Interview with Mr. Andreas Chromy, Managing Director CEE, Murrelektronik GmbH

Easy Engineering: A brief description of the company and its activities.

Andreas Chromy: Murrelektronik is a global leader in the development, manufacture and distribution of automation solutions. Our products can be divided into four core lines: Power Supplies and Control, Interfaces, Cables/Connectors and IO Systems.

Our high-quality, innovative products and focus on market requirements sets us apart from the crowd. Murrelektronik is known for its customer-oriented approach which ensures tailored solutions that make applications better.

Murrelektronik is trusted industry-wide due to its future-oriented technology and extensive know-how. For more than 40 years we have worked with customers from a variety of industries including Automotive, Food & Beverage, Mobile Applications, Storage & Logistics, Robotics or Machine Tools. Developing and implementing customized solutions for automation systems is what we do best.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Andreas Chromy: Murrelektronik is driven to take plant automation and machinery to new heights. We want to make it simpler, faster and more profitable. We provide our customers with custom solutions from single components (e.g. power supplies) to up to zero-cabinet system installations.

This means, we take components out of the control cabinet and move them into the field. In doing so, installations become flexible, cost effective and user-friendly. This increases the competitiveness and is an important step towards readying the facilities for the fourth industrial revolution.

Preventative and LED diagnostics provide a host of valuable information. Combine that with our high-quality products to insure maximum run time in a facility. Return on investment is reached quickly allowing our customers to remain competitive in today’s markets.

Murrelektronik has also a high reputation for its connectors. Our molded connectors and distribution boxes combined with our prewired valve plugs reduce installation time by up to 40% and ensure error-free, reliable connections.

Easy Engineering: What’s the news for 2020 about new products?

Andreas Chromy: The technology transition requires new ideas to take customers to the next level. It requires both knowledge and experience to successfully manage the transition from the traditional, analog systems in machine engineering to smart, digital, Ethernet-based communication systems.

The realization of new and groundbreaking concepts for the automation industry is one of the main goals of Murrelektronik. The new fieldbus module MVK Fusion  with its wide range of uses and comprehensive diagnostics is a perfect fit. MVK Fusion is an opportunity to standardize modular processes and opens the door to a one-module strategy. The PROFINET/PROFIsafe module unites the three basic functions of installation technology: standard digital sensors and actuators, safety digital sensors and actuators, and IO-Link. This combination is new and innovative and enables unique and pioneering automation concepts to be realized. Installation becomes simpler and faster.

The new XELITY switches are produced at Murrelektronik’s headquarters in Oppenweiler. This is a guarantee for high-quality, 100% tested and technologically trend-setting products. Unmanaged switches are ideal for any network where configuration or diagnostic capabilities are not important. They are quick and easy to install and available in a large variety of styles.

Easy Engineering: What are the ranges of traded products?

Andreas Chromy: Murrelektronik offers a wide range of products for electrical and electronic installations. All of our products are designed to work well with each other and within the customer’s existing system. Our extensive product range allows the customer to build a system that meets the individual requirements.

Murrelektronik’s cabinet components ensure optimum power management in machine and system installations. The individual components are perfectly matched to each other. This ensures consistent power supply on a high level while focusing on efficiency. The installation is ready in a short time. Suppressor and buffer modules ensure system availability.

Interfaces from the cabinet to the field are an essential part of many installation concepts. Murrelektronik offers a comprehensive product range for quick connections, easy separations and for connecting diagnostic equipment. The components can be used variably. Power outlets for the cabinet and bright lighting elements complement the product line.

Murrelektronik’s I/O systems connect actuators and sensors of a system to the control. The requirements to I/O systems are very different. Some installations have many I/O points close together, in others wide distances have to be bridged. The environment can be well-organized or harsh. Murrelektronik offers different I/O systems, from practical distributor solutions up to high performance fieldbus systems.

Murrelektronik is a leading supplier of cordsets. With over 30,000 combinations to choose from, we offer the right cordset for any application. Our standard products are available by the piece in your choice of three jacket colors, five cable types and lengths from .1 to 100m. The M8 and M12 connectors as well as the valve connectors are available as pre-wired models, with almost all cable lengths. LED and suppression are also available integrated. Useful adapters and T-couplers increase installation options. The torque wrench is a useful tool and ensure sealed connections.

Easy Engineering: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

Andreas Chromy: We are currently facing a transition period with big changes. The digital transformation has already impacted all companies across the globe. It has unlocked many new opportunities but also has brought with it new challenges. Companies need to react to these challenges by creating innovative business models, communicating differently and reacting more quickly.

