Essential Components Ensure Machine Integrity

With space at a premium and plug-and-play replacing hardwiring, the new breed of Rockwell Automation components on display at this week’s Automation Fair is designed to be smaller, faster and easier to use. “Your machine is only as valuable as the weakest component in it,” said Rockwell Automation commercial programs manager Sy Stevens. “Instead of buying more components and buying them more often, we suggest looking at the total value of components.”

From tower lights to operator interface terminals, Rockwell Automation’s broad range of control products is designed to ensure that automation components aren’t the weak link in machine performance.
The Essential Components Solution Tour on the exhibit floor encompasses stations with products, videos and interactive demonstrations of Rockwell Automation’s myriad component offerings and suggested modular configurations. One highlight was a video demonstration of the company’s On-Machine solutions. By moving industrial controls and hardware closer to the application, this technology was intended to reduce repair time and optimize plant-floor space, but the real beauty lies in the speed of machine-building, according to Mark Eitzman, product marketing, digital I/O.

“We’re plugging things in without any enclosure and no hard-wiring,” he explained. “It’s not necessarily going to affect your bottom line. It’s your top line—when you’re quoting a machine. If the customer can get a machine from you faster, that’s a big advantage to the OEM. The On-Machine technology gives improved cash flow and a better negotiating position with shorter lead times.”

One of the other benefits is on the troubleshooting side. “I can diagnose without a voltage tester. It’s all LEDs and can be diagnosed by hand,” said Eitzman. Line 4983 surge and filter products also took the spotlight on the tour. The products are aligned in front of the controller to protect against anything from a lightning strike to a voltage transient from within the facility. “Eighty percent of all transience is from within a facility,” explained product marketing manager Amy Stachowiak. “These products clamp the spike down to a manageable level, so it doesn’t destroy your equipment.”

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