Integrated Architecture Shelters Users in Magnificent Edifice

Rockwell Automation’s Integrated Architecture approach helps lower integration costs, improves manufacturing agility, and helps end users make faster, better business decisions.

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Frank Lloyd Wright would be very proud. To help end users and OEMs reduce costs associated with integration and achieve greater manufacturing agility, Rockwell Automation staged its “Integrated Architecture Logix” Solutions Tour during this week’s Automation Fair 2007 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Integrated Architecture is designed to assist OEMs in reaching advanced levels of integration by instilling optimal information-sharing from production through the rest of the enterprise. And, unlike many control and information solutions that consist of loosely-integrated technologies, Rockwell Automation’s Integrated Architecture approach helps lower integration costs, improves manufacturing agility, and helps end users make faster, better business decisions.

“If you look beyond the functionality and value of the individual technologies that make up an integrated environment—control, networking, visualization, and information—you can see that a comprehensive system can exponentially help enhance a manufacturer’s factory performance, and lower the total cost to design, install, operate and maintain machinery,” said Ken Deken, Rockwell Automation’s vice president for Logix/NetLinx. “End users can employ Integrated Architecture to leverage many advantages, such as a common database, tag-based memory, library of faceplates, and one communications protocol and operating environment to help improve the user’s experience.”

Twenty-two different Hands-On Labs allowed Automation Fair attendees to get down and dirty on topics ranging from PLC basics to programming drives.
For example, a cement machine builder, FLSmidth, recently implemented a networked control solution from Rockwell Automation to help increase communications and diagnostic capabilities on its Docksider barge unloading system. FDSmidth reports that its improved capabilities saved it and its customers hours of phone troubleshooting and potential downtime. Furthermore, its new ControlLogix programmable automation controller (PAC) allows the machine builder’s customers to store diagnostic data, use it as trending information, and enable predictive maintenance practices in the future.

Likewise, the fair’s Integrated Architecture exhibit included first looks at many of Rockwell Automation’s newest technologies, including:

  • CompactLogix L2x—As an extension of the CompactLogix PAC family, CompactLogix L2x series provides base packages with built-in discrete and analog I/O, high speed counter, and RS-232 and Ethernet ports. It can expand to up to 96 I/O using 1769 Compact I/O. L2x can handle applications that used to need larger, more expensive controllers, and give machine builders Integrated Architecture’s benefits at a lower price.
  • CompactLogix L45—The Allen-Bradley CompactLogix L45 controller offers expanded scalability and integrated motion control capabilities to the Logix control platform. Controlling up to eight axes of motion, L45 is designed for OEMs, machine builders and end users with small- to mid-range applications. Also, this PAC supports use of multiple network cards, including DeviceNet, ControlNet and EtherNet/IP.
  • RSLogix 5000 programming software—Updated software issue includes more than 30 enhancements to simplify programming and configuration, and ease maintenance and troubleshooting of control and information systems. Features include user-defined, add-on instructions to improve standardization and code reuse; integrated drives configuration for faster setup and easier maintenance of drive systems; FuzzyDesigner to help create advanced control strategies for Logix processors; Kinematics geometry extensions for delta robots to reduce costs and provide a common architecture for packaging applications; and alarm instructions to simplify programming, reduce network bandwidth use, increase time stamping accuracy, and integrate with the visualization alarm management and logging capabilities in the new FactoryTalk View SE.
  • ControlLogix communication modules—The 1756-DNB/C ControlLogix DeviceNet communication module provides 1 MB of user memory, allowing for ADR backup of a full network. 1756-DNB/C is ideal for laptop PC users with USB access to a DeviceNet network and controller. Also, the 1756-CN2R/B ControlLogix ControlNet communication module doubles the number of connections, and helps to provide increased capacity for I/O applications using unscheduled messaging.
  • Rockwell Automation and Cisco’s Modular Managed Switches—This co-branded, industrial managed-switch line is reported to be the first of its kind. It includes features optimized for both IT and manufacturing environments, combining the best of Cisco and Rockwell Automation in an industrial product line. The switches use the current Cisco operating system, feature set, and user interface that make IT professionals feel at home. At the same time, the switches provide easy setup and comprehensive diagnostic information from within Integrated Architecture. They also use CIP tags and configuration screens in RSLogix 5000, and diagnostic faceplates for FactoryTalk View. Modular and industrially rated, the product line scales from six to 26 ports with options for copper and fiber to meet a variety of applications.
  • Fixed managed switches—Featuring simple setup and default configurations for EtherNet/IP, these fixed managed switches help ease deployment of Ethernet on the plant floor. They integrate setup and diagnostic information into Logix using CIP. The small, fixed form-factor provides four or eight copper ports with an option for a fiber uplink to higher level networks.
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