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GM, Proctor & Gamble, Compaq Computers, Goodyear...besides the fact that these are all huge companies that make products the public uses every day, they have something else important in common: Dan Noonen. He was instrumental in designing DeviceNet, the open networking solution that helps each of these companies--and thousands of others--manufacture their products more efficiently. Introduced in 1994 and based on commercially available CAN chips, DeviceNet is a low-cost communications link able to connect a wide range of industrial devices to a network, regardless of vendor. Because the specification and protocol are open, vendors are not required to purchase hardware, software, or licensing rights to connect devices to a system. Users, moreover, can add a device or machine to the production line without powering down. Noonen, who joined Rockwell Automation (Allen-Bradley) in 1985, has also played a key role in some of the first installations and is one of the lead architects of RSNetWorx for DeviceNet--the next generation of monitoring and configuration software.

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