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Hi, my name is Jack Marsh with Innovative IDM. Today I’d like to talk a little bit about Allen Bradley and maybe perhaps why it’s not always the best solution for your application. Allen Bradley makes fine products, and they are quality products, and they’ve got a very broad offering, but they are not always the perfect solution for every application. We’ve really identified 5 reasons why that’s the case.
Allen Bradley has a very successful top down marketing approach and convinced large end users in specific market segments to standardize on their products. And then those end users can dictate to the machine builders that they go to that Allen Bradley products is going to be used in their machines. But that allows Allen Bradley to charge more for their hardware and software. They don’t have to be competitive with the market if their users are dictating their products are going to be used in the machines. There’s also the support cost. If you don’t have a service agreement, a purchase order, or a credit card handy when you call Allen Bradley for factory support, you’re going to be out of luck. So you better have those things in mind when you call to get support from them.
Then, all of their software is sold on an a la carte basis. So say for example you purchase the PLC programming software then say later on down the road you find that you need to configure some network communications, or perhaps you want to simulate the PLC and HMI interactions without having the hardware present. That network communication suite is an additional product you’re going to have to purchase. The simulation package is an additional product you’re going to have to purchase. Wherein a lot of other manufacturers, those functions are built in to the software you buy for the programming.
Another thing Allen Bradley does that allows them to offer a very broad product line without incurring high development cost is to private label products from other manufacturers, but the downside of that is there is not a consistent look and feel across the product line. So a small ac drive for example might program and configure completely differently than the large variable frequency drives from Allen Bradley. And if one of the manufacturers that they're private labeling from happens to have a discontinuation or product change, there are ramifications for Allen Bradley products that are beyond their control. There might not be a simple replacement for that.
And then the last thing to consider is the international support. While Allen Bradley has a very large market share in the U.S., their presence in Europe and Asia is not nearly as large. So if you’re building machines for the overseas market and you’re going to need support after it’s installed, that might be an issue.
If you’d like to research some of the options to Allen Bradley such as Omron, Yaskawa, Parker, or Wago, please visit our website at innovativeidm.com and remember Innovative IDM is the home of the legendary customer experience.