Innovative Products with a Big Impact on the OEM Market

Interview with Nataly Turgeman, Unitronics Global Marketing Manager, who speaks about her company from A to Z, giving an overview of the complete range of PLCs, powerful software and technical support

  • Nataly Turgeman, Unitronics Global Sales & Marketing Manager
    Nataly Turgeman, Unitronics Global Sales & Marketing Manager

PCN Europe: Could you introduce your company to our readers?

Mrs. Turgeman: Unitronics was founded in 1989 to provide dedicated solutions for industrial automation. The experience of designing and implementing turn-key automation projects revealed the importance of the operator interface to control solutions. This led Unitronics to introduce an industry first - what we then called "OPLC" (Operator Panel + Programmable Logic Controller). We believe that we were the very first company to introduce all-in-one HMI+PLC controllers to the market. This compact solution proved to be of real benefit in applications where space is at a premium. In addition to the obvious benefits of installing a single device for both operating panel and PLC - reduced wiring, no need to establish PLC-to-Panel communications - Unitronics developed an all-in-one programming environment where all tasks - hardware and communication configuration, HMI application and PLC program - could be accomplished in a single, user-friendly environment. Today, Unitronics offers a broad range of PLCs, from micro-PLC + HMI devices for simple machine control, to complex controllers with advanced functions, a variety of onboard IOs and multiple communication options. Our innovative products, combined with a large customer base and a wonderful distribution network, have positioned Unitronics to make an impact on the OEM market.

PCN Europe: Which are the most important markets for your company?

Mrs. Turgeman: Unitronics has a global distribution network of over 160 distributors in over 50 countries. Still, our main market is Europe, and specifically, European OEMs. The European market has its own characteristics. We listen to our customers - this allows us to know the hottest market trends and exactly which solutions are needed. For instance, take Samba, one of our latest products. Samba was developed specifically for European OEMs who need to boost the competitive edge of their machines, while reducing costs. Samba is an all-in-one PLC+HMI with on-board IOs and a beautiful color touchscreen, at an excellence price. Now, of course, offering such capabilities at such a low price was a risk for us, however it has been well received. A year after the launch, Samba is one of our fastest growing product lines, gaining new customers every day.

PCN Europe: Have you introduced any newproducts/applications recently? Can you tell anything about what's new in the "World of Unitronics"?

Mrs. Turgeman: Well, I can certainly say that the past couple of years have been very exciting in the "World of Unitronics ". We rolled out two brand-new product lines aimed at two major market sectors. The first was the all-in-one Samba controller line, which I mentioned previously. The firstSamba we launched was a model with a 3.5"color touchscreen, later adding a 4.3" model. We recently completed the line with the launch of the Samba 7". The second product line targets applications that require a PLC with advanced functionality. For these applications, Unitronics offers UniStream, a completely modular solution: The customer selects a HMI of the desired size, snaps on a CPU, and then snaps on I/Os to create anall-in-one controller that matches the exact requirements of his application. For this line, we developed a new, powerful programming environment: UniLogic™ UniStream successfully passed the ODVA's EtherNet/IP™ Industrial Ethernet standard conformance test earlier this spring, and we have been working hard to round out the series. We added a WebServer functionality including streaming videos, a built-in Alarm screens management system and more. We also heavily invested in developing robust, efficient software that allows our users to configure hardware and communications, write Ladder control programs,and design HMI applications with half the time and effort usually needed. Finally, we launched new hardware: new I/O and communication modules, as well as the UniStream 15.6" HMI panel, joining the existing 7" and 10" panels. Another important recent addition is the Vision430™, a PLC + HMI with a landscape 4.3" touchscreen.

PCN Europe: How do OEMs benefit from using Unitronics? What is the added value?

Mrs. Turgeman: We design many products specifically for small to medium OEMs. Such OEMs typically work on a much narrower profit margin than the larger firms. Our products protect that margin by:

• Eliminating wiring: All-in-one PLC+ HMI+ I/O controllers require no wiring between PLC and HMI, or PLC and I/Os.

• Slashing setup and programming time: All-in-one software enables an OEM to configure hardware and communications, and to write both the Ladder control and HMI program.

• Supplying an excellent price/performance ratio: Unitronics R&D carefully monitors market trends in order to develop products that deliver the required functionality while lowering costs.

• Providing personalized service: From pre-to-after-sale, our clients are served by Unitronics' high level employees, not by first tier support or an automated system.

PCN Europe: How do you support your customers after-sale?

Mrs. Turgeman: After-sale service and technical support is vitally important to us - Unitronics takes great pride in its best-of-breed technical support, given to every user without added fees, tiers, or hoops to jump through. Every question we receive is answered by an experienced member of our support team. The same team of experts is available in every phase starting with learning the project requirements, through installation, to customer support throughout the project life-cycle.

Marco Marangoni