History

Industrial Data Communications Heritage

Westermo was established in 1975 during the infancy of industrial data communication networks. Tore Andersson the founder of the company recognised the need for reliable data communications in the industrial environment at an early stage. The prevalent data communication standard at the time was RS-232 which could manage to transmit data only a few metres and was susceptible to the noise and earth loops found in industry. The solution was the KM-1, a simple but elegant isolated line driver that would allow communications out to as far as 18km.

Over the next 20 years industrial data communications standards like 20 mA current Loop, RS-422 and RS-485 appeared and Westermo was always able to offer the most reliable isolated and protected solutions on the market. With much of this equipment finding itself in industrial cabinets Westermo were early to see the benefit of the DIN rail mount for its customers and introduced the first industrial data communications products to the market with an integral mounting clip. This clip, still used today, is actually designed into the case making the mounting of the device both secure and easy.

By 1996 Westermo were again innovating in the market place when they recognised the huge benefits that industrial users would gain if they could reliably connect to industrial equipment in remote unmanned locations. The TD-22 was the first truly industrial telephone modem. Built into the Westermo DIN rail box and designed to ensure continuous operation even in the worst environments the TD-22 helped to drive the Westermo business to new levels.

Westermo industrial modems and converters

As industry continued to adopt new data communications standards Westermo was again one of the first to market with products that supported the Ethernet standard for industrial applications. In 2000 Westermo launched the ED-10 to allow old serial protocols to be transmitted over Ethernet. As the Industrial Ethernet trend continued to gather pace Westermo started to develop its own Ethernet switches for the first time, releasing the SD-300 in 2003.

In 2005 Westermo acquired, robust networking experts,  OnTime Networks AS to give a boost to the managed Ethernet switch business. With this acquisition came technology like FRNT, allowing Westermo to offer the fastest healing ring networks available to industry.

It was in 2006 that the next major innovation occurred when Westermo saw the potential in using SHDSL technology to allow industrial users to make Ethernet connections over long distance by reusing old cables. The Wolverine DDW-100 was born, a revolutionary product capable of delivering huge savings in both time and cost for the customer.  Westermo continue to lead the way in this market having adapted the technology further to allow the creation of resilient and secure networks.

1st January 2008 saw Westermo acquired by the Beijer Electronics group of companies who have continued to channel increased investments towards Westermo allowing the company to continue to develop further innovative products for the growing industrial Ethernet market.

With Ethernet networks getting ever more complex and increasing numbers of IP protocols being used by industrial customers Westermo recognised the benefit of having its own cross platform software solution for switches.In 2009 the Redfox Industrial Routing switch was launched including the WeOS operating system. This incredibly robust and easy to use solution has been at the heart of every Westermo product since that date.

Westermo’s ability to design industrial Ethernet switches to operate in the worst environments led the company to explore interesting new markets. One in particular was the evolving market for Ethernet networks on trains. Working closely with the industry resulted in the Westermo IP train solution including a range of the most robust switches ever designed, the Viper family, being released in 2012.

Westermo now has its largest R&D team ever and continues to be a company working to develop the best industrial networks.

Brett Wright

Sales, Westermo US

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