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Integrated control environment extends to smaller systems

17 November, 2011

At Rockwell Automation’s annual Automation Fair, held recently in Chicago, the company expanded its Integrated Architecture portfolio to cater for smaller applications with a series of scalable, programmable automation controllers (PACs), servodrives, I/O, and visualisation and simplification tools. It says that this expansion will allow users to standardise on one control platform for all their applications, from small to large.

“To gain this level of scale, users typically have to manage multiple designs, networks or visualisation environments,” says Rockwell’s director of Integrated Architecture, Mike Burrows. “The portfolio expansion gives the unprecedented ability to scale I/O using a single control platform and common user experience.”

Rockwell’s previous ControlLogix PACs have been aimed at applications with up to 10,000 I/O and 100 axes of motion. The new CompactLogix family (shown below), which also offers integrated motion on EtherNet/IP, is suitable for applications with fewer than 200 I/O and up to 16 axes of motion. It is said to provide the same performance, flexibility, short development times and ease-of-use as the larger systems.

The expanded portfolio includes:
•  the CompactLogix 5370 series of PACs, which provide both standard control and integrated motion on EtherNet/IP using the same configuration, networking and visualisation environment as ControlLogix;
•  the Allen-Bradley Kinetix 350 single-axis EtherNet/IP servodrives which simplify network architectures by eliminating the need for a separate motion network, while providing a high-performance system for smaller machines with axes rated up to 3kW;
•  the PanelView Plus 6 and Compact HMIs, which integrate with the Logix controllers; and
•  Rockwell Software’s RSLogix 5000 design and configuration software, which integrates Rockwell control and information products on a single network and is suitable for process, batch, discrete, drive, safety and motion applications.

Other products and services shown in Chicago that enhance the expanded portfolio include:
•  the Motion Analyzer 6.0 software, which helps machine-builders to obtain the benefits of mechatronic designs by making it faster and easier to analyse, optimise, simulate and select motion control systems;
•  the Drives and Motion Accelerator Toolkit, offering design tools that help to cut the time and cost of developing new applications using Rockwell equipment;
•  the AENTR Ethernet Adapter, which helps to cut the time taken to migrate from SLC PLCs to CompactLogix PACs, by re-using existing I/O and field wiring;
•  the Cisco-powered Allen-Bradley Stratix 2000 and 6000 switches, which simplify integration by providing high-performance switching using tools familiar to IT professionals; and
•  the Allen-Bradley ArmorBlock dual-port EtherNet/IP Quick Connect system, which allows connections between controllers and ArmorBlock modules to be created within 500ms.

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