ABCO Automation integrates NI's PACs with Rockwell's PLCs

Austin, TX—ABCO Automation reports that it’s using programmable automation controllers (PACs) from National Instruments (NI) to seamlessly integrate testing and automation solutions into existing PLCs.



Austin, TX— ABCO Automation reports that it’s using programmable automation controllers (PACs) from National Instruments (NI) to seamlessly integrate testing and automation solutions into existing PLCs. By using NI’s LabView graphical development environment running on an embedded PXI controller, ABCO has created a PAC solution for its automotive wheel speed sensor assemblies and integrated the solution with existing Allen-Bradley PLCs from Rockwell Automation via an RSLinx OPC server for increased throughput of one part every six seconds.


Increasing demand for greater productivity is driving the need for more automation, and so many companies are augmenting traditional PLC-based assembly lines with more cost-effective, PC-based technologies. ABCO says the speed, accuracy, and industrial communication capabilities of NI’s PAC platform made it the ideal solution for ABCO to meet its application requirements, including interoperability with existing factory control systems.


'National Instruments’ OPC capabilities and interoperability with PLCs were key factors in the success of this project. The ease with which NI PAC hardware can speak to the Allen-Bradley hardware saved me valuable programming and integration time on this delivery-critical job,' says Arif Bustani, ABCO’s electrical engineer. 'In the end, it directly benefits our customers when we improve performance and reduce costs.'


ABCO used an NI PXI-1042 chassis and an NI PXI-8186 controller along with several NI PXI-6070E data acquisition (DAQ) devices to develop a high-speed assembly line that acquires and analyzes waveform data and then communicates with the existing PLC-based control system. Using NI LabView DataSocket technology and RSLinx from Allen-Bradley, ABCO integrated the NI PAC hardware with traditional PLCs for seamless control and data monitoring. The PAC system acquires waveforms from an encoder connected to a tone wheel operating at a specific RPM and analyzes the data to determine pass and fail grades. Acceptable parts are sent to packaging while rejected parts are isolated.


'The automotive sensor test solution from ABCO is an example of how traditional PLC-based automation can be combined with powerful, cost-effective PC-based automation using PACs and the open, single development environment of NI LabView,' says Robert Jackson, NI’s PXI product manager. 'The NI PAC industrial platform combines the best features of the PC, such as flexibility, processing power and customizable software, with the reliability and ruggedness of the PLC.' For more information about the ABCO’s application, visit .


Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor


ABCO Automation is a CISA member as of 2/26/2015

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