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On-machine motor controller is `smaller and cheaper` than rivals

05 March, 2012

Rockwell Automation has announced a compact distributed motor controller that can be installed on a machine without an enclosure, and connects to EtherNet/IP networks. The Allen-Bradley ArmorStart LT controller can be used to co-ordinate conveyor motors in materials-handling systems, and for packaging and warehousing applications.

According to Paul Gieschen, Rockwell’s market development director, the controllers “provide enhanced motor control at a lower price point and in a smaller package than other on-machine motor control products.”

The pre-engineered design simplifies wiring, speeds up commissioning, and reduces the need for cabinet space. Installation is simplified by a dual-port EtherNet/IP switch that supports device-level ring (DLR) network topologies.

DLR-based networks cut configuration time and costs by minimising the number of managed switches and reducing cabling. Users can create DLR networks that connect all components locally at the device level and communicate information in real time to all levels of an organisation.

The EtherNet/IP connection can also improve the exchange of critical information about machine performance and component health, while allowing operators to access parameters, status and diagnostics remotely. The controllers support the use of a transparent clock to synchronise motor devices on an EtherNet/IP network, compensating for delays introduced by other devices on the network.

The motor controllers include an add-on profile for Rockwell Software’s RSLogix 5000 programming software. Automatic, predefined tag names provide a common language that can help to improve consistency, programming speed and efficiency.

To enhance safety, the controllers contain a local disconnect function that allows operators to turn off a motor and perform lockout tagout procedures during maintenance. Several controllers can be grouped under one branch circuit protection device.

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