When it comes to technology transitions, Murrelektronik has always been a thought leader. We belong to the committees and international organizations that define our future technologies. We have been there from the beginning as new trends established themselves as standards.

Technological changes have revolutionized many areas in organizations. For example: It is possible to have access to real-time-data that visualizes system utilization. The whole organization is taken to the next level because machines increase their run-time, production is only briefly interrupted for scheduled maintenance and the cost-effectiveness and productivity of smart machines and systems becomes a reality.

Easy Engineering: What can you tell us about market trends?

Andreas Chromy: The latest markets trends are driven by the technology transition. One main aspect is the rollout of IO-Link. IO-Link is the only international standard that connects sensors and actuators regardless of the fieldbus protocol. The development of this proven connection technology is a crucial step towards replacing simple sensors and actuator with smart devices.

The key benefit is that you can easily integrate devices with complex parameters into the controls unit. The customer benefits from easily available data in the controls unit, while one can easily change parameters and replace devices, resulting in transparency and increased run-time.

Murrelektronik’s advice is independent and neutral because we are not a sensor/actuator manufacturer. Our complete product portfolio focuses on connecting sensors and actuators in all environments. We call it IODD on Board. It integrates your device’s parameters into the IO Device Description (IODD) of our fieldbus modules. So if a recognized IO-Link device is connected, all the configuration data is already available.

Another trend is emerging towards modular design in the electrical installation of machines and plants. Murrelektronik supports this trend and offers manufacturer-independent and system-independent pre-assembled, pre-configured machine elements. These elements can be integrated into an automation concept as standard components. This enables simplified designs and reduces the number of individual components in machines and systems.

Modular engineering elements enable machine set up to become highly cost-effective and easy, which becomes a real competitive advantage given the shortage of skilled employees.

Easy Engineering: What are the most innovative products marketed?

Andreas Chromy: We already mentioned our 3-way fieldbus module MVK-Fusion which is definitely one of the most innovative products in 2020. Besides, we offer an exciting range of new products:

Mico Pro – A Perfect System to Monitor Current

Mico Pro is Murrelektronik’s innovative 24 VDC current monitoring system. The modular design makes it possible to create systems that fit the application perfectly – which adds value by creating a cost-benefit ratio that saves space in the control cabinet. Murrelektronik’s patented tripping behavior ensures maximum machine availability. An additional advantage is the integrated potential distribution concept, which significantly reduces the control cabinet wiring.

Cube67: Decentralization at its best

The Cube system from Murrelektronik is a modular field bus system for on-machine installation concepts. It’s engineered flexibly to be the optimal solution for any application – meeting protection class IP20 through IP69K. Cube67 features great functionality, easy connections, a robust and compact design, fully molded modules, and multi-functional inputs and outputs. The modules can be installed right next to the sensors and actuators. Our one-cable-technology connects the modules to the bus node, transferring both data and power. Extensive diagnostics enable maximum transparency.

Emparro67 – The original on-machine power supply

The innovative Emparro67 is a power supply that can be placed directly on the machine because it’s fully potted with IP67 approval rating. The Emparro67 family of power supplies are specially designed for use outside the control cabinet: they can withstand extreme ambient conditions and are designed to be installed directly on the application next to the load. If you’re looking to reduce power losses and even make your control panel smaller, this range of power supplies is the right solution.

Emparro67 Hybrid – The next level of on-machine power supply

This power supply has all the incredible features as the original Emparro67 but with extra innovations like circuit protection and IO-Link. Still as rugged as our original on-machine power supply, the Emparro67 also features integrated load circuit monitoring, protecting applications against overloads and increasing run time. The device is also equipped with IO-Link which provides even more communication and diagnostics features.

Easy Engineering: What estimations do you have for 2020?

Andreas Chromy: The digital transformation will continue on and will have a huge impact in our society and technology. Smart Service and Internet of things will be indispensable. For Murrelektronik, the Internet of Things is simply a new way of transferring data from smart devices into the cloud. This process is independent of the controls unit and is necessary to transfer data to a higher-level system. The data can be transferred into the cloud in various ways: with a LAN cable or via the GSM standard. Once the data lands in the cloud, there are different ways of using it: for predictive maintenance, real-time analyses or creating a transparent overview of machine and production processes.

Moreover, there will be a switch from PROFIBUS to PROFINET. This represents the shift from traditional, closed bus systems to open, Ethernet-based systems. Ethernet technology links the physical world of machines to the virtual IT world. It links the shop floor to the office floor. The PROFINET standard enables high performance, outstanding functionality and straightforward service with minimum assembly effort. Ethernet standard wiring ensures stable connections and switches let you design flexible topologies and connect networks.