Leverage Windows 10 IoT Enterprise with Rockwell's CompactLogix 5480 controller

Platform enables third-party applications and connects to the future.

By Dave Perkon, technical editor

This feature is part of our Product Exclusive Series.

The Allen-Bradley CompactLogix 5480 controller from Rockwell Automation is a real-time controller with Windows 10 IoT Enterprise running in parallel to the Logix control engine. “This allows Logix users to leverage Windows and its ability to run third-party applications,” says Greg Gernert, business manager at Rockwell Automation.

The CompactLogix 5480 uses the same re-architected control engine deployed in the ControlLogix 5580 and CompactLogix 5380 controllers. This line of Logix controllers now supports embedded Windows applications, such as analytics, data gathering and predictive computations.

“The CompactLogix 5480 is a continuation of Rockwell Automation’s Connected Enterprise vision of integrating control and information, in this case, literally on the plant floor,” states Gernert. "End users benefit from a controller that reliably controls their process while taking advantage of high-level, Windows-based computational tools. It further simplifies the convergence of IT and OT.”

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The Rockwell Automation Connected Enterprise is enabled by smart assets and technology, such as scalable compute, multi-discipline control, and real-time analytics.

"Our customers want platforms capable of making decisions closer to the point of information,” says Jason Shaw, global product manager for the CompactLogix 5480 controller at Rockwell Automation. “The ability to run third-party applications works well for analytics to not only diagnose problems, but to go to the next level and be predictive and prescriptive before it's a problem on the plant floor. That, combined with scalable computing—from the intelligent sensor up to the server—is valuable to and needed by our customers."

The CompactLogix 5480 controller is designed to play at many levels of an integrated control and information architecture. “The controller is highly flexible and capable of performing diverse functions, such as acting as a cloud gateway by providing the conduit directly into a cloud platform,” says Shaw. “It also offers line-control and data-concentrator functions.”

An application example is that the controller works with machine vision, notes Shaw. "In the past, machine-vision applications often required adding a PC connected to the Logix processor,” he explains. “With the new 5480 processor, that functionality can be consolidated into one piece of hardware."

The CompactLogix 5480 uses the same re-architected control engine deployed in the ControlLogix 5580 and CompactLogix 5380 controllers.

Controller, HMI and other software

The CompactLogix 5480 is programmed using the same Rockwell Software Studio 5000 design environment as the other Logix controllers.

"The Logix real-time control engine is separate from the open operating system (OS),” says Gernert. “The CompactLogix 5480 is not a PC running a software–based PLC/PAC implementation. This further extends the scalability of the Logix platform with a controller that provides control and visualization.”

"Customers will be able to run software applications such as visualization in parallel to the control application on a single piece of hardware," says Shaw. "Consolidating all this functionality in a single box certainly reduces the machine footprint. The processor supports Rockwell Software's Windows-based FactoryTalk software, as well as third-party packages from our partners and others.”

As long as it's a Windows application, users can run it on the Windows open OS. “If something happens to the OS side on the controller, it would not affect the Logix real-time control,” states Gernert. “The highest priority is on the real-time Logix controller. It's a controller first and foremost, delivering the robustness that the Integrated Architecture provides today. But it can scale up to provide additional functionality. It's all about high-performance control and high-level integrated information throughput that third-party applications can manipulate.

“Rockwell Automation continues to make security one of its main pillars to keep systems smart, productive and secure,” says Gernert. “Embedded FactoryTalk Security provides user authentication and authorization. Rockwell Automation’s strategic alliances with Microsoft and Cisco also drive a defense-in-depth security strategy. And while the CompactLogix 5480 controller is designed to be secure, the Windows side will need to be secured properly as any PC on the plant floor would.”

The CompactLogix 5480 controller will be released in early 2017 and will be demonstrated at the Automation Fair event on Nov. 9-10 in the Integrated Architecture booth 1647.