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Micro-PLCs optimise smart machine design and programming

04 May, 2022

Rockwell Automation has announced a pair of micro-PLCs that, it claims, will allow machine-builders to design and program machines more efficiently. As well as releasing the Allen-Bradley Micro850 and Micro870 2080-Lx0E controllers, Rockwell has also updated its Connected Components Workbench software which, it says, will simplify the development of machines using the microcontrollers and cut development times by boosting upload data transfer rates by 23%, and download rates by 40%

The PLCs are designed for large standalone machine control applications that require flexible communications and I/O capabilities. They offer PTO (pulse train output) motion, embedded Ethernet ports and expansion I/O modules. The Micro850 controllers provide up to 192 I/O points, while the Micro870 PLCs provide up to 304 I/O points.

The controllers support the DNP3 protocol – a set of open standard communication protocols for precise data reporting in Scada and remote monitoring applications. The controllers also have expanded DF1 support, two-way simultaneous and two-way alternate communications, to improve CIP serial communications through full- and half-duplex and radio modem modes.

These connectivity capabilities will address more application requirements, especially in the water/wastewater industry, Rockwell says. The extended protocol support also reduces the risks of converting from MicroLogix to Micro800 controls when modernising installations. The company adds that users will be able to boost productivity with the improved controller execution and I/O response performance, speeding up the design process for faster project development.

The improved capabilities of version 20.01 of the Connected Components Workbench software make configuration easier and address more water/wastewater applications with expanded DNP3 and DF1 support, including half-duplex and radio modem modes. The software can also improve system security through new password set/verify and user project encryption/decryption functions in the plug-in memory module.

Simplifying machine design: Rockwell’s Micro850 (top) and Micro870 PLCs

The software also promises a more secure programming environment with enhanced encryption between it and the new controllers, and increased protocol authentication with Secure Authentication version 5 (Sav5) in DNP3 communication.

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