting in its own R&D and parallel technologies. P+F developed its own internationally accredited testing centres and looked out for other institutions with the right synergies for expansion of business.
The late 90s saw P+F further expanding its portfolio to offer complete sensing and intrinsic safety products and solutions under one roof. In the year 2000, Pepperl+Fuchs took a major leap in acquiring companies named Visolux in Germany and Elcon in Italy.
The brandname ‘Visolux’ stands for all photoelectric sensors within the factory automation division, including door, gates and elevator sensors as well as sensors used in safety applications. The photo sensor competence centre of the Visolux division in Berlin strives to develop innovative and high quality, economical automation solutions.
P+F further expanded by taking over Purge & Pressurization Systems from Bebco Industries EPS in the USA. The purging & pressurisation systems are used to protect electrical equipment operating in hazardous and non-hazardous areas.
P+F again expanded by taking over “Microswitch“ range of inductive and proximity sensors from Honeywell and 2D barcode reading solutions from Omnitron.
Further, the Systems and Solutions business area within the Process Automation division acquired EXTEC which is a globally operating specialist for operator control and monitoring in hazardous areas
Then, the Danish company OJ Electronics’ division of oil separator alarm systems (SAS) was also acquired by P+F, as part of their focus on water treatment and sewage applications.
P+F acquired the Intrinsic Safety Instrumentation (ISB) business located in Buehl, Germany, from Cooper Crouse-Hinds, a division of Cooper Industries. The products manufactured by ISB – including Remote I/O, Din Rail devices and Zener-Barriers components – fit to the core offerings of P+F’ Process Automation division, making the acquisition an attractive extension for both business units ‘Components+Technology’ as well as ‘Systems+Solutions’.
Supporting the necessary growth, in the year 2006, P+F took over VMT Vision Machine Technic Bildverarbeitungssysteme GmbH located in Weinheim. VMT GmbH supplies turnkey solutions for the field of robot vision, robot guidance and machine vision. The system solutions are based on image processing and laser technologies. With the acquisition of VMT, the company extended the Factory Automation product range by high-end image processing systems. These products and single-source services continue to be brought to the market with the VMT brand.
Industry profile – Factory Automation
P+F has been successful in developing sensors that meet specific demands of many applications. Today, it offers, along with standard sensors in its portfolio, very specific sensors that are built around applications and environments of typical and demanding industries like automotive, food and beverages, material handling and chemical equipments.
Some typical types of sensors in P+F portfolio are - proximity sensors with - reduction factor 1 / ingress protection upto IP69K (under water/steam jet resistant) / weld immune sensor with PTFE coating / sensors with extended temperature range (-40 deg C to +250 deg C). In ultrasonic sensor one can find temperature compensation with digital/analogue output / sensors suitable for harsh applications like anti-collision in ports. In the range of photoelectric sensors: different design/sizes with VISO+ advantages like LED green on power ON, resistances to HF external light, modern output stages such as push-pull to AS-I 2.1. Safety sensor: type 4 and type 2 safety light curtains for finger, hand and body protection. Vision system solution/sensor: for more demanding application in automotive, pharma and packaging. P+F offers RFID technologies for use in manufacturing environment – Inductive ident (125, 250, 13.56 kHz) and microwave ident (2.45 GHz). P+F also offers a special IDENT solution (detection range up to 1.5 m) for use in high temperature environments (up to 500 deg C).
Industry profile – Process Automation
The PA division of the Pepperl+Fuchs Group is today the undisputed market leader in all three World markets – America, Europe and Asia – when it comes to components for intrinsically safe explosion protection, according to the company.
The target industries here are from chemicals and pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, and other areas involving waste water treatment and power technology. In all industrial areas P+F is both a supplier and a partner for end users, control system manufacturers, system integration and engineering contractors.
