Controller Software Brings Scalability to Smaller Form Factor PACs

Jan. 23, 2012
Rockwell Automation promoted its increased scalability in controllers during last November’s Automation Fair. Now the controller software is catching up with the hardware.

The latest release of Rockwell Software RSLogix 5000 software from Rockwell Automation ( delivers the performance of an integrated control system for manufacturers and machine builders requiring a smaller control system. Most notably, the software brings integrated motion capabilities on the EtherNet/IP network to the Allen-Bradley CompactLogix controller family. Using RSLogix 5000 v20 in combination with scalable, right-sized control system components allows users to scale from 200 to 10,000 I/O points using a single control platform and common user experience.

“Many machine builders and manufacturers must use multiple control platforms to meet their diverse needs,” said Mike Burrows, director, Rockwell Automation. “This creates unnecessary complexity because each platform has a unique design environment, user interface and vendor support model. Forward-looking machine builders and end users need a single-control infrastructure that easily scales to match application requirements.”
RSLogix 5000 v20 software provides a single-development environment for the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture system, including: the recently released CompactLogix 5370 Series of programmable automation controllers (PACs); Allen-Bradley ControlLogix and Allen-Bradley GuardLogix 5570 Series PACs, Allen-Bradley Kinetix 350 servo drive on EtherNet/IP, and Bulletin 1734 POINT Guard I/O Analog Input Module. This wider variety of options provides best-fit alternatives for applications, while new components significantly lower the cost to deploy integrated motion on EtherNet/IP in a greater range of machine applications.  
In addition to new hardware support, RSLogix 5000 v20 software provides an inexpensive integration method using a simple, text-file-based electronic data sheet. This provides more product options for EtherNet/IP users, speeds application development, creates more maintainable applications and eases device replacement. An enhanced open-socket interface provides integration to other types of products. 
Newly added automatic device replacement for the Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 755 series of drives automates field replacement in a running system. Users only need to set the network address and the control system handles all configurations for drive replacement. This reduces downtime associated with shutting down the system or manual error in drive replacement. In addition, the new QuickConnect functionality provides faster start-up, requiring just 100 milliseconds from powering up the QuickConnect device to the time the component is fully operational on EtherNet/IP. This capability is key in applications like robotics that require quick tool change.
RSLogix 5000 v20 adds support for new GuardLogix 5572S and 5573S safety controllers to extend the performance of the CompactLogix 5570 family of controllers into safety-related applications. The recently released Point Guard I/O Analog Input Module provides SIL3 rated analog input for Point I/O. In addition, RSLogix 5000 v20 adds the ability to span multiple networks with unicast I/O for safety-related applications, floating point capabilities and a series of ladder logic instructions approved for use within each safety task. New motion enhancements, meanwhile, increase timing and position accuracy via an external input driven mode for time-based moves, meaning moves are now driven by axis-position information. The addition of interpolated actual position acceleration compensation takes acceleration into account for estimated position values.    
The RSLogix 5000 package is the design and configuration software for the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture system – a production control and information system with fully integrated control, network, visualization and information technologies. The Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture system addresses a full range of control and information needs for discrete, process, batch, motion, drive and safety applications, and addresses enterprise performance information needs – including: quality and compliance, production management and asset management.

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