30 new Rockwell Automation products integrate hardware, software

With more than 30 new products or product features, Rockwell Automation tells about its Integrated Architecture production control and information system. See photos. At Automation Fair, you'll see…

By Control Engineering Staff August 14, 2008

Milwaukee, WI – Announcing “four big clusters of capability” made up of more than 30 new products or product features, Rockwell Automation senior vice president Steve Eisenbrown told Control Engineering about the details of his company’s latest Integrated Architecture production control and information system .
“We’ve been uniquely successful in integrating control and information system functionality to reduce complexity and costs while providing innovative system features that help improve productivity and time to market,” Eisenbrown said.

Language-switching functionality helps OEMs design machines in their native language and sell to customers all over the world, as this image from Rockwell Automation shows.

The new hardware and software, which provides system improvements for end users and machine builders, includes advanced process control functionality, new safety tools, new information integration capabilities, and three new Logix programmable automation controllers (PACs) for small-to-midrange machine builders and end users.

Designed to provide the capabilities of the Integrated Architecture system in a compact package, Allen Bradley CompactLogix L23 PACs can be expanded using Allen-Bradley 1769 Compact I/O.

New advanced process control (APC) features include runtime partial import/export functionality, APC function blocks and controller online change logging. Runtime partial import functionality allows the addition of new programs, routines and add-on instructions, as well as replacement of existing programs and routines, with the least amount of downtime. New APC function blocks allow for long, dead-time processes and provide simpler multivariable control with automatic tuning built in. Regulated industries will benefit from tighter control and evidence of validation for industry certifications with the controller online change-logging feature. Process customers may also be interested in the new Allen Bradley ControlLogix L65 PACs with increased memory capacity.
New safety tools for use with Allen-Bradley GuardLogix PACs offer a suite of 10 specific metal-forming instructions certified by German-based Berufsgenossenschaften (BG) as compliant with leading safety standards. These instructions– associated with clutch/brake, control and safety, valve control, and cam and crankshaft monitoring – improve ease of use, simplify diagnostics and streamline maintenance to canning applications and other metal-forming press-control and safety applications.
The new GuardLogix L63S PAC is also available with this release. Because GuardLogix controllers perform safety and standard functions, the amount of time required for programming, validation, installation, and testing of systems is reduced.
New information capabilities are provided with the introduction of the Rockwell Automation Stratix family of Ethernet switches, co-developed by Rockwell Automation and Cisco Systems and announced at last year’s Automation Fair. “Until now, customers had to go outside Allen-Bradley to get access to that product,” said Eisenbrown. Now Allen-Bradley salespeople and distributors can sell these products.
Other product lines in the portfolio include embedded technology, as well as lines of fixed managed and unmanaged switches, and physical media. “The entire portfolio uses standard, unmodified Ethernet and is optimized for use in EtherNet/IP applications and the Integrated Architecture system, while the Cisco operating system, user environment and feature set is exclusive to the Stratix 8000 line,” said Eisenbrown.
New capabilities for machine builders include the introduction of the Allen Bradley CompactLogix L23 PACs. Designed to provide the capabilities of the Integrated Architecture system in a compact package, the controllers come in a choice of three I/O and communication configurations and can be expanded using Allen-Bradley 1769 Compact I/O. Multilingual project documentation with language switching is also available with this release.
“The new L2 family of processors provides ControlLogix an extension into the smaller machine range,” says Eisenbrown. OEMs want to buy just enough processing power, he explains and, “to a degree, people were forced to use CompactLogix, introduced five years ago. The L2 family brings people down into the architecture at the right price point.”
By design, Rockwell Automation’s Integrated Architecture platform addresses a full range of control and information needs for discrete, process, batch, motion, drive and safety applications, and addresses enterprise performance information needs including quality and compliance, production management and asset management. All products, as well as complimentary offerings from Rockwell Automation Encompass, Solution Provider and other partners, will be on display at the company’s Automation Fair 2008 user conference . This year’s conference is being held in Nashville, TN, on Nov. 18-20.
Eisenbrown said, “People sometimes ask,‘What’s after Logix? The answer is nothing; it is our platform. Our customers don’t want something revolutionary.” Asked for additional evolutionary improvements that can be expected, he said: “We have a long list of things we’d still want to get to. For each [coordinated new product] release, we try to work with suites of products that deliver coordinated value.” 

– Edited by Renee Robbins , senior editor
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