OT + IT Needs Smart Technology

To support Rockwell Automation's theme of The Connected Enterprise, the company's Automation Fair included an Integrated Architecture booth that showcased several Rockwell products that help companies integrate control (OT) and information (IT) across the enterprise. A connected enterprise is said to boost the productivity and profitability of plants, while mitigating risk. Products showcased included smart devices that use standard EtherNet/IP networking technology, all the way from the machine control on up to the enterprise level; the Logix series of controllers, which provide safety, process and motion capabilities, and devices that support a concept the company calls "reducing the cost of curiosity." Users can, for instance, create a mashup report immediately on a mobile device instead of having to go to a manager, make a request and two weeks later get a KPI report.

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John Pritchard, global development manager integrated architecture, Rockwell Automation explains the different technologies showcased in the Integrated Architecture booth.

Additional products showcased support industrial security, a hot topic recently with the increasing number of cyber threats. These ranged from simple approaches such as keeping network assets in a physical, locked box, to using devices with a feature called Lock-In-Block-Out, which keeps the cable in the port it is meant to be in and makes it hard to pull out. Other secure devices came from managed switches that switch-off the ports not being used and create unique IP assignments. Also important in supporting security in a connected enterprise is software such as Factory Talk Security and Factory Talk Asset. The first assigns the proper personnel rights such as being able to access certain control functions or change codes, while the latter is all about change management control. And Studio 5000 Logix Designer v24, which is used to do all the programming of the Logix controllers, has new features that support automation productivity, one of the goals of a connected enterprise.

Also showcased was the iTRAK system from Jacobs Automation, a Rockwell Automation Encompass Product Partner, which might be of interest to machine builders because it replaces a standard conveyor. The underlying technology uses magnets and linear motors and the carriages can be moved around together or be decoupled and allowed to move independently. The technology allows building a machine with one-half the footprint of a traditional machine. Controlled by a Logix controller, it allows instant changeovers on product size'.  

The concept of the connected enterprise can be exemplified by machine builder Samwoo Automation (www.samwooauto.com)  in Korea that uses Rockwell Integrated Architecture, which saves the company time, cuts costs and boosts productivity. Core technologies of Integrated Architecture include Logix controllers, Kinetix motion control, Stratix network solutions, visualization products and PowerFlex variable speed motor controls.

Samwoo designs and builds customized packaging machines. Recently, the company developed an innovative dual collator that has the basic functions of collating, pneumatic loading and material handling. The machine's two synchronized side belts position the products and insert them into a vertical track pocket at an insertion rate of 15 packs per minute. A robot picks up the products and places them into cases in the outfeed conveyor for packing.

The collator has a fully electronic control platform and several motors managing the control and motion devices. The machine's main functions are managed by an Allen-Bradley CompactLogix L36 ERM  programmable automation controller (PAC), which is directly connected to Kinetix 5500 servo drives and a PowerFlex 525 AC drive, integrated with EtherNet/IP communication.

 All of Samwoo's machines are designed for international safety standards using safety products such as the Kinetix, which supports the safe-torque-off (STO)  function. The machine has a PanelView Plus 6 HMI, which has an intuitive interface that lets operators easily set up more working parameters. And implementing the Rapid Line Integration interface lets the machines be designed for faster commissioning and provide line-level key performance indicators such as overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). For machine application development, Samwoo uses Software Studio 5000. Its integrated environment lets engineers develop motion, visualization and logic control.