IEN meets Eaton Industries

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Dr. Martin U. Schefter and Karl-Heinz Arndt, Eaton Industries


Dr. Martin U. Schefter (right), Business Unit Manager for Industrial Automation and managing director of Eaton Industries Holding GmbH, together with Karl-Heinz Arndt, the SmartWire-Darwin development manager in the Industrial Automation Business Unit at
Dr. Martin U. Schefter (right), Business Unit Manager for Industrial Automation and managing director of Eaton Industries Holding GmbH, together with Karl-Heinz Arndt, the SmartWire-Darwin development manager in the Industrial Automation Business Unit at

SmartWire-Darwin is a new communication system by Eaton Industries. Jürgen Wirtz, Editor of IEN Europe, talked with Dr. Martin U. Schefter and Karl-Heinz Arndt about the main features of the system.

IEN: SmartWire-Darwin not only eases the user’s life at his workplace, but also serves to impress the ladies’ world – like demonstrated in an applicaton film on your website. What is SmartWire-Darwin, and what are the main product features?
Schefter: Unfortunately, I have not yet experienced the part with impressing the ladies yet (laughs). But indeed, I really think that the application film very nicely gets across what SmartWire is all about. It offers a cost and time benefit to the control cabinet and mechanical engineer, not only in terms of wiring, but also when it comes to avoid possible installation errors. This means that connecting the components of a control cabinet by using SmartWire is dramatically less prone to errors, because it is such an easy-to-install system. We have actually just initiated a development that we will take much further. The products we offer today already reveal the benefits for our customers. Expanding our portfolio in this direction will result in a drastic benefit for all those who still wire today and connect tomorrow.  

IEN: How has the communication system been accepted by the market so far?
Schefter: The reception by the market has been very positive. Especially the machine building industry is interested in the system. Especially in this industry, there are products and systems with a certain life cycle. We have succeeded in establishing SmartWire in many new developments that will hit the market in the months to come. Then we will see the real success of our new communication system.
Arndt: I can only confirm the positive reception of the system among those who have already installed it. Depending on the complexity of the respective control cabinet, SmartWire reduces the wiring by 30 to 60 %. What is especially striking is the practically non-existent testing and initial operation errors, not only in the machine building industry, but in all applications where control cabinets are used. Just recently I visited a customer in the Netherlands who installs green houses. This customer has reduced his time for initial operation from 3 to 2 days.  

IEN: The so-called Darwin Technology refers to all Eaton products for contron cabinets. What is the philosophy behind this development?
Arndt: The philosophy is the take all the Eaton standard products from the Moeller business unit and make them communicative, instead of altering them.
Schefter: And I would like to stress: ‚all of them’. Because we can even equip the simple HMIs, push buttons, signal lamps, etc. with Darwin Technology.  

IEN: The name Darwin and the term ‚evolution’, which is closely conneted to it, means that there is a certain beginning but no end. Is this the strategy behind the product developments?
Schefter: Clearly ‚yes’. Mr Arndt’s reservoir of ideas is far from being empty.
Arndt: Good products have no end, they can always be further developed. We have worked on the HMIs and contactors recently, and the next developments will be in the field of sensors.  

IEN: Is the SmartWire-Darwin system open to products of other suppliers as well, and do you already have some co-operations with other companies?
Schefter: The system has been conceived as an open system right from the start. But first of all we had to prove that it really works. Right now we actively negotiating with other suppliers, to open up the topic.
Arndt: Just recently I talked to the Profibus Nutzer Organisation (PNO), the German organization of Profibus and Profinet users, since we think that one needs a broad user platform in order to properly establish the product in the market.  

IEN: Gentlemen, thank you very much for the interview.

Posted on October 11, 2010 - (54871 views)
Eaton Industries GmbH
Hein-Moeller-Straße 7-11
53115 Bonn - Germany
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IEN meets Eaton Industries

Dr. Martin U. Schefter and Karl-Heinz Arndt, Eaton Industries

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