ROCKWELL AUTOMATION will expand its plant-wide information software by extending its manufacturing execution system (MES) products, deploying a service-oriented architecture (SOA), and gathering its software products into one, integrated Rockwell Software FactoryTalk suite, the company has announced. "With increased demands on manufacturers to improve quality, reduce costs, increase productivity and meet regulatory compliance, the integration of the factory floor with information systems is no longer a luxury. It's a strategic imperative," says Kevin Roach, Rockwells VP of Rockwell Software. "FactoryTalk will bring together our current solutions for control, visualization, information management and MES. It also provides a foundation to develop and acquire additional highly scalable, standards-based applications that give customers insight into manufacturing operations and help them execute business strategies that optimize production." FactoryTalk is an integrated suite of scalable, modular, standards-based production performance software applications that are integrated with Rockwells Logix control platform and connected to third-party and legacy systems. "Many of our customers are familiar with FactoryTalk as a valuable set of integrated services that facilitate data sharing among multiple automation software applications, adds Roach. Were building on this foundation by creating one common integrated suite that embraces both services and applications."FactoryTalks applications will run on FactoryTalk SOA, which is a common set of software services that includes security, diagnostics, auditing, data model, licensing, real-time data, historical data, configuration and alarms and events. FactoryTalk builds on existing Rockwell Software, and provides a platform for added solutions. So, as the company releases new versions of its Rockwell Software, Propack Data and Arena products, theyll be incorporated into FactoryTalk. Essentially, FactoryTalk consists of multiple production disciplines, which correspond with common manufacturing activities that require integration of plant-floor data with business systems. Whether operating individually or in combination with each other, FactoryTalks production disciplines use the knowledge-based infrastructure in the FactoryTalk SOA for more efficient data sharing, easier integration and faster startup. These disciplines include performance and visibility, production management, asset management, quality and compliance, data management, and design and configuration."Through the Logix control platform, Rockwell Automation demonstrated its ability to bring together multiple control disciplines under a common architecture," explains Roach. We intend to deliver that same value through the multiple production disciplines in the FactoryTalk plant-wide information software suite.