The rapidly increasing trend for networking processes and automated systems has now enabled the company to offer remote I/O systems (point-to-bus) and complete FieldConnex‚ (bus-to-bus) field bus installations in addition to the conventional interface modules (point-to-point). The recently acquired display and operating terminal (HMI) from the EXTEC brand will enable them to enter the field of diagnosis and configuration platforms for field bus technology, whilst the level control products cover the field device requirements to round off its overall strategy.
The Factory Automation Division developes, manufactures and sales industrial sensors designed to address specific market needs on a global basis. P+F offers a full range of inductive, capacitive, photoelectric, and ultrasonic sensors, rotary encoders as well as identification and ASi systems, barcode and vision systems.
The Process Automation Division is the market leader for intrinsically safe components & products for hazardous area applications like intrinsically safe isolators and barriers, remote I/O interfaces, HART systems, purging & pressurised enclosure system, level measuring equipment, corrosion detectors, signal conditioning & most importantly the field bus interface products.
Today, with six ISO 9001 manufacturing facilities located at Germany, Singapore, USA, Hungary, China & India, and 30 subsidiaries with numerous sales associates Pepperl+Fuchs Group stands very strong in the international arena.
The secret to the German firm’s success is sensitivity to market needs as well as adaptability to local needs. More than after sales service, it places premium on providing information on proper product application. P+F invests heavily into new and reliable technologies to provide products with ever increasing performance and applications. 20% of the company’s revenues are annually ploughed back into newer products and research.
P+F in India
P+F has been engaged in India with its direct presence since last two decades and established as a 100% owned subsidiary of P+F Germany since last ten years. It is a more than 100 personnel strong professional organisation covering the whole geographical expanse of India with its offices in most of the happening industrial centres of the country.
P+F products are developed to provide reliability and variety to suit most of the applications in the manufacturing environment. The products are widely used in India in a host of sectors like machine construction of all kinds, pulp and paper, cement, metals and minerals, automotive, material handling, food and beverages, ceramics, process controls, gas and petrochemicals, fertilizers and so on.
Popular models of inductive proximity sensors are manufactured at P+F India’s Bangalore facility. The unit conforms to the worldwide standards set by the company and is subject to regular quality audits from TUV Rheinland, Germany.
Operations of P+F India are being integrated into the worldwide ERP system of the P+F group which shall catapult the local organisation and empower it to bring global services and products into India.
With long years of operation in India, a developed company infrastructure, motivated team of personnel and strong support from the core P+F organisation and management, P+F India is slated to be one of the core subsidiaries of the group and will strive to have fair chunk of its market share in India.
The company celebrated its two decades of presence in India recently. The event was supported by end users and specialists from all segments of the industry. An end user conference and customer meet of over two days culminated with talks on field bus technology, safety and current technologies in the world of sensing. ■
“We have implemented the marketing strength of the Americans, the technical precision of the Germans, the manufacturing excellence of the Asians, and the sales talent of the Indians to do business in India, Middle-East region, which gives our operations a global feel.” Dr G Kegel – CEO, Pepperl+Fuchs Group “We expect to grow in the Indian market where we have had a fairly decent growth rate for the past three years. Our engineering must be close to our customers’ world to understand their demands. If our people understand the language and the problems, then we can discuss applications and solutions.” Dr Peter Adolphs – MD, Pepperl+Fuchs Factory Automation business worldwide “Our two decades of working in India has helped us to organically grow a very potent yet flexible organisation that works closely with the market and users here. Deriving strength from the vision and infrastructure of the core multinational organisation, our Indian subsidiary today is a promising set-up playing its model role in the industrial manufacturing environment here.” Ravi Agarwal, Regional Sales Director , Factory Automation, P+F India “Quality, consistency and market adaptability are the ingredients for the success of any company. In the last decade, P+F India has been working meticulously in this direction and the result is obvious – the company established itself as the preferred partner to the industrial automation customers in India!.” Thampy Mathew, Regional Sales Director, Process Automation, P+F India
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