Rockwell Automation Smart Machine, Safety, Security Announcements

The Rockwell Automation PR team must have worked overtime following November’s Automation Fair. Here are a number of releases on new products and services. These cover a spectrum of technology areas that further reveal the breadth of Rockwell’s reach. 

  • Smart Machine Development
  • GuardLink with EtherNet/IP
  • FactoryTalk Logix Echo
  • Cyber Endpoint Protection Services

Simplify Smart Machine Development with Improved Micro800 Controllers and Design Software

Machine builders can save engineering time and costs with the enhanced Allen-Bradley Micro850 and Micro870 2080-Lx0E controllers using the latest Connected Components Workbench software from Rockwell Automation.

  • Class 1 implicit messaging capability up to eight EtherNet/IP devices support
  • Streamline integration of controller to drives, supporting PowerFlex 520 series and Kinetix 5100 drives over EtherNet/IP with pre-defined tags and pre-developed user-defined function block (UDFB) instructions.
  • Connected Components Workbench software version 21 required.

GuardLink 2.0 with new EtherNet/IP Interface

  • GuardLink 2.0 offers advanced diagnostics by way of the new Allen-Bradley 432ES GuardLink EtherNet/IP On-Machine Interface or a combination of Dual GuardLink Relay and EtherNet/IP Interface. 
  • GuardLink 2.0 protocol also enables safety-rated control device status reporting and automatic diagnostic reporting to an HMI using CIP Safety over EtherNet/IP.
  • Connect up to 96 safety devices via three independent safety channels. 
  • The interface can cascade power to additional interfaces and can keep track of timing and frequency of events to improve maintenance and create process efficiencies. 
  • The 432ES supports linear, star and Device Level Ring topologies while meeting safety ratings up to SIL 3, Cat 4 PLe.

New Capabilities in Emulation and Support with First expansion of FactoryTalk Logix Echo

  • Attention was dedicated to improving testing, giving users access to more than 20 variations of the 5580 ControlLogix platform at their disposal.
  • FactoryTalk Logix Echo simplifies the emulator experience by providing users the opportunity to download directly to FactoryTalk Logix Echo without modifications. 
  • Having the emulation of the 5580 ControlLogix Ethernet port means that to other software, FactoryTalk Logix Echo looks like another controller, offering flexibility to expand your emulation to visualization or other controllers.
  • Version 2 will be the first emulation platform to support safety controllers by introducing GuardLogix 5580 controller catalogs. 
  • The inaugural version supported one 17 slot chassis, but the latest release now supports the creation and communication of multiple chassis with one FactoryTalk Logix Echo license. 

Comprehensive Endpoint Protection Services

  • For organizations to secure their operations and reduce cyber threats, a successful cybersecurity strategy requires solutions to secure endpoints – any device that is connected to a network outside of its firewall, including laptops, HMIs, switches, IoT devices, and more.
  • Rockwell Automation and CrowdStrike are providing manufacturers with comprehensive Endpoint Protection Services, combining Rockwell Automation’s Industrial Cybersecurity Services and CrowdStrike Falcon platform to monitor, protect, investigate, and respond to incidents. 
  • Purpose-built in the cloud with a single lightweight-agent architecture, the CrowdStrike Falcon platform delivers rapid and scalable deployment, superior protection and performance, reduced complexity, and immediate time-to-value.
  • When customers choose the CrowdStrike Falcon platform through Rockwell Automation, they receive the industry-leading software coupled with OT-specific Falcon policies, developed by Rockwell Automation cybersecurity specialists, and backed by software and phone support. 
  • Endpoint Protection fits into the expansive Rockwell Automation portfolio of Managed Services along with Incident Response and Threat Detection to provide customers with a holistic cybersecurity solution.

A Pair of Rockwell Automation Announcements

Rockwell Automation Expands Threat Detection Offering through Managed Services

In many ways the tech industry—consumer and industrial including even Apple—is moving from product-centric to finding ways to promote continuing revenue through service offerings. This example comes via Rockwell Automation. 

Rockwell Automation launched the new Threat Detection Managed Services offering in early 2022 providing customers with application-level, real-time monitoring, and response services to help detect, identify, contain, eradicate, and recover from a cyber incident. This is a cloud-based service focusing on both Cisco and Claroty threat detection software.

  • 24/7 security alert monitoring
  • 24/7 hardware health monitoring
  • System tuning
  • Software update administration
  • Backup administration
  • Value reporting
  • Training

Rockwell Automation Simplifies Sizing, Selection of Motion Control Components with New FactoryTalk Motion Analyzer

I appreciate the efforts of companies to automate and optimize everyday activities such as all the work involved with designing and implementing motion control. This is a new release from Rockwell Automation.

FactoryTalk Motion Analyzer software enables users to select, analyze and validate their system components using new intuitive workflows and comparison tools. It is now available for download on the Rockwell Automation website.

FactoryTalk Motion Analyzer consists of a comprehensive component library that allows the analysis of a wide-variety of user-defined applications. Designers can select their system using a combination of Kinetix motors, Kinetix drives, select PowerFlex drives and third-party components such as gearboxes from Rockwell Automation Technology Partners. They can choose from pre-built application templates or by start with a blank template adding components and motion profiles to define the ideal machine.

