Control system builder halves programming costs

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Engauge Controls has implemented Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture and reduced programming costs by 50 per cent.

Engauge Controls, a leading designer and builder of control systems for robotic gantries, has implemented Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture on its latest gantry units. The Allen-Bradley ControlLogix controllers with integrated motion control and FactoryTalk View human-machine interface (HMI) software help OEMs simplify programming and configuration, reduce development costs and speed system installation.

"The Allen-Bradley controls have helped increase our design speed and improve our profitability," says James Britnell, president, Engauge Controls. "More importantly, because we can standardise on a design that we know works, we can actually promote it to our customers with complete confidence of the financial returns it will provide to us, as well as to them."

The previous control platform used on these systems consisted of PC-based computer numeric control (CNC) running proprietary software. The sequential-based logic, inherent in this type of system, offered little flexibility in the execution of required tasks, and the customised programming was overly complex for the control functions for which the systems are designed.

With the ControlLogix controllers, Engauge Controls is able to consolidate two programming packages, helping it to reduce its programming time by 50 per cent, while substantially cutting its time to market.

"With all motion parameters now stored in the ControlLogix controller, configuration information is automatically communicated to the drives at start-up," Britnell says. "When operators restart the system, the machine automatically picks up right where it left off, resulting in significant time savings for the end user."

The improved monitoring and diagnostic capabilities are critical in helping users reduce downtime and maintenance costs, and standardising on Allen-Bradley products minimises the technology learning curve. Access to spare parts is also easier because of the ability to stock standard components that are widely available.

Engauge's new gantry units also feature FactoryTalk View Machine Edition HMI software, and SERCOS interface fibre-optic communication. System programming is accomplished using Rockwell Software RSLogix 5000 software.

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