Rockwell Automation to focus on scale and modularisation

03 December 2010

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Rockwell Automation to focus on scale and modularisationRockwell Automation says it is focusing on scale and modularisation of its Integrated Architecture system to help deliver multidisciplined control and high performance on 'right-sized' systems. The company recently introduced three programmable automation controllers (PACs) based on the Allen-Bradley CompactLogix form factor, including the Allen-Bradley Compact GuardLogix, and CompactLogix L2 and CompactLogix L4 controllers. In 2011, Rockwell Automation will continue its focus on scale by delivering the Allen-Bradley CompactLogix L1 and additions to the L3 PAC family, along with an expanded suite of complementary products suited to applications with less than 200 I/O points and up to 16 axes of motion. This expanded suite can all be configured in the common design environment of Rockwell Software RSLogix 5000. Using the PanelView Plus 6 or the PanelView Plus Compact operator interface fulfils the need for visualisation and information in mid-range machine applications.

The CompactLogix PAC brings the benefits of the Rockwell Automation Logix Control Platform — common configuration, networking and visualisation environment — to smaller, machine-level control applications. Combined with Compact I/O, the CompactLogix platform is designed for machine builders looking for high-performance, multidisciplined control in a small footprint. Mike Burrows, Integrated Architecture, Rockwell Automation, states: "OEMs and end users are building today's contemporary machines with an eye toward improving safety, achieving higher levels of performance and better integration of the machine with the rest of the manufacturing operation. Those who do this well will truly differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Achieving these goals requires a scalable, modular control system that has the safety, throughput and information management capabilities to match the machine design."

Rockwell Automation Logix-based control systems are suitable for the OEM and end users looking to meet tomorrow's machine requirements cost-effectively. Through features such as integrated safety and standard control, information-enabled software, integrated motion control on the EtherNet/IP network and reusable development tools, Rockwell Automation helps deliver a machine's on-time cost-effectively and beyond customer expectations.

Reduced total cost of ownership

Craig Resnick, research director, ARC Advisory Group, comments: "With its new scaled offerings, Rockwell Automation leverages the company's core IA strength in multidisciplined control. Using the combination of control, networking, visualisation and information technologies, the Logix Control Platform addresses a full range of production applications, integrating discrete, motion, process, batch and safety applications, while providing information integration with the rest of the site. Rockwell Automation's continued focus on scale and modularisation will help OEMs and midrange applications leverage the benefits of a single multidiscipline control platform, including reduced total cost of ownership."

Rockwell Automation's portfolio expansion in 2011 for midrange applications will include the PanelView Plus 6 human-machine interface (HMI), offering users increased memory, a factory default option for significantly faster refresh rates, and the ability to store more data and machine instructions directly on the HMI.

The portfolio will also feature two new controllers: the CompactLogix L1 controller is designed for standalone applications requiring up to two axes of motion, while the enhanced CompactLogix L3 controller handles up to 16 axes of motion using an embedded dual EtherNet/IP port. Also on EtherNet/IP, the new Kinetix 350 servo drive will provide cost-efficient integrated motion control capabilities, and is suitable for packaging, material handling and assembly machines.

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