Next Generation Open Control?

Bosch Rexroth held a webinar unveiling its ctrlX control platform in March 2021 that I had the pleasure of moderating. According to a press event held this week, more than 600 units have been sold.

Rexroth representative use terms like freedom, openness, next level. Preceding Rexroth down this openness path in my experience were OMAC (originally Open Modular Architecture Controller, now know for PackML), Bedrock Automation (Open Secure Automation), and OPAF (Open Process Automation Foundation). 

OMAC didn’t come up with an open controller, but it did come up with a winner for the packaging machinery market with PackML. I gave Bedrock Automation a good chance to succeed with its emphasis on security along with open automation. But as I researched for this article, I discovered its website almost stripped bare. Don’t know what happened there. OPAF has momentum building an architecture that is a “standard of standards.”

Many companies have presented revolutionary control concepts to me during my years as an editor and writer. Most are gone. Rexroth has a successful run as a motion control technology provider. I predict a solid niche for it in the machine OEM market with this technology–especially if the app ecosystem is sticky.

They call it the “smartphone of controllers” pointing to its ecosystem of apps now being provided by third-party automation companies. I’ve also seen ecosystems come and go. Perhaps one day one will find traction. Perhaps this is the one.

Here are a few morsels from this week’s press event:

CtrlX Operating System

  • Now available for third party developers
  • Linux-based operating system
  • Available for hardware from third-party providers and virtualized environments
  • Next level of openness and freedom in automation
  • Can be used on all levels – from the field level to the cloud 
  • Hardened software stack with a high degree of cybersecurity 
  • Connection to the ctrlX Store and the ctrlX Device Portal 
  • Hardware independence also makes it possible to operate a virtual control system on hypervisor platforms, in the data center, on edge servers or in the cloud. 
  • Supports app technology, web-based engineering, secure user management and the high-performance exchanging of data via the ctrlX Data Layer. 
  • The ctrlX Device Portal allows effective device management anywhere in the world.

The next level of freedom in automation

ctrlX ecosystem with app technology

  • New third-party support
  • Salesforce supports digital service concepts 
  • SICK contributes sensor data integration and sensor apps 
  • Partner world ctrlX World now includes over 60 third-party providers 
  • Other partners that have joined the ctrlX World in recent months include: 36ZERO Vision by Deutschdata Karamat und Ziesche GmbH, Dataprophet, FANUC Deutschland GmbH, Hailo Technologies Ltd., i-flow GmbH, KEBA Industrial Automation GmbH, SIMON Modellierungen GmbH, Timecho Europe GmbH, WEPALL ROBOT EASY TOOLS, S.L. and Balluff GmbH.

Reliable Degassing in Battery Cell Production

The rise of electric vehicle sales increased demand for battery manufacturing. Many applications come my way. This example is something Festo can do with pneumatic and electric actuators.

In an active demonstration, as shown in this YouTube video of the demo, pneumatic and electric actuators from Festo handle and pierce battery cells.

At the center of a degassing demonstration is the process chamber. A cantilever handling system based on Festo’s spindle axes ELGT ensures dynamic and safe loading and unloading of the process chambers. The compact and cost-effective spindle axes ELGT, with integrated double guide, is ideal for creating 2D and 3D cantilever systems. As a 3D delivery system, for example, it packs up to 20 kg at speeds of up to 0.5 m/s. With a copper and zinc content of less than one percent, the axis is perfect for use in assembly systems in battery production or in small parts handling.

During the degassing process, the process chamber is evacuated using VZQA process valves. The VZQA’s open architecture makes these valves durable, energy-efficient, easy to maintain, and flexible. They are a suitable alternative to conventional valves such as diaphragm valves or ball valves. The pressure switch SPAN-B from Festo monitors the pressure in the process chamber.

IMTS / Hannover Messe Chicago Recap

I didn’t have time to finish this about IMTS/Hannover Messe when I found myself in rainy Folsom, CA at the Inductive Automation’s Ignition Community Conference. More on that later.

Here is a quick recap of my tour around two of the four full halls that comprised the event. I heard that there were more than 100,000 people who also toured the trade show floors.

Robotics

OnRobot — OnRobot Previews D:PLOY for Machine Tending at IMTS. D:PLOY automatically discovers and configures all the components in a robotic cell – including any leading collaborative or light industrial robot arm and tools – while also integrating external I/O from sensors and machines. D:PLOY will be available for all common robotic applications, making deployment up to 80% faster. See more.

Universal Robots—The booth featured nine partners with vertical industry applications and a new 20 kg cobot.

The UR20, the first of next-generation high performance cobots, has been redesigned from the ground up to provide up to 30% more speed and torque, advanced motion control capabilities, and first-class user experience. Its 20 kg payload and 1750 mm reach make it a match for applications ranging from palletizing to machine loading.

These partners exhibited within the booth. Click for more information. Cobot Systems, Hirebotics, Kane Robotics, MidAtlantic Machinery, PCC Robotics, Robotiq, Schunk, Vectis Automation, VersaBuