Rockwell Automation is launching a new range of Allen-Bradley CompactLogix programmable automation controllers (PACs), together with compact Kinetix servo drives, scalable I/O and versatile PanelView Plus 6 visualisation and software tools. This is a major expansion of the company's Integrated Architecture portfolio for small and mid-sized applications. According to Rockwell Automation, the key advantage offered by the new PAC platform is its use of standard unmodified EtherNet/IP, which eliminates the need for additional gateways when connecting to other equipment or a wider network. Redundancy can be built in to control systems thanks to the platform's DLR (Device Level Ring) capability and integrated Ethernet switch on all units.
With high-performance features such as increased processor power, integrated CIP motion over EtherNet/IP, integrated safety, EtherNet/IP connectivity and reusable development tools, Rockwell Automation says it now gives users the ability to standardise on a cost-sensitive and scalable single control platform. Moreover, speaking during the launch presentation, Phil George, the Business Leader for Automation and Software at Rockwell Automation, described the new mid-range platform as "a step change in smaller controllers." Such is the versatility of the new PAC, which is positioned between the smaller Micro800 standalone control platform and the more powerful ControlLogix PAC, that it can be used for a variety of different functions: process control, batch control, discrete production, drives, safety, motion and more. A removable 1GB Secure Digital (SD) card provides for fast program saving, restoring, and cloning when multiple identical machines are being built.
By leveraging the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture in smaller applications, titled Midrange control solutions, machine builders can reduce the costs and complexities of their machines while providing a more competitive and scalable offering. End users, meanwhile, can standardise on one common technology and remove the problems associated with using multiple control platforms.
Integrated architecture advantages
Traditional architectures use separate control infrastructures for many automation applications, such as safety, motion and process control. But Integrated Architecture, with its enhanced and scalable 'Midrange control solutions', will help machine builders to standardise on a single control architecture while leveraging a common application programming and configuration environment – regardless of the types of applications they need to manage or the complexity of the machine they build.
Indeed, machine builders are already finding that this standardisation helps to improve design flexibility, so they can quickly scale the control system up, down or across applications to meet a range of needs in order to adapt to changing market demands.
By bringing the ControlLogix L7 engine into the CompactLogix form factor, Rockwell Automation can provide value-driven machine builders with performance features such as Integrated CIP Motion over EtherNet/IP – for both servo drives and AC drives – at a much lower price-point. This gives users one network, a single development environment and a full, integrated axis portfolio. For many applications, the basic PAC provides all the functionality needed for motion control, without any need to purchase, install or configure/program separate hardware. Up to 16 axes can be controlled without extra hardware, though the platform can be expanded to handle up to 100 axes (and 10,000 I/O).
Using this type of control approach means that machine builders can bypass the lengthy control selection processes, better accommodate changing design parameters or expansion of the end customer's application needs, and dedicate more engineering resources to driving machine innovation. If a machine builder motivates the majority of its customers to standardise on a single control platform, the machine builder also can streamline its support and maintenance efforts.
Because engineers would only need to be trained on one platform, machine builders can also provide more focused support while saving on overall training costs. With more engineers and staff fluent on a given control architecture, the consistency and quality of customer support also improves. Finally, standardising on a single control platform enables a machine builder to stock fewer parts while improving overall part availability.
There are many new products in this expanded portfolio, built on the comprehensive Integrated Architecture offering from Rockwell Automation. These products offer the same flexibility, reduced development time and ease-of-use as larger-scale systems within Integrated Architecture.
CompactLogix PAC platforms
At the heart of the enhanced solution are three new Allen-Bradley CompactLogix Programmable Automation Controller (PAC) platforms, the L1, L2 and L3, which use the same configuration, networking and visualisation environment as ControlLogix-based systems.
The L1 comes in three models, the L16ER, the L18ER and the L18ERM. The L1 PACs offer users a variety of memory, expansion and remote-device capabilities so they can exactly match their automation needs with a highly capable controller; the ERM variant also offers the ability to control two axes of CIP motion over EtherNet/IP.
The L2 range also comprises three models, the L24ER-QB1B, L24ER-QBFC1B and L27ERM-QBFC1B. These feature larger memory than the L1 range, built-in speciality I/O, greater remote device capabilities and, in the case of the L27ERM, the ability to control up to four axes of CIP Motion over EtherNet/IP.
Finally, the L3 range, which comprises six models, the L30ER, L30ERM, L30ER-NSE, L33ER, L33ERM and L36ERM, offers even more memory, greater I/O module capabilities, increased remote device handling and three models that offer the ability to control four, eight and 16 axes of CIP Motion over EtherNet/IP.
A No Stored Energy (NSE) version of the CompactLogix 5370 L3 can be transported safely through areas with potentially explosive atmospheres because these units have less than 200uJ of residual energy stored in each component when powered down.
RSLogix 5000 Design and Configuration Software provides the single-development environment for the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture system, including the recently enhanced midrange portfolio. This wider variety of options provides best-fit alternatives for applications, while new components significantly lower the cost to deploy an automation solution.
Complementing the new PAC range and RSLogix 5000 v20 is a suite of additional devices that incorporate the same scalability and interconnectivity, while also leveraging the single operating environment. The new Allen-Bradley Kinetix 350 Servo Drive with EtherNet/IP connectivity simplifies the network architecture by eliminating the need for a separate motion network, providing high-performance, cost-effective servo motion for low-axis machines. The PanelView Plus 6 and PanelView Plus Compact human-machine interfaces (HMIs) are cost-effective and provide advanced integration with Logix-based controllers.
Stratix Ethernet switches are powered by Cisco technology and provide high-performance switching capability to help simplify integration into the existing infrastructure. The technology also provides tight integration with Allen-Bradley Logix controllers and Integrated Architecture tools. This enables machine builders to easily integrate their machines into their customers' manufacturing facilities and offer enhanced remote support and management.
ArmorBlock Dual-Port EtherNet/IP QuickConnect helps to improve the flexibility and efficiency of manufacturing processes. Quick Connect is an added functionality of EtherNet/IP that allows for quick connection between the controller and ArmorBlock module. Finally, from a product point of view, The Allen-Bradley AENTR Ethernet Adapter helps to reduce the time to migrate SLC programmable controllers to CompactLogix PACs by reusing existing I/O and field wiring. Migration Tools also include toolkits, which will help to easily convert existing systems and/or migrate older platforms to CompactLogix, while maintaining the existing field wiring and physical footprint of the control cabinet.
As well as a fully featured range of automation products, Rockwell Automation also offers a number of mechatronic products and tools. Its Mechatronics design portfolio comprises Motion Analyzer 6.0 software, RDD-Series direct-drive rotary servo motors, LDC-Series and LDL-Series linear servo motors, MP-Series and TL-Series electric cylinders, linear thrusters and MP-Series integrated linear stages. The Rockwell Automation mechatronics portfolio helps engineers better collaborate and reduce development time by providing a common forum where design input from the mechanical, controls, software and electrical engineers can be more easily gathered.
Completing the midrange offering is a range of tools and services that will help users exploit the full potential of their midrange installation. Design Tools include the Drives and Motion Accelerator Toolkit (DMAT), which, when used in combination with the Allen-Bradley Kinetix 350, complements a wide range of design tools, including Accelerator Toolkits, Product Selection Toolbox and Sample Code Library.
Finally, Rockwell Automation's global Solutions and Services division offers support options so users can select the service level that best matches their corporate goals, internal technical capabilities and budgets. Rockwell Automation claims to provide one of the most comprehensive service portfolios in the industry, with capabilities that can be delivered globally qualifying Rockwell Automation to help maximise its customers' investments.
With performance, scalability, integrated motion and cost-sensitivity being the primary drivers of this expanded offering, users now have much greater flexibility to cater for future demands. Thanks to the core 'engine' at the heart of the new CompactLogix controllers being the same as the larger-application Allen-Bradley ControlLogix PACs, users can migrate automation and motion systems upwards, either from a laboratory-scale test machine or from a small to larger-capacity production line.
Follow the link for more information about the new Allen-Bradley CompactLogix PAC.