I received few news releases from Rockwell Automation for several years. Suddenly I gained a new friend, Jack, who sends something almost every week. It’s good to know that one of the largest control and automation suppliers in North America is still churning out updated products.

I’ve been saving these up for a bit. Included in this post:

  • CIP Security Proxy Device
  • Plant floor asset management
  • Stack light
  • Medium voltage drives
  • Connected Components Software Workbench
  • Managed Ethernet switch
  • Network security threat detection

CIP Security Proxy Device 

Industrial companies can now implement CIP Security expansively in their systems with the Allen-Bradley CIP Security Proxy. The CIP Security Proxy allows users to implement CIP Security on most devices on their network. 

The CIP Security Proxy works with EtherNet/IP-compliant devices. CIP Security is part of the defense in depth strategy, which can help defend against attacks where threat actors can remotely access a network and act maliciously. With the ability to provide CIP Security for a single device, a layer of security is added that can help protect the system.

Configuration for the proxy device can be achieved through FactoryTalk Policy Manager software and FactoryTalk system services. In addition, this device supports motion for Kinetix drives and offers a web server for viewing diagnostics. It allows for secure event generation syslog support and includes rotary switches for 192.168.1.xyz IP addressing. The proxy device also contains three one-gigabit EtherNet/IP ports and can operate in temperatures from -25° to +70° Celsius adding to the ease of use.

Plant-Floor Asset Management with Enhanced Software

Industrial workers can now more easily manage their hundreds or thousands of automation assets using the enhanced FactoryTalk AssetCentre software from Rockwell Automation. The latest release provides firmware and software lifecycle information for all assets in one place. This saves time because workers no longer need to connect to control cabinets and manually record information for each device. 

With the software’s enhanced asset inventory functionality, workers can quickly scan a network and see which devices are in a specific lifecycle state. Examples include devices running retired firmware or forecasted to be discontinued in the next six months. This helps identify products in the same lifecycle state and workers can better plan for replacements and upgrades. 

The FactoryTalk AssetCentre software also has a new security feature called archive management of change, which automates the process of authorizing who can change files and what they can change. It requires workers to explain why files need to be changed and verifies that only necessary files are being checked out. It also locks a file until changes are approved and escalates approval requests when needed. 

This helps enhance system security, which is particularly useful for some industries such as oil and gas, that require added levels of control over when changes are permitted. For example, one major food company reduced its downtime events from unknown or unauthorized changes by 7% using FactoryTalk AssetCentre software. It can also reduce downtime due to change management.

These updates add to the software’s existing ability to report discontinuation dates and the availability of replacement products. The enhanced software now also provides disaster-recovery support for more Rockwell Automation devices as well as third-party devices.

Stack Light

The new Allen-Bradley 856T Control Tower Stack Light system uses a modular design that incorporates brighter LED illumination and a broad offering of sound technologies. All signals in the system are 24V AC/DC powered, which means that just three power modules can cover the entire system. The latest additions to the 856T Control Tower Stack Light family are IO-Link enabled versions that provide diagnostic information and ease integration into a Connected Enterprise. 

IO-Link enabled versions of Bulletin 856T Control Tower Stack Lights enable users to monitor tower light and machine status in real-time, while allowing for simple remote set-up and troubleshooting.

Medium Voltage Drives

Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 6000T medium voltage drives now include TotalFORCE technology from Rockwell Automation, which provides precise control of speed and torque, diagnostic information for tracking system health and automatic adjustments to keep operations running smoothly.

The PowerFlex 6000T drives follow speed or torque commands closely in both open- and closed-loop vector control modes to deliver the precise control required for high performance and large loads.

The drives also continuously monitor operations to track the health of electrical components in the drive and motor and provide real-time diagnostic information to the control system.

Additionally, adaptive control features within the PowerFlex 6000T drives help isolate potentially harmful vibration and resonances, and automatically compensate for variances to help keep applications running. With load-observer technology, they also effectively reject disturbances when loads change suddenly, helping to keep operations running smoothly and increasing output.

Connected Components Software Workbench

Industrial engineers can more efficiently design and configure stand-alone machines using the latest release of Connected Components Workbench software from Rockwell Automation. With several new and enhanced features, the software improves download and build performance to create more efficient, user-friendly design processes.

Highlights of what’s new in version 13 of Connected Components Workbench software include:

  • A new Global and Local variable data grid that delivers capabilities to help engineers develop projects faster. For example, a quick declaration feature allows users to create multiple variables with the same prefix, suffix and data type in one click. An intuitive filter bar allows users to find tags quickly.
  • An enhanced Run Mode Change (RMC) capability that enables users to make edits without downloading project source code. This can speed up online edits and create smoother, more seamless design experiences.
  • A new Controller Organizer view that gives engineers the option to switch to a Logix Theme programming experience. This allows them to work in a more familiar environment and use copy-and-paste ladder logic from the Studio 5000 Logix Designer application.
  • An enhanced Global Connection capability on existing system tags in the PanelView 800 DesignStation that gives users greater flexibility to configure remote system connections.

The Connected Components Workbench software helps simplify the development of stand-alone machines that are built with the Rockwell Automation Micro Control system. Engineers can configure, program and visualize the major control components of their stand-alone machines in a single software environment. They can also use tools like the Micro800 Simulator to validate their application code without the need for hardware.

Managed Ethernet Switch

Allen-Bradley Stratix 5800 managed industrial Ethernet switch  supports layer 2 access switching and layer 3 routing for use in multiple layers of the architecture. Robust security capabilities and ISA/IEC 62443-4-2 certification help enhance network security.

The Stratix 5800 switch has fixed and modular designs, giving users flexibility to configure it based on application needs. It offers combinations of copper, fiber and Power over Ethernet (PoE) ports to support a wide range of architectures.

The switch helps ease integration by addressing the needs of both operations (OT) and IT teams. Studio 5000 Add-on Profiles enable premier integration into the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture. And the Cisco IOS-XE operating system helps ease integration to the enterprise.

“Reducing the complexity of IT/OT convergence is a priority today as companies need to connect their operations while managing challenges like skills shortages and security threats,” said Mark Devonshire, product manager, Rockwell Automation. “The Stratix 5800 managed switch helps simplify the jobs of IT and OT teams, and helps improve security and high performance for industrial environments.”

Certification to ISA/IEC 62443-4-2 verifies that the switch meets the standard’s technical requirements to security level 2 for industrial automation and control systems. This continues the efforts of Rockwell Automation to help secure industrial operations through certifications, expertise, products and services.

Rockwell Automation Expands Threat Detection Services with Cisco Cyber Vision

The longstanding alliance between Rockwell Automation and Cisco continues to find new ways to provide customer value with the announcement that Rockwell Automation is adding Cisco’s Cyber Vision solution to its existing LifecycleIQ Services portfolio of cybersecurity threat detection offerings.

While convergence is essential to a digital transformation, it also presents challenges such as siloed networks, cybersecurity threats, skills shortages, and an abundance of production data and solutions. The leaders in their respective industries have worked together to offer jointly developed architectures, services and products to help companies address these challenges as they work toward building a Connected Enterprise.

As this deeper integration between IT, cloud and industrial networks creates security issues that become digitization obstacles, Cyber Vision provides full visibility into industrial control systems to build secure infrastructures and enforce security policies – achieving the continuity, resilience, and safety of industrial operations. The addition of Cyber Vision to the LifecycleIQ Services threat detection offerings provides a unique switch-based architecture for customers with existing Cisco solutions, greenfield networks or those updating their Cisco network infrastructure.

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