Opto 22, developer and manufacturer of the award-winning SNAP PAC System(tm) family of programmable automation controllers, I/O, and accessories, has released new firmware version 8.3 for its SNAP-PAC-EB1 and -EB2 Ethernet I/O featuring support for Rockwell Automation/Allen-Bradley Ethernet-based control systems. This free firmware upgrade adds support for the industry-standard EtherNet/IP(tm) communications protocol, giving automation engineers new remote I/O options for their ControlLogix and CompactLogix control systems. SNAP I/O now integrates into these Logix platforms natively, thereby maintaining a homogeneous environment where new I/O implementations are simple, compatibility is guaranteed, and no additional programming and associated software costs are required.
With a new ability to include SNAP I/O in their Allen-Bradley systems, automation engineers can now build more powerful, lower-cost control systems with distributed intelligence and increased functionality not typically found in these architectures. Because SNAP I/O systems can perform a variety of advanced control functions independent of a central programmable controller, engineers can modify or expand their systems to meet today's demanding automation requirements quickly and easily and without additional logic programming.
Control functions such as PID loop control, high-speed counting and latching, quadrature counting, pulsing, thermocouple linearization, analog ramping, scaling, engineering unit conversion, temperature conversion, and time-proportional output can be distributed and performed at the I/O level. This effectively frees programmable logic controllers (PLCs) from these and other time-consuming, time-critical, or processor-intensive tasks-improving performance and keeping scan rates from being adversely affected.
Systems integrators, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and machine builders will likely find similar value in SNAP I/O's EtherNet/IP support. These types of customers can now embed Opto 22's SNAP I/O-renowned throughout the automation industry for its reliability-into their EtherNet/IP-based machines and systems, free from concerns about interoperability or communication failures within that machine or across any larger Allen-Bradley architecture the machine might be deployed in.
Added support for the EtherNet/IP protocol is the latest example of Opto 22's long history of providing a means to establish connectivity to and communicate with systems from leading vendors in the industrial automation industry as well as the information technology industry. This history includes support for industrial Ethernet communications protocols, such as Modbus/TCP, as well as recognized IT protocols like SNMP, SMTP, and FTP.
"We have consistently taken a non-proprietary approach to developing our products," states Mark Engman, Opto 22 President and CEO. "This new version gives automation engineers more I/O options and functionality when seeking to build, modify, or expand their Allen-Bradley systems using SNAP I/O-without worrying about hardware communication, compatibility issues, or programming that can be time-consuming, arduous, and expensive."