Home » EZ is as EZ does! The launching of an automation products competitor
EZ is as EZ does! The launching of an automation products competitor
fter five years of being best buds, and helping to make AutomationDirect.com a huge success, Shalli Kumar, CEO of AVG Automation, is taking the big direct reseller of automation products on as a competitor. His new catalog looks startlingly like ADC’s, with little red and green “thumbs up/thumbs down” indicators on specification comparisons, and little red and green men in hardhats. Sound familiar? Well it should. And why does this stuff sound familiar? Because EzTouch and EzText products made by AVG have been sold by AutomationDirect for years.
“We launched on January 24th with 400 products and a 340 page catalog,” Kumar said at a press briefing recently held to introduce his new division, EZAutomation.net. “We have spent a lot of money getting ready for this,” he noted, “and we have some special features nobody else has, like extended hours for same day shipping, almost instant order acknowledgement, and a large and experienced tech support staff.” In fact, he noted, “it is the same support staff that has been backing up AutomationDirect for EZTouch and EZText products for years.”
EZAutomation may look like an AutomationDirect clone, but the equipment has significant differences. Instead of private labeling a PLC line, like ADC’s use of Koyo PLCs, AVG Automation is itself a private label manufacturer, and decided to produce a PLC line of their own.
“We can do that because our Uticor division was one of the first developers of programmable controllers and we have the patents to prove it.”
When asked about his new vulnerability to the Solaia patent now that he is making his own PLC, Kumar said, “If they show me their patents, I will show them ours. I am not worried.”
Kumar’s designers have taken some risks with the PLC design. Instead of the familiar and very slick looking “brick” designs made ubiquitous by Allen Bradley and the other manufacturers, EZPLC and EZTextPLC are relatively homely. This homeliness will likely turn to comfort as end users find that the designs are very easy to modularize and customize, and have significantly larger Phoenix Contact terminal blocks, in a very technician-friendly design.
But end users will really be shocked at EZAutomation’s pricing. Beginning with a new 12-bit, 4in/4out analog I/O module for $99, EZAutomation’s products are priced below the bargain basement. Depending on the product, Kumar says, “we are anywhere from 10 to 60% below everybody else, including AutomationDirect.” An example is the new EZCE TouchPanel operator panel. Intended to compete directly with the Allen Bradley VersaView and the GE QuickPanel View, the EZAutomation offering is almost $1200 less than the AB panel, and nearly $600 less than the GE Fanuc panel, comparing list prices.
Is the divorce amicable? It is, according to Kumar. He says he has given strict orders that there will be no badmouthing ADC by his people, and that he wants to continue working with ADC on the product lines they currently sell. Does Kumar expect to hurt ADC? “Not really,” he says, “I expect there is more than enough room in the direct selling model for the two of us.”
It can only benefit the end user and system integrator community to have another direct reseller with a similar model to AutomationDirect, Kumar says, and he believes that the market will expand to support both companies.
He also says that his model is really "Dell meets Best Buy," having already signed up a bunch of VARs. "Direct pricing, but with local service worldwide," he said, "is our key to being better."
Is he right? And is he willing to put the money up necessary to overcome AutomationDirect’s huge marketing machine and brand strength? He says he is, but we shall see.
Compressor Controls: Saudi Aramco Buys First GE Compressor Control Systems
Saudi Aramco has purchased advanced compressor control technology from GE for the Haradh GOSP-1 facility in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province.
ISA Training Through June in Houston
Technician training, engineering survival and SIS boot camps for condensed, intense, comprehensive educational experience.
NIST Releases Initial Cyber Security Framework Comment Analysis
The National Institute for Standards and Technology has released an initial analysis of the hundreds of comments by industry and the public they have received on the Obama Administration's "Improving Critical Infrastructure Cyber Security" executive order.
Past Time to Upgrade Your DCS?
Upgrading Your DCS: Why You May Need to Do It Sooner Than You Think
Metso Provides New Heating Solution for Finnish Utility
Finland's largest pellet-fired heating plant produces environmentally friendly energy in Tampere
K-BIM Consortium Selects Siemens' Parasolid for New AEC Applications
-BIM, a consortium of commercial, academic and government organizations wants the new application suite to help create a national standard for building information management (BIM)
Friday p.m. Wrap-Up:This Week on ControlGlobal and Elsewhere
Some of the week's biggest stories in process automation
What's Bad Weather Costing Us?
U.S. taxpayers paid nearly $100 billion responding to damages caused by last yearís extreme weather events associated with climate change, about $1,100 per taxpayer, according to an analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
BP, Shell, Statoil Raided by EC
European Commission investigators raided the offices of oil companies BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Statoil as well as data collector Platts as part of a larger inquiry into price manipulation of the global crude market.
What We Can Learn About Safety from the Titanic Hearings
This report from the U.K. publication The Engineer is instructive. It reprints a report from the May, 1912 hearings on the sinking of the Titanic.
- All news »
Access the entire print issue on-line and be notified each month via e-mail when your new issue is ready for you. Subscribe today.
- Featured White Papers