Process control, safety integration as needed: PlantPAx from Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation PlantPAx process control system new capabilities integrate ICS Triplex SIL 3 fault-tolerant technology and AADvance process safety systems.


For manufacturers seeking better integration of process control and process safety applications, the Rockwell Automation PlantPAx Process Automation System has new capabilities, including integration of ICS Triplex Trusted SIL 3 triple modular redundant (TMR) technology and the scalable AADvance process safety systems. These capabilities help users avoid unplanned incidents and hazards that pose risk to personnel, assets and the environment, the company says.

"Choose the desired level of integration while using technology that matches the SIL level and fault tolerances needed."

Rockwell Automation Process Safety-Specialty Chemicals


The new integration allows process control and process safety systems to communicate with each other and share important data, Rockwell Automation says, such as diagnostic information, system status, alarms, events and other critical information. This is designed to help improve productivity, minimize troubleshooting time and provides faster recovery from interruptions without compromising safety or security, the company says.

Integrate process control, safety to match the SIL needed

"The comprehensive PlantPAx solution is the result of significant investments Rockwell Automation has made in process technologies," said Art Pietrzyk, critical process control and safety segment manager, Rockwell Automation. "This most recent expansion gives users more efficient choices to meet their safety requirements. They can choose the level of integration they want while using technology that precisely matches the SIL level and fault tolerances they need." This unique scalability means customers can choose between a range of affordable Rockwell Automation options that meet application requirements.

ICS Triplex Trusted system is an original TMR SIL 3-certified platform that provides a high level of availability and fault tolerance, the company says, noting that the system has been field proven for years in process safety. Modular design of the AADvance system is a cost-effective solution for critical control applications requiring fewer I/O connections and can be used for simplex, duplex and triplex functions with SIL 1, 2 or 3 requirements.

Integration between ICS Triplex safety platforms (SIS, safety instrumented systems) and the PlantPAx process control system (BPCS, basic process control system) is ideal for petroleum, heavy chemical and other applications that require separation between process safety and process control, but also want to leverage the benefits of a single network, architecture and information platform.

Common data infrastructure

The common data infrastructure allows the sharing of alarms and data over a single EtherNet/IP network while allowing for a common HMI to display the events and information across the enterprise. Based on the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP), EtherNet/IP communicates with other CIP-based networks to provide a seamless data path from the plant floor to the IT level. With tighter integration on a common open network, EtherNet/IP helps reduce the typical network installation and support costs by up to 50%. In addition to reduced costs, the seamless CIP integration helps reduce the engineering time and effort it takes to integrate BPCS and SIS by up to two days when compared to traditional methods, such as OPC, Rockwell Automation says.

With the PlantPAx system software, customers have the additional benefit of device management for sensors, instruments, drives, valves and other assets, which can be configured in minutes. For those customers who desire more common solutions, Rockwell Automation also introduced new fault-tolerant I/O and configurable AOIs (add-on instructions) for its SIL 2 TÜV-certified Allen Bradley ControlLogix programmable automation controller (PAC). The configurable easy-to-use AOIs reduce application logic for both fail-safe and fault-tolerant SIL 2 application systems, the company says.

Pre-integration helps

"The level of integration between ICS Triplex platforms and the PlantPAx system alleviates the custom integration by the users and presents operational value for both control and visibility across systems," said Larry O'Brien, research director, ARC Research. "The approach allows the systems to be‘integrated' while maintaining ‘separation' - both are important to safety and process control customers. The possibility of common cause failure is also reduced."

Rockwell Automation provides more information on the process safety elements of the PlantPAx system .

Also read, " Process automation roadmap from Rockwell includes PlantPAx ."

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering editor in chief,

Read more on Control Engineering system integration .

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