PCN Adapting to Innovations in Process Automation
PCN Technology, a manufacturer and service provider of communication networks and IP-enabled products, is bolstering its leadership capabilities with key additions to its executive team. The San Diego-based company specializes in advanced intra-network and Ethernet connectivity for automation and control processes.
The company is led by Dr. Venkat Shastri, who has spent the majority of his career in the automation, semiconductor, and electronics sectors. He previously served as an engineer for NASA’s Mars Pathfinder project. In April, PCN hired Dave Karpenske as chief operating officer. Like other directors and investors at PCN, Karpenske spent nearly 25 years with energy manufacturer and services provider Schlumberger.
The challenge for companies like PCN is competing in a rapidly changing industry in which process automation is crossing over to various industries. Businesses in every sector are looking to reduce costs due to higher taxation, healthcare expenses, and labor costs. For instance, industrial Ethernet (IE) switches are increasingly employed in applications outside its traditional user base.
Infrastructure contractors and oil and gas customers ranging from smart grid (such as electrical substation automation), to intelligent rail and highway, as well as, drilling, pipeline, and refining applications are presenting IP connectivity companies with new opportunities and operational challenges. Hardware and connection cables are finding themselves installed in a variety of environments for clients that require the highest levels of assurance on operational continuity.
Process automation is no longer confined to robotics or automated manufacturing plants.
The market for Ethernet switches and related hardware are expected to decline as companies are expected to move towards wireless networks, according to a May 1 release from the Dell’Oro Group. “Data center consolidation projects and an increase in Cloud services are causing the data center segment to significantly outperform the overall Ethernet switch market," according to Alan Weckel, Vice President at Dell'Oro Group.
Companies like PCN Technology are facing several challenges. Customers are expected to move to high-capacity wireless. Earlier this week, Spirent Communications announced the launch of its next-generation high speed Ethernet test solutions. According to the company’s press release, its new high density test modules along with a high performance chassis enable the doubling of port densities while lowering power consumption and total cost of ownership.Continued on the next page