EC: Virtual Image Templates

Process Control systems: Virtual image templates from Rockwell Automation help users simplify and leverage virtualization, resulting in reduced validation and engineering costs, and extended product life cycles. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice finalist.

By Control Engineering November 12, 2012

Rockwell Automation has launched virtual image templates for the PlantPAx process automation system, including a system server, operator workstation and engineering workstation. These preconfigured, drop-in templates, delivered as images on a USB hard drive, help reduce validation costs and initial engineering time. Installing a complete process automation system traditionally takes several days. A virtual image of each component, however, can be deployed in two to three hours. Once deployed, the components can be duplicated in minutes. Whether operating one plant or many, virtual image templates significantly simplify the deployment and management of process control systems. Users also benefit from immediate access to simplified upgrade and patch management typical within a virtualized architecture. The templates operate in an open virtual-format file, officially supported by VMWare vSphere.

The three core elements are:

1. Process Automation System Server (PASS): Provides central name resolution and look-up services across multiple computers for central administration of data throughout the PlantPAx process automation system. The PASS also provides data, HMI, and alarm-server capability.

2. Operator Workstation: Consists of the software needed for visualizing and controlling the process.

3. Engineering Workstation: Includes all the necessary software to fully configure the control and visualization components of the PlantPAx process automation system.

Rockwell Automation