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Our History makes for a good story - PCA

PCA was opened for business at Whiting Street Artarmon Sydney in 1968, by Adrian Smith. Mr Smith previously had a number of years experience in the industrial electrical engineering field. He believed that a large proportion of industrial breakdown time could be avoided with the implementation of the then very new solid state electronic technology.
Project implementation commenced with the automation of packaging lines for the new Australian Paper Mills Packaging Equipment Division.

Previously packaging lines consisted of a number of simple mechanical aids and a lot of manual handling.  At this time Philips had developed Norbit Logic a new range of transistorised electronic logic elements specifically aimed at the rugged industrial market.  With these early devices, a complete range of industrial sequencing cards was developed to provide a common element for a wide variety of industrial machinery.

As the electronics advanced, the control modules were redesigned several times to incorporate HTL then C-Moss logic and early gate arrays.  But, then came Texas Instruments with the 5TI early PLCs.  It became clear that the development of the microprocessor would eliminate the need for the discrete logic engineering approach.  So, PCA moved towards a greater concentration on the input devices.

From the outset Mr Smith had realised that no matter how reliable the control system may be, the overall performance of the equipment was largely determined by the input sensors. As a result PCA developed a heavy-duty photoelectric head for use on their materials handling equipment and also pioneered the use of proximity switches to replace all the mechanical limit switches on machinery.

In 1975 Mr Smith visited new electronic proximity switch manufacturers in Germany and was appointed Australian distributor for the Pulsotronic range of proximity switches.  With the ever-expanding requirement for photoelectric devices, PCA took on the distribution of the Erwin Sick range until Sick established their own facility in Australia in the late eighties.

As the proliferation of electronic components grew Mr Smith saw that rotary shaft encoders would gain much wider application, and would complement their existing range of input transducers. In 1981 PCA commenced assembly in Australia of a number of the Hohner Germany and later Hohner UK products. Since that time PCA has made thousands of incremental encoders for Australian machinery.

The first PCA encoderswere used in the Hunter Valley coal fields, today the PCA heavy duty stainless steel series are operating in mines and ship loaders all over the country. To many of Australia’s factories, PCA products were their first introduction to the industrial electronic revolution.  There are few products in the country that have not passed by, or through a PCA control device.  They can be found throughout the beverage, food processing, mining, metal forming, metal fabricating, and numerous other industries.

With the ever increasing sophistication of process control early this century PCA commenced an association with Posital the encoder division of the German Fraba company.  This company is a world leader of absolute encoders with models to cover the full range in the Industrial Buss systems, Canbus, Profibus, Devicenet and Ethernet to list a few.
Today PCA is the exclusive distributer for three rotary encoder manufactures, each specialising in different sectors of the market, a range of linear magnetic encoders a full range of installation accessories and motion control instruments from Motrona (formally MKS) of Germany.

PCAhas the unique ability to test and repair all the encoders we assemble and most other PCA encoders. As a manufacturer and instrument creator PCA can identify and replace most of the other encoder makers products, providing replacements normally with a much faster delivery time, and same day when necessary.  Therefore using PCA encoder products in your factory will ensure the minim of future lost production while waiting for replacement parts.

PCA has developed two products for encoder users to simplify both configuring control instruments that use encoder input signals, and an incremental encoder tester which provides the user the controls to fully test all parameters of incremental encoders.  These specialised products are currently distributed overseas by PCA’s European suppliers, the encoder testing instrument is used in Europe and North America several large end users and encoder manufacturers.

While the control hardware has made dramatic changes since 1968, the effectiveness of the control equipment is still ultimately determined by the quality of the input signals it receives. Today PCA offers a wide range of locally assembled encoders, with a twenty-four hour build option for those emergencies, and an extensive range of other switching and control devices.

In April 2019 PCA became part of the ADM Systems Group.