It's been clear for a while now that there are advantages to be gained by installing I/O directly on the machine frame, close to the action, rather than in centrally located cabinets. The key is to have a rugged, properly rated modular family of I/O products to use.
Rockwell Automation says look no further. The company has introduced the Allen-Bradley ArmorPoint line of I/O, a modular, industrially hardened system consisting of adapters, I/O modules, power supplies and backplane bus extenders.
Allen-Bradley ArmorPoint I/O
IP67-rated, these units are waterproof, shock proof
and can be mounted directly on the machine.
All products in the ArmorPoint platform are IP67-rated, which means they are water and corrosion-proof, and can be placed directly on the machine. Adding to the existing portfolio of on-machine products from Rockwell Automation, this new line should save time and money with a compact, durable design that helps reduce wiring and improve control system reliability and flexibility in applications ranging from semiconductor manufacturing equipment to material-handling systems.
"The initial launch of ArmorPoint includes 30 I/O modules and communication adapters for DeviceNet, ControlNet, EtherNet/IP and other open networks--giving industrial OEMs the most comprehensive line of modular, IP67 I/O currently available," states Tom Trombley, Armor I/O product manager. "Plus, ArmorPoint provides small increments of I/O per module, one to eight channels, building on the popular concept of buying just what you need." I/O module types include DC, AC, digital, analog, counters, encoders and serial interfaces.
These modules are operationally identical to the established IP20 Point I/O system. "That's because ArmorPoint I/O features an architecture based on the Point I/O system," says Trombley. "It reuses the Point I/O electronics and plug-and-play configuration methodology, allowing users to leverage their knowledge and reduce training requirements."
ArmorPoint I/O offers users a number of key opportunities:
· Improved mean-time-to-repair because of improved and easier-to-read diagnostics, and faster part change-out capability.
· Improved reliability due to simplified wiring that reduces errors and leads to fewer points of failure.
· Increased productivity because of straightforward engineering and documentation. This should result in faster and easier installation, allowing machines to reach productivity levels more rapidly than before.
· Reduced total costs from a simpler design and easy installation, which lead to less downtime.
The ArmorBlock I/O system in the ArmorPoint family includes a low-cost line of 12 hardened, IP67rated modules. Its simplified design provides a low-end alternative for machinery applications where diagnostics and local control are not needed.
"ArmorBlock is an alternative to ArmorBlock MaXum," says Jerry Penick, distributed I/O marketing manager for Rockwell Automation. "It provides low-end interfacing for sensors and actuators on DeviceNet and other open networks. With the self-configuration circuitry on this block, each product can either report the input status or turn on an output depending on what's attached to the I/O point. There's no additional parameter configuration required."
ArmorBlock combines the adapter, power supply and I/O into an industrially sealed package, suitable for distributed, on-machine applications. "The new I/O package offers the lowest-cost IP67 DeviceNet I/O available," says Trombley. "The line also features an eight-point version that can be configured for any mix of I/O, such as seven inputs and one output, or two inputs and six outputs."
Rockwell says the ArmorBlock IP67 I/O modules are designed to simplify purchasing, installation, maintenance and application expansion. Mounting the I/O on the machine requires just a couple of mounting screws and can be front or side-mounted.
"Combined with the new ArmorPoint I/O modules and communication adapters, the new ArmorBlock modules are the foundation of a growing Armor family," adds Trombley. "We believe the addition of these new products gives users access to the broadest range of support for IP67 I/O and networks available today."
Thirty ArmorPoint I/O modules are available now, as well as ControlNet and four versions of DeviceNet adapters. The EtherNet/IP adapter will be released early this summer. The ArmorPoint IP67 I/O modules are available now.