Rockwell Introduces Raft of New Products at Automation Fair

Nov. 14, 2012
Process virtualization, energy intelligence, midrange control and new design studio lead new product launches at the 21st annual event Nov. 5-8 in Philadelphia.

With its latest release, Rockwell Automation ( extends the scalability of its PlantPAx system enabling users to integrate process control, power, information and safety into one infrastructure.

“Our goal is to provide the most highly distributed, cost-effective and performance-driven system available on the market,” said John Genovesi, vice president, Information Solutions and Process Business, Rockwell Automation. “This release is another major step toward this goal, as our investment in the PlantPAx system eases adoption of virtualization technologies in an end user’s private cloud infrastructure, offers additional system architecture options, simplifies and streamlines plant-operator workflows, and drives engineering efficiency.”

The company launched what it calls the industry’s first production-grade virtual image templates so users can quickly deploy preinstalled system servers, operator workstations and engineering workstations on their virtualization infrastructure. By virtualizing the automation system, users gain several advantages, including significantly simpler system backup and restoration, reduced risk associated with patches and upgrades, optimized computing resources, and reduced management and administration costs.

Also added were new sizing tools and expanded server capacity. The number of operator workstations supported per system has increased to 50. For operator effectiveness, PlantPAx includes a new sequencer tool, an improved state model for alarm systems, simpler faceplates for common control objects, and new trending tools for improved navigation.

Energy intelligence

The company also announced new energy intelligence capabilities in software applications. The new tools--the FactoryTalk VantagePoint Energy bundle, FactoryTalk EnergyMetrix software, and Allen-Bradley IntelliCENTER Energy software--help plant and operations managers view resource consumption in relation to specific units, lines and machines, so they can make more informed energy decisions.

Design environment

Rockwell Software Studio 5000 unified engineering and design environment, releasing later this month, provides a framework for engineering collaboration. It sets the foundation for design tools that allow engineers to enter configuration and programming information only once, and then leverage it across their entire control system architecture from design to operation to maintenance.

“The Studio 5000 environment will bring the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture system to the next level, building on the superior usability of Rockwell Software RSLogix 5000 software, further improving the user experience, and the design and productivity of automation systems,” said Kevin Zaba, vice president and general manager, Control and Visualization Business, Rockwell Automation. “Optimally integrated hardware and software means users can define data once and easily use it across the Integrated Architecture system. The data and tag structures are natively recognized and automatically picked up by the other system components, improving development efficiency and reducing programming errors. A unified engineering and design environment also communicates and performs at higher speeds. For customers, the result is improved productivity, shorter design cycles and a faster time-to-market.”

The debut of Studio 5000 software includes the Logix Designer application for programming and configuration of Allen-Bradley ControlLogix 5570 and CompactLogix 5370 programmable automation controllers. Later versions will provide applications for other engineering tasks, such as HMI development, library management for reusable components, information integration and more.

Midrange systems

The expanded Midrange system portfolio of scalable Allen‑Bradley servo drives, variable frequency drives, industrial Ethernet switches, and unified engineering and design features the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix and CompactLogix programmable automation controller families.

“This year’s expanded Midrange system offering helps equipment builders and end users standardize on a single platform and address critical business issues, such as global standards, scalable hardware, collaboration and safety,” says John Pritchard, market development manager, Integrated Architecture, Rockwell Automation. “Forward-looking OEMs and end users can now leverage the same high-performance equipment as larger-scale systems, providing scalable integrated safety and motion options for a wider range of machines – all in the same controller, with a smaller price point.”

The expanded Rockwell Automation Midrange Integrated Architecture system portfolio features the following:

  • Rockwell Software Studio 5000 unified engineering and design environment
  • Allen-Bradley Kinetix 5500 Servo Drive and VPL Servo Motor on EtherNet/IP
  • Allen-Bradley Stratix 5700 Layer 2 Managed Industrial Ethernet Switch
  • Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 525 AC Drive

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