By Joe Feeley
Rockwell Automation has expanded its Integrated Architecture portfolio for smaller applications with a series of scalable CompactLogix programmable automation controllers (PACs), servo drives, I/O, visualization and simplification tools. With high-performance features, such as integrated motion, safety, EtherNet/IP connectivity and re-usable development tools, Rockwell Automation offers users the ability to standardize on a single control platform for small- to large-scale applications.
On display in the Integrated Architecture booth of the Exhibit Hall at this week's Automation Fair in Chicago, Rockwell Automation's platform offering is aimed at providing the foundation to drive plant-wide optimization efficiently and effectively, helping companies to respond competitively to the economy and changes in consumer demand.
"It's based on five core foundations," explained Mike Burrows, Rockwell Automation director of market development for integrated architecture. "It involves multiple disciplines that offer functionality for a full range of automation applications with common equipment and standards. It involves scalability for offerings that are right-sized by product, architecture and core multiple-discipline functionality. EtherNet/IP is the third core foundation, providing a single network of IT-friendly Ethernet for information, I/O and motion. Next is real-time information for live data and open access throughout your power and control system. Finally, there is knowledge integration of devices and systems to maximize and secure intellectual property."
A big part of this year's focus is scaling the technology with an eye toward the needs of industrial machine builders of all sizes. "The core challenge for my team is to take the integrated architecture capability and scale it into a platform designed for small-to-medium sized applications with medium to high complexity," said Kelly Schachenman, Rockwell Automation business manager for CompactLogix & SLC. "We're bringing those core foundation values to a smaller package and are introducing 12 new CompactLogix controllers with the same underlying technologies as the ControlLogix."
Schachenman says the controllers are twice as fast, have much greater communication speed and provide standard and integrated motion on EtherNet/IP to provide scalable motion options for a wider range of machines.
"OEMs want to design in one platform and then easily move it to another platform," said Schachenman. "When we sat down to design these new controllers we were able upfront to ask what was important to them about scalability. So these new controllers all have an embedded Ethernet switch; they all have embedded SD flash. So it's a pretty easy move to another platform with just a little bit of reassignment of the I/O points."
"Each of the platforms has at least one module to support integrated motion," said Schachenman. "In the past, integrated motion was available only in the L4, which was aimed at higher-level, more sophisticated applications." That segued to the Allen-Bradley Kinetix 350 Single-Axis EtherNet/IP Servo Drive. "Bringing motion to the masses was a big part of our thinking. This is a single-axis controller, designed to support safe operations on low-axis-count machines. It simplifies the network architecture by eliminating the need for a separate motion network, providing a high-performance, cost-effective solution. This new drive will also feature a power range up to three kilowatts."
Showing Rockwell Automation's integrated drive/motor combination, Schachenman explained, "We've taken the servo drive out of the cabinet and mounted it directly on the motor. You get simplified wiring that can include integrated cabling to carry both three-phase power and SERCOS signals together. A lot comes out of the control panel, and there's no longer heat concerns that can outsize the panel volume needed. We're doing SERCOS today, but we'll offer EtherNet/IP in the near future."
"We've made a lot of enhancements to optimizing the electrical, mechanical and control systems with our Mechatronics system, including integration to 3-D Solidworks," said Schachenman. "We've always had a good set of tools to size the motors, the inertial load, to choose the right motors, but now we've coupled that so you can do full simulations of that design in software."
These enhancements to Motion Analyzer 6.0 Software will help machine builders obtain the full benefits of a mechatronic design approach by making it faster and easier to analyze, optimize, simulate and select motion control systems. In version 6.0 of Motion Analyzer, said Schachenman, it is easy to evaluate design alternatives to facilitate a reduction in the size of the motor and drive with new enhancements in the workflow and additional products included in the selection menus.
Other products being featured this year in the Integrated Architecture booth include PanelView Plus 6 and PanelView Plus Compact Human-Machine Interface. The cost-effective, operator interface provides advanced integration with Logix-based controllers and Rockwell Software RSLogix 5000 Design and Configuration Software. This is a single development tool that integrates Rockwell Automation control and information products on a single network. It's designed to deliver world-class control capabilities for all disciplines, including process, batch, discrete, drives, safety and motion.
Attendees at Rockwell Automation Fair can get a full understanding of these products in the Integrated Architecture Booth (#343) on the exhibit hall floor.