This press release from Rockwell Automation came late yesterday while I was on my third or fourth phone conference/Webcast. I’m trying to get additional information. This release, to me, is like the smell of the barbeque outside a Texas restaurant, yet I can’t wait to get inside. (Or should I say the smell of brats and beer outside a Milwaukee restaurant?) I’ve been anticipating this announcement for at least a year, and I want to know a lot more about it. Rockwell Automation announced yesterday a high-performance, modular, servo drive “leveraging” embedded EtherNet/IP for integrated motion control–the CIP motion protocol from ODVA.

According to the release, “The EtherNet/IP drive support available with the Allen-Bradley Kinetix 6500 servo drive helps eliminate the need for a dedicated motion network and allows high-performance drives, I/O, smart actuators and any other EtherNet/IP-connected device to be supported on a common network. When used with the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix programmable automation controller (PAC), the Kinetix 6500 drive helps to provide increased machine design flexibility, improved system performance and reduced system cost.”

Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) Motion technology combines the requirements of deterministic, real-time, closed-loop motion control, offering full compliance with Ethernet standards, including IEEE 802.3 and TCP/IP along with CIP Sync, the IEEE-1588 compliant precision clock synchronization which allows multiple axes of motion to be coordinated.

In an interesting data point slipped in the release, “EtherNet/IP is the world’s leading industrial Ethernet topology, with over 850 product lines from 250 companies and over 2 million nodes sold.” Key word is industrial–see my market share post of last Friday for more news and comments.

Leveraging the performance of the Kinetix 6000 family, the Kinetix 6500 drive also offers advanced safety features, such as safe stop, zero speed monitoring, safe direction monitoring and safe maximum acceleration monitoring. These features help improve operator safety, as well as enhance machine efficiency by allowing access to guarded areas while a machine or process continues to operate, to help reduce downtime.

For applications such as clean-in-place for food producers or roller cleaning on a printing machine, safe-speed technology can help avoid injury to personnel while maximizing machine uptime. Operators and maintenance workers can clean equipment while the machine is still running, helping to speed up the cleaning process and providing greater machine availability. The ability to access the machine to remove foreign objects or jams without an emergency shutdown also reduces scrap, extends machine life, and limits the amount of energy needed to power the machine back to full operating speed.

The Kinetix 6500 servo drives feature a modular structure that helps provide an adaptable platform for future machine enhancements. Using interchangeable control modules, an axis can easily transition to a different network or safety functionality, helping users more easily adapt to new market trends or technologies while reducing upgrade costs by up to 50 percent.

The Kinetix 6500 servo drive is targeted at applications where high performance, efficiency and safety are crucial, such as in the food processing, packaging, printing and web, and other machine types requiring position control.

Watch for updates as soon as I’m able to talk to product managers next week.

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