Rockwell Automation’s version of a virtual trade show and conference, Automation Fair at Home, is wrapping up. I have been able to talk with only a few people outside of Rockwell about the event. Looks like it went well for them. Reports are the sessions were well attended. The trade show part was interesting. I went, but I didn’t try the Zoom one-on-ones at each booth. I attended so many sessions that I received a Certificate of Completion for 1 professional development unit for Digital Transformation.

I sat in mostly software-oriented press conferences and sessions. PTC and Microsoft were given a lot of promotion. One could easily get the impression that ThingWorx provided a huge share of Rockwell Software. The partnerships with Microsoft were highlighted in most talks. Rockwell has always talked partnerships, but it seemed much more serious this year.

This is also the year when I felt that Rockwell Automation was seriously all-in on Connected Enterprise. I always felt something missing before. This year it can really talk the IT and OT connection—and prove it.

I have two more press releases. Before that, a conversation I would have had at the booth with Jason Anderson, Stratus Technologies VP of Strategy and Product Management. I’ve previously written about the press release with PlantPAx (RA process control software) on the Stratus Edge compute product. Anderson explained that his company’s compute platform stands between the high-end compute of large IT companies and an industrial PC. Machine and skid builders have adopted it as a way to perform the analytics and other compute functions, including even the process control, eliminating the problem of connecting to their customers’ IT infrastructure from controllers or PCs. I think it’s a great strategy and fills an open market segment. It’s a win for Stratus as well as for Rockwell—and of course for customers.

Rockwell Lifecycle IQ Services

Lifecycle Services was elevated to a top business unit at Rockwell headed by an SVP—Frank Kulaszewicz, and therefore is evolving a new brand: LifecycleIQ Services.
LifecycleIQ Services combines digital technologies with human know-how helping companies at every point in their business cycle during the design, operations, and maintenance stages in greenfield and brownfield facilities.

“LifecycleIQ Services create a more intimate customer engagement model, one that can help companies not only solve problems, but also see new possibilities in production and transform them into reality,” said Frank Kulaszewicz, senior vice president, Lifecycle Services at Rockwell Automation. “We’re investing in providing a wide range of holistic services to help companies be more productive, safe and secure anywhere in a product, process or plant lifecycle.”

Industrial companies can use LifecycleIQ Services to achieve outcomes like:
Capturing more value from digital transformation initiatives
Reducing risk with comprehensive cybersecurity support
Improving workforce support

LifecycleIQ Services can help companies by assessing needs, identifying priorities and creating workforce development programs. Rockwell Automation also uses remote support capabilities and augmented reality technologies to help companies interact virtually with support engineers, strengthen skills with virtual training, and provide safety and security services without sending people into plants.

To improve customer experiences, LifecycleIQ Services is also introducing a new way to receive multiple services in one contract. An Integrated Service Agreement allows companies to select a package of offerings to simplify their support needs and have just one number to call to access experts and receive priority service. Companies can get 24×7 technical support, repair services, reports and analytics, field services and more, all in one integrated contract.

New security certifications and products 

Rockwell Automation continues expanding its cybersecurity certifications and incorporating advanced security capabilities into more of its products. It recently received certification to the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) 62443-3-3 cybersecurity standard. The certification, performed by third party TÜV Rheinland, means Rockwell Automation has demonstrated the ability to install and configure production systems to meet security requirements to level 1 as defined in the world’s leading global standard.

Rockwell Automation offers reference architectures for implementing a certified production system, such as PlantPAx 5.0. The architectures were developed to help customers certify production systems while minimizing the need to buy new technologies as part of the process. To date, Rockwell Automation has received several certifications for the IEC 62443 series of standards.

Rockwell Automation also recently received certification for the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 27001 standard, confirming that the company’s information security management system used to protect data meets the standard’s requirements. 

“Companies are facing the dual challenge of digital transformation to stay competitive, while also keeping their people, operations and intellectual property secure,” said Sujeet Chand, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Rockwell Automation. “We continue to aggressively expand our cybersecurity skills, certifications, product capabilities and services in ways that help our customers stay ahead of new threats and focus on realizing new possibilities with digital transformation.”

In addition to earning the new certifications, Rockwell Automation is also releasing new products with CIP Security to help companies secure their communications. Developed by ODVA, CIP Security is the only standard designed to secure communications between industrial control systems and other devices on an EtherNet/IP network.

New industrial control products offering CIP Security include:

  • Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 755T AC drives
  • Kinetix 5300 servo drives

Other Rockwell Automation products that already support CIP Security include:

  • ControlLogix 5580 controllers
  • Kinetix 5700 servo drives
  • 1756-EN4TR communication module

To help protect the many devices in use today that don’t support CIP Security, Rockwell Automation is also introducing the new CIP Security Proxy device. When used in a physically secured location, the device provides CIP Security for a wide range of industrial control devices and create more secure industrial networks.

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