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PLCs talk to each other without programming

20 September, 2009

The US automation appliance developer Online Development has produced a range of modules that allow PLCs from Siemens and Schneider Electric to communicate with Rockwell Automation controllers without needing to program message instructions between them.

The company says it has developed the modules in response to “industry’s growing need for a simple, cost-effective way to connect factory-floor controllers with each other”. They can be used to migrate existing installations to new control technologies, or for MES (manufacturing execution system) and ERP (enterprise resource planning) initiatives.

The cATM “appliance transaction modules” (shown above) install in a Rockwell ControlLogix PAC chassis and can communicate with Siemens S7 and Schneider Modicon Quantum controllers, as well as Rockwell’s own Allen-Bradley CompactLogix, SLC 500, PLC-5, MicroLogix and FlexLogix PLCs.

The modules are compatible with Allen-Bradley EtherNet/IP, ControlNet, DH485 and DH+ data bridges, and also support Siemens Ethernet TCP/IP and Schneider Ethernet Modbus/TCP bridges.

A browser-based setup utility recognises all controller tags or registers automatically. Tag or register data can be dragged-and-dropped from one controller screen to another. The utility also validates tag/register transactions between controllers.

The modules can exchange data faster than OPC-based systems for critical applications. For less critical applications, Online Development also offers universal gateway appliances that offer more than 100 OPC drivers for various types and brands of controllers

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