Rockwell Automation, Milwaukee, Wisc., has announced that it will be working together with Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel Corp. to expand the use of Intel's new high-performance network processor technology in industrial automation applications. Rockwell will be the first industrial automation supplier to use Intel's new line of network processors designed specifically for manufacturing environments.The IXP465 network processor, designed with input from Rockwell Automation, is part of a line of network processors that help manufacturers facilitate seamless information flow between the factory floor and office environments. Intel relied on Rockwell Automation's technical and industrial expertise to help ensure that the network processor met factory automation performance requirements. Rockwell Automation plans to embed the new processor into its next generation of communication products."Rockwell Automation's relationship with Intel is a critical component of its strategy to deliver open, information-enabled automation solutions that help manufacturers gain a competitive advantage," said Keith Nosbusch, president and CEO of Rockwell Automation. "Working with Intel has resulted in a new breed of high-performance network processors that, when embedded in our communication products, will enable our customers to better capture and seamlessly distribute plant floor information to other parts of the enterprise."According to Nosbusch, convergence of computing, industrial control and communications technologies has created a demand for better information sharing across the factory floor, and between the factory floor and the rest of the organization. In the past, industrial automation suppliers had to rely on proprietary microprocessor technology to achieve the performance levels required of manufacturing environments. The new network processors will reportedly rival the performance of proprietary offerings, but will be based on open, industry-standard interfaces and platforms."In developing our new line of processors, we wanted to work closely with an automation company that understood the demands of industrial automation and recognized the importance of seamless information flow," said Doug Davis, vice president of Intel Communications Group and general manager of its Infrastructure Processor Div. "Rockwell Automation was the obvious choice," added Davis, "and their expertise has been key in understanding the needs of the industrial automation market."