Blending Process and Discrete Applications

Nov. 15, 2007
Rockwell Automation is focused on closing the gap between discrete and process control applications.

On its evolving journey into the process automation space, Rockwell Automation has solved many problems for its process industry users, but that’s turning out to be just a preview. Now, the company is taking on new partners and launching new capabilities in its most ambitious effort yet to nurture its major and growing role in process automation.

“Rockwell Automation is focused on closing the gap between discrete and process control applications to provide truly integrated plant-wide control.” Rockwell Automation’s Kevin Zaba on the company’s renewed push into process automation.
To demonstrate its extended suite of process application capabilities—including new hardware and software solutions—Rockwell Automation hosted a “Process Automation Tour” at Automation Fair 2007 this week. The company also featured its newly expanded critical control and optimization expertise, resulting from its recent acquisitions of Pavilion Technologies and ICS Triplex, as well as its ongoing partnership activities with Endress+Hauser.

“Rockwell Automation is focused on closing the gap between discrete and process control applications to provide truly integrated plant-wide control,” said Kevin Zaba, Rockwell Automation’s process automation director. “Through new products, key partnerships and acquisitions, we’re helping manufacturers leverage the efficiencies, cost-savings and reliability of a single unified control platform, from process control to high-speed packaging to coordinated drive systems.”

The new process automation system technologies and partnership initiatives exhibited during the tour included:

Endress+Hauser Partnership

These longtime allies give manufacturers a wide range of pre-integrated, pre-tested, standards-based measurement, automation and information solutions. Users benefit from control and information solutions from Rockwell Automation, and process instruments from Endress+Hauser. As a result, this relationship helps customers reduce integration costs, improve operational and maintenance efficiency, and optimize plant assets. In the past year, dozens of jointly generated customer solutions were implemented around the globe in many different process industries.

ICS Triplex Acquisition

Acquired by Rockwell Automation in July of this year, ICS Triplex is a leading global supplier of critical control and safety solutions to process industries. This acquisition expands Rockwell Automation’s portfolio of process control and safety solutions, while helping to meet the needs of Rockwell Automation’s customers. ICS Triplex’s products and solutions for high-availability, fault-tolerant applications helps Rockwell Automation offer a full-featured package for process manufacturers, and deliver an end-to-end solution to help users derive maximum productivity and profitability from their plants.

Pavilion Technologies Acquisition

Acquired by Rockwell Automation earlier this month, Pavilion Technologies is a recognized leader in advanced process control, production optimization, and environmental compliance solutions for process and hybrid industries. The company serves major customers in consumer products, oil and gas, chemicals and other process industries. Pavilion’s software products will be integrated into Rockwell Automation’s FactoryTalk integrated production and performance suite, as well as the Logix Control Platform.

Historical Data Management

For example, to give manufacturers more sophisticated data analysis and reporting capabilities across process and discrete applications, FactoryTalk Historian SE collects high-speed, detailed data from any control system or human-machine interface (HMI) software. This new application builds off historian technology licensed from OSIsoft, and uses FactoryTalk Services Platform for integration with Rockwell Automation’s Integrated Architecture. Historian SE also lets users collect, store, analyze and visualize data using a software-based engine and a set of reporting tools such as time-series trends, bar charts, pie charts, tabular trends, and an easy report-generating method with Microsoft Excel.

Process PAC

ControlLogix L64 is the latest and more robust extension to the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix controller family, and it features 16MB of memory, which is twice the capacity of the most powerful existing model, for data-intensive applications requiring higher memory capacity. ControlLogix L64 programmable automation controller (PAC) allows more efficient use of system capacity with the centralization of applications, such as alarming, that in the past was shared by external devices like an HMI. For information-intensive applications, such as batch processing, ControlLogix PAC provides more storage capacity to locally store more data, enabling the user to switch recipes to meet production demands.

Asset Management

The FactoryTalk AssetCentre change management solution provides users with a set of asset-centric tools to help users securely and centrally manage their factory and process automation production environments. This new application includes four key functional areas:

  • Disaster Recovery provides automatic "backup" or "backup and compare" of an asset's configuration
  • Archive tracks versions of binary files and provides check-out and check-in capabilities
  • Audit Trail records users’ actions within Rockwell Automation’s software applications
  • Security helps prevent unauthorized system access and controls authorized user actions

Manufacturing Execution Systems

Likewise, the FactoryTalk ProductionCentre delivers real-time information across discrete and process industries to assist with operational improvement, business risk management and quality assurance. As part of Rockwell Automation’s Integrated Architecture, FactoryTalk ProductionCentre offers maximum scalability through multi-plant enterprises including, food, beverage and life sciences applications.

Alarms and Events

Combined with RSLogix 5000 alarm instructions, FactoryTalk Alarms and Events can help eliminate the issues traditionally associated with alarming. The system allows multiple FactoryTalk products to participate together in a common, consistent view of alarms and events occurring throughout an entire FactoryTalk system. As a subscriber to FactoryTalk Alarms and Events, FactoryTalk View Site Edition (SE) is an HMI targeted at supervisory-level monitoring and control applications that need a distributed and scalable architecture.