Automation unveiled an aggressive program to improve the performance and
compactness of its Integrated Automation solutions at the recent Automation
Fair in Orlando. The result is a product roadmap, with more than 50 new
products to be released in the next 12 months, that strengthens Rockwell's
offerings with a focus on improving plant-wide efficiency and machine builder
"People ask us, 'What comes after Logix?' which
is the core of our integrated architecture. The answer is that, 'Logix comes
after Logix,' and we continue to add new capabilities," says Michael Burrows, market
development director at Rockwell Automation. "We're at a threshold where we are
reinvesting and growing every core aspect of the architecture."
"What we are continuing to do is to build out
the Logix controllers to make them faster, and scale them to make them smaller.
As the controllers become smaller, we are building more performance and
capacity into the newer versions of Logix," he says. "We are adding motion on
Ethernet/IP and those types of advanced features to build out the platform
while still maintaining the customer's work, expertise and knowledge."
The thrust of new product introductions is concentrated
on the concept of manufacturing convergence driven by two primary value
propositions. The first is plant-wide optimization primarily targeting
Rockwell's end user and large global customers. The second area is the
increasingly growing importance of machine builder performance, and new
technologies that will help the machine builders differentiate themselves into
"These two unique focuses are influencing our
technology roadmap from different angles but we end up with one technology set
because of it," says Burrows. "We are re-investing in our technology with a
series of new products, but the focus is on increasing the capabilities of the
The core of Rockwell's integrated
architecture is multi-disciplined control, driven by the Logix engine. The
basic concept is one control engine that provides process, safety, discrete and
motion control all in one platform. Burrows says that Rockwell is still the
only automation company executing on a vision that includes fully integrated
safety, motion and process in one control platform and one program.
Below is a summary of developments to expect
in the next 12 months with Rockwell Automation's Integrated Architecture.
the principal focus of new networking solutions, providing an ability to manage
discrete, process, safety, motion and drive applications on a single network.
ODVA recently extended the EtherNet/IP specifications to include CIP Motion
technology for delivering the speed, sophistication and precision demanded by
motion control applications.
to Integrated Motion on EtherNet/IP portfolio include new variable
frequency and servo drive solutions with Integrated Motion on EtherNet/IP
technology: the Allen-Bradley Kinetix 6500 servo drive and enhanced
Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 755 ac drive.
visualization solutions give users access to a common
environment and real-time information needed to make better business decisions.
A specific example is the new Allen-Bradley PanelView Plus 6 human-machine
interface that offers 512 Mbyte of RAM/Flash memory and Windows CE 6.0
operating system, which removes the run-time memory limits for significantly
faster refresh rates and more on-device storage.
software for delivering real-time information. Enhancements to the
FactoryTalk View Machine Edition support the PanelView Plus 6 launch. In
addition, Site Edition now includes redundancy for alarms and events to improve
functionality for high availability needs, and to provide users with more
immediate access to real-time and stored data.
focus on scalability and modularity. Rockwell plans to expand
its scaled offerings by enhancing the capabilities of its CompactLogix
controllers, Kinetix servo drives and its visualization family.
availability expansion includes the ControlLogix L7 family of
controllers which offers significant performance improvements and provides
faster cross-loading for redundant systems. Fault-tolerant I/O provides SIL
2-rated redundant input and output modules including analog outputs that
support redundant Ethernet adapters, with no additional programming required.
controllers offer improved performance. The new ControlLogix 5573
and 5575 controllers have enhanced memory and processing capabilities.
Stratix switches help effectively manage real-time control
and information flow. Like the Allen-Bradley Stratix 8000 switch, the new 8300
switch uses the Cisco Catalyst operating system, feature set and user interface.
In addition to external switches, Rockwell is designing products with embedded
Ethernet switch technology using a device-level ring topology to produce a
single, fault-tolerant network.
tools in the migration solutions program help reduce many of the
costs, risks and complexities involved with PLC, visualization and software
migration projects including migrate from Allen-Bradley PLC-5 and SLC 500
controllers, PanelView Standard and RSView32.
mechatronics solution offers better information integration.
Updated Motion Analyzer 5.0 software, used by machine builders to help select
the best drive-motor-actuator combination for their application, now provides
an enhanced interface with SolidWorks 3D CAD software.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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