Online Development’s transaction module for A-B PLCs provides two-tier data exchange

Online Development recently released its xCoupler enterprise transaction module for Allen-Bradley ControlLogix PLCs.


Online Development recently released its xCoupler enterprise transaction module for Allen-Bradley ControlLogix PLCs. The module is the first in a series of xCoupler enterprise transaction modules, which snap into PLC backplanes to provide two-tier data exchange between plant-floor devices connected to the controller, such as sensors, actuators, drives, barcode scanners, robots, RFID controllers, and enterprise servers.

To eliminate PC-based interfaces commonly used to transfer data, xCoupler communicates directly from ControlLogix to enterprise servers in their native language. Popular server communications interfaces currently available for xCoupler include IBM WebSphere MQ and DB2, Oracle, Microsoft SQL, SMTP and TCP/IP. Additional enterprise interfaces are being developed for other server applications.

Configuring modules to map data values from factory-floor controllers to the enterprise is accomplished using the xCoupler module's WorkBench software tool. Its drag-and-drop configurator is said to make programming simple and easy with no programming skills required. It also eliminates the need to develop enterprise drivers to communicate to factory-floor control systems.

In addition to simple and fast operation and setup, these modules eliminate the security, virus and data integrity problems associated with PC-operated multi-tier systems connected to the enterprise. xCoupler's operating system reportedly is virtually immune to security problems and virus attacks. It provides exceptional data accuracy and data timeliness. Plant- floor devices cannot affect the operation of the xCoupler module and the module's operation cannot affect plant-floor devices.

xCoupler is a collaborative venture by Online Development, a fast track developer of factory automation hardware and software, and ILS Technology , a specialized software developer for real-time manufacturing intelligence.

—Jim Montague, news editor, Control Engineering,

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