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Mid-range portfolio brings high-performance controls to OEMs

02 November, 2012

At its annual Automation Fair, taking place in Philadelphia this month, Rockwell Automation is unveiling an expanded portfolio of mid-range products including servodrives, variable frequency drives, industrial Ethernet switches, and a unified engineering and design environment.

It says that the products, aimed at applications with fewer than 200 I/O, will help machine and equipment builders to cut costs and complexity. It will also allow end-users to standardise on a common technology, enabling more efficient collaboration, streamlining project maintenance, and supporting faster system deployment.

“This year’s expanded Midrange system offering (shown above) helps equipment builders and end-users to standardise on a single platform and address critical business issues, such as global standards, scalable hardware, collaboration and safety,” says John Pritchard, Rockwell’s market development manager for Integrated Architecture. “Forward-looking OEMs and end-users can now leverage the same high-performance equipment as larger-scale systems, providing scalable integrated safety and motion options for a wider range of machines – all in the same controller, with a smaller price point.”

The new mid-range products include:

The Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 525 AC drive
This is the first of a new generation of compact, full-featured drives covering the power range 0.4-22kW at 100–600V input. The modular system offers embedded EtherNet/IP, safety, USB programming and energy savings. It is designed to help customers save money, maximise system performance, and cut the time needed to design and deliver their machines.

The Allen-Bradley Kinetix 5500 servodrive and VPL servomotor The servodrive and low-inertia servomotor with smart-cable technology offer an integrated motion system on EtherNet/IP that is said to be smaller, and easier to wire and use. Suitable for packaging, materials-handling or converting systems with more than six axes, the system does not need discrete power rails or extra accessories, allowing machines to be scaled up as needed. Matched motor and drive ratings are claimed to use half the energy of comparable systems, while providing 125μs loop closures. A common external AC/DC bus cuts hardware requirements and allows seamless scalability, using a single platform for either single- or multi-axis systems. The high power density enables a 50% reduction in footprint. Power transmission and feedback over a single-cable eliminates hardware and wire terminations for lower cable costs.

Rockwell Software Studio 5000 engineering and design environment This provides a framework for engineering collaboration and includes Logix Designer for programming and configuring ControlLogix 5570 and CompactLogix 5370 PACs (programmable automation controllers). Later versions will support additional plug-ins for specific engineering tasks such as HMI development, code library management, and motion-application sizing.

Allen-Bradley Stratix 5700 Layer 2 managed industrial Ethernet switch This compact, scalable switch meets a broad range of switching uses, from entry-level, machine-builder applications through to converged or IT-ready integrated user systems. Its uses Cisco’s IOS network infrastructure software and delivers secure integration of business-critical services and support from the plant floor to the enterprise. The switch also simplifies the design and development of machine-level networks through configuration and monitoring tools which enable easy setup and diagnostics from within the Integrated Architecture system – bridging the gap between IT and automation.

Rockwell is also offering several free tools for each phase of a project`s lifecycle. These simplification tools help machine and equipment builders and system integrators to design, develop and deliver their automation control systems.

A highlight at the Automation Fair will be a working robotic module (above), built by Aagard, which is part of an all-in-one cartoner, case-packing and palletising machine. The high-performance, modular machine with a small footprint is based on Rockwell`s mid-range components including its CompactLogix 5370 controller.

“Shipping machines that used multiple control platforms seriously complicated maintenance and support,” says Aagard president, Steve Mulder. “Because our machines are customised and modular, standardising on the Midrange system from Rockwell Automation met our needs for performance, scalability and global support.”




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