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Midrange control solutions offer new performance and functionality at the right price

26 April 2012

Significantly enhanced small- and medium-sized machine control solutions from Rockwell Automation offer levels of performance and functionality that are normally only found in higher-end systems.

25th April 2012 – Rockwell Automation has significantly expanded its Integrated Architecture portfolio for smaller applications, with a series of scalable Allen-Bradley CompactLogix programmable automation controllers (PACs), compact Kinetix servo drives, scalable I/O and versatile PanelView Plus 6 visualisation and software tools.

With high-performance features such as increased processor power, integrated CIP motion over EtherNet/IP, integrated safety, EtherNet/IP connectivity and re-usable development tools, Rockwell Automation now gives users the ability to standardise on a cost sensitive and scalable single control platform.

By leveraging the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture in smaller applications, titled ‘Midrange control solutions’, machine builders can reduce the costs and complexities of their machines while providing a more competitive and scalable offering. End users, meanwhile, can standardise on one common technology; reducing the risk of losing critical engineering knowledge for supporting control platforms when personnel changes occur. Traditional architectures have used separate control infrastructures for many automation applications, such as safety, motion and process control.

Integrated Architecture with its enhanced and scalable ‘Midrange control solutions’ will help machine builders to standardise on a single control architecture while leveraging a common application programming and configuration environment – regardless of the types of applications they need to manage or the complexity of the machine they build.  
Indeed, many leading machine builders are finding that this standardisation helps improve design flexibility; allowing them to quickly scale the control system up, down or across applications to meet a range of needs in order to adapt to changing market demands.

By bringing the ControlLogix L7 engine into the CompactLogix form factor, Rockwell Automation can provide value-driven machine builders with performance features such as Integrated CIP Motion over EtherNet/IP – for both servo drives and AC drives – at a much lower price-point. This gives users one network, a single development environment and a full, integrated axis portfolio.

The benefits of this type of control approach are endless. Machine builders can bypass the lengthy control selection processes, better accommodate changing design parameters or expansion of the end customer’s application needs, and dedicate more engineering resources to drive machine innovation. If a machine builder motivates the majority of its customers to standardise on a single control platform, the machine builder also can streamline its support and maintenance efforts.

Because engineers would only need to be trained on one platform, the machine builder can also provide more focused support while saving on overall training costs. With more engineers and staff fluent on a given control architecture, the consistency and quality of customer support also improves. Finally, standardising on a single control platform allows a machine builder to stock fewer parts while improving overall part availability.

There are many new products in this expanded portfolio, which build on the comprehensive Integrated Architecture offering from Rockwell Automation. These products offer the same flexibility, reduced development time and ease-of-use as larger-scale systems within Integrated Architecture.

At the heart of the enhanced solution are three new Allen-Bradley CompactLogix Programmable Automation Controller (PAC) platforms, the L1, L2 and L3, which use the same configuration, networking and visualisation environment as ControlLogix-based systems.

The L1 comes in three models, the L16ER, the L18ER and the L18ERM. The L1 PACs offer the user a variety of memory, expansion and remote-device capabilities so users can exactly match their automation needs with a highly capable controller; while the ERM variant also offers the ability to control two axes of CIP motion over EtherNet/IP.

The L2 range also comprises three models, L24ER-QB1B, L24ER-QBFC1B and L27ERM-QBFC1B. They feature larger memory than the L1 range, built-in speciality I/O, greater remote device capabilities and, in the case of the L27ERM, the ability to control up to four axes of CIP Motion over EtherNet/IP.

Finally, the L3 range, which comprises six models, L30ER, L30ERM, L30ER-NSE, L33ER, L33ERM and L36ERM, expands the portfolio further, by offering even larger memory than the L2 range, greater I/O module capabilities, increased remote device handling and three models that offer the ability to control 4, 8 and 16 axes of CIP Motion over EtherNet/IP.

RSLogix 5000 Design and Configuration Software is what provides the single-development environment for the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture system, including the recently enhanced midrange portfolio. This wider variety of options provides best-fit alternatives for applications, while new components significantly lower the cost to deploy an automation solution.

Complementing the new PAC range and RSLogix 5000 is a suite of additional devices that incorporate the same scalability and interconnectivity, while also leveraging the single operating environment. The new Allen-Bradley Kinetix 350 Servo Drive with EtherNet/IP connectivity simplifies the network architecture by eliminating the need for a separate motion network, providing a high performance, cost-effective solution for low-axis machines. PanelView Plus 6 and PanelView Plus Compact Human Machine Interface (HMI) provide cost-effective operator interfaces with advanced integration with Logix-based controllers.

Stratix switches in the portfolio are powered by Cisco technology and provide high-performance switching capability to help simplify integration into your infrastructure. The technology also provides tight integration with Allen-Bradley Logix controllers and Integrated Architecture tools familiar to automation professionals. This allows machine builders to easily integrate their machines into their customers manufacturing facilities and offer enhanced remote support and management.

ArmorBlock Dual Port EtherNet/IP QuickConnect will help to improve the flexibility and efficiency of manufacturing processes. Quick Connect is an added functionality of EtherNet/IP that allows for quick connection between the controller and ArmorBlock module. Finally, from a product point of view, The Allen-Bradley AENTR Ethernet Adapter helps to reduce the time to migrate SLC programmable controllers to CompactLogix PACs by reusing existing I/O and field wiring. Migration Tools also include toolkits, which will help to easily convert existing solutions and/or migrate older platforms to CompactLogix, while maintaining the existing field wiring and physical footprint of the control cabinet.

As well as a fully featured range of automation products, Rockwell Automation also offers a number of mechatronic products and tools. Its Mechatronics design portfolio comprises Motion Analyzer 6.0 software, RDD-Series direct drive rotary servo motors, LDC-Series and LDL-Series linear servo motors, MP-Series and TL-Series electric cylinders, linear thrusters and MP-Series integrated linear stages. The Rockwell Automation mechatronics portfolio helps engineers better collaborate and reduce development time by providing a common forum where design input from the mechanical, controls, software and electrical engineers can be more easily gathered.

Completing the midrange offering is a range of tools and services which will help users exploit the full potential of their midrange installation. Design Tools include the Drives and Motion Accelerator Toolkit (DMAT), which when used in combination with the Allen-Bradley Kinetix 350 complements a wide range of design tools, including Accelerator Toolkits, Product Selection Toolbox and Sample Code Library.

Finally, its global Solutions and Services division offers support options that will allow users to select the service level that best matches their corporate goals, internal technical capabilities and budgets. Rockwell Automation provides one of the most comprehensive service portfolios in the industry with capabilities that can be delivered globally qualifying Rockwell Automation to help maximise its customers’ investments.

With performance, scalability, integrated motion and cost sensitivity being the primary drivers of this expanded offering, users now have much greater flexibility to cater for future demands. Thanks to the core 'engine' at the heart of the new CompactLogix controllers being the same as the larger-application Allen-Bradley ControlLogix PACs, users can migrate automation and motion solutions upwards, either from a laboratory scale test machine or from a smaller to larger capacity production line. The possibilities really are endless.

For further information please contact:

Rockwell Automation Ltd
, Pitfield, Kiln Farm, MILTON KEYNES, MK11 3DR Tel 0870 242 5004 www.rockwellautomation.co.uk
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