1661879928458 Afaharmandcraigrokarticle

PlantPAx 5.0 integrates InnovationSuite capabilities

Nov. 19, 2020

“Simply scan the ThingMark associated with the process strategy. Then it will enable this live augmented-reality overlay over your plant’s equipment.” Rockwell Automation’s Armand Craig explained how FactoryTalk InnovationSuite capabilities are now embedded with the company’s PlantPAx 5.0 DCS. 

The release of PlantPAx 5.0 distributed control system (DCS) by Rockwell Automation integrates its FactoryTalk InnovationSuite, enabling DCS users to bring live and historical data to life within dashboards, process templates from PTC and advanced analytics. Further, PlantPAx 5.0 data can now be tapped from within Vuforia, the PTC augmented reality (AR) environment, allowing the visualization of actionable faults and analytics.

Armand Craig, PlantPAx system architect, explained the features and applications of the new release during an Automation Fair at Home presentation.

The Gartner Analytic Ascendancy Model describes four levels of analytics, starting with descriptive analytics, which provide detailed information on runtime events, explained Craig. “Next is diagnostic analytics, which can assist users in the question: Why did this event happen?” he said. “As analytical applications become more advanced, we enable predictive analytics, which provide insights into what will happen in the future. Lastly, prescriptive analytics provide suggestions on what actions should be taken, along with closed-loop analytical functions.”

Where the FactoryTalk InnovationSuite differentiates itself from traditional big-data analytics platforms is in Rockwell Automation’s process expertise and scalable analytics offering, providing analytics from the device level all the way up to the enterprise level, explained Craig.

The FactoryTalk InnovationSuite is powered by both Rockwell and PTC, and features IIoT purpose-built solutions, augmented-reality experiences, edge-computing capabilities plus and machine-learning and artificial-intelligence delivery and services.

“As your business begins its digital transformation, the first step is to wrap your process with operational intelligence via descriptive analytics within the device and controls levels,” explained Craig. “Next is to extend your capabilities with augmented-reality-enabled operations, along with predictive analytics. Lastly, transform your operations with prescriptive analytical capabilities that provide performance benchmarking, synchronized operation and process optimizations.”

The PlantPAx 5.0 system tools and solutions, including rapid code development, process system estimator, process object library migration tools, alarm builder and DCS migration, are designed to be used throughout the lifecycle of a project, from the quoting and planning phases to maintenance and optimization.

“We provide reference architectures that enable edge-to-enterprise analytical capabilities from the FactoryTalk InnovationSuite,” said Craig. “We provide redundant, resilient and simplex reference architectures that are characterized and documented to ensure repeatability.”

Documentation is also provided to ensure the DCS is sized, configured and maintained properly. “In PlantPAx 5.0, we’re offering new process-focused controllers in both 1756 and CompactLogix form factors,” said Craig. “The new process-focused controllers offer instructions native to the controller, requiring no importation. This simplifies lifecycle management for the end users.”

Highlights of the PlantPAx 5.0 library include standard repeatable controls; new SAMA diagram interface, which provides a pictorial representation of running process code; available process strategies, including I/O processing, device control and regulatory control; and tag-based alarms and diagnostics. “These alarms and diagnostics provide information to more advanced analytical capabilities,” explained Craig.

DCS diagnostics

In this latest PlantPAx release, automatic diagnostics are provided to the DCS by subscribing to the controller via the FactoryTalk link shortcut. “No additional programming is required,” said Craig. “Users can view these diagnostics via a FactoryTalk diagnostics summary screen, which is similar to the traditional alarm summary. By enabling the diagnostics’ historical functionality, the information provided can assist in root-cause-analysis investigations. Automatic diagnostics can also help users achieve lower mean time to repair through quick and easy delivery of diagnostic information.”

FactoryTalk Analytics for Devices is an edge appliance that provides system- and device-level diagnostics. It can perform analysis on device data, and it notifies users when devices change health state. In addition to the base features, process-specific use cases include enhanced process control support, Endress+Hauser device support and robust diagnostic information.

“This device actually lives on the plant floor and is simple to set up and utilize,” said Craig. “Simply complete the initial setup to enable the device on the process network, configure the desired device range and then view the diagnostics through the Web browser or the dashboard that this device provides.”

ThingWorx and Vuforia

“PlantPAx 5.0 will provide users with ThingWorx-developed PlantPAx alarm and event dashboards,” added Craig. “These dashboards provide the ability to investigate alarms by area, priority and other critical alarming criteria. We also will be providing advanced alarm analysis dashboards, which include insights into fleeting, chattering and stale alarms. In addition, we will be providing advanced process-object and event-based reports. Simply import and configure to tie back into your database, and then the alarm and event dashboards can provide insights.”

ThingWorx templates enable prebuilt process-strategy experiences for Vuforia. “These experiences provide running data, alarming data, maintenance information, historical data and event data via an augmented-reality interface,” explained Craig. “Simply scan the ThingMark associated with the process strategy. Then it will enable this live augmented-reality overlay over your plant’s equipment to provide detailed information from the DCS similar to our faceplate functionality that we have within FactoryTalk View within this augmented-reality format.”

These experiences are available to import from the process library download. “Simply import, and then tie the data points within that experience back to the process strategy Thing that exists within ThingWorx,” said Craig.

Predictive modeling at the edge

FactoryTalk Analytics LogixAI is a 1756 module that provides predictive modeling at the edge. “This module empowers controls engineers without the need of a data-science expert,” explained Craig. “The process to utilize this module includes the user configuring the module to investigate the data of interest. The user then identifies when to have LogixAI train the model to the information that it is being provided. LogixAI then monitors and models that information that is configured.” The user integrates the predictions to improve control within the plant.

Some use cases of LogixAI include soft sensor applications and notifications on PID tuning to ensure the user has confidence in their PID loops.

Pavilion8 and PlantPAx MPC provide closed-loop prescriptive analytics, which drive 24x7 performance of the process. Some highlights of Pavilion8 include model-based advanced, dynamic control, which drives stable performance; integrated model-predictive-control calculation; soft sensor visualization and reporting; smart toolsets for user support; and a robust, rapid, reliable runtime environment.

“PlantPAx MPC is model predictive control (MPC) at the edge and in the ControlLogix rack, providing new opportunities to improve process equipment performance and tackle challenging control problems,” explained Craig.

About the author: Mike Bacidore
Mike Bacidore is the editor in chief for Control Design magazine. He is an award-winning columnist, earning a Gold Regional Award and a Silver National Award from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. Email him at [email protected].
Get the Best of Automation Fair At Home

The editors of Control, Control Design and Smart Industry are providing coverage of Automation Fair At Home, bringing you breaking news, innovations and insights from the virtual event. Once Automation Fair At Home is over, the editors will put together an event report featuring the top news. Pre-order your copy today.

Pre-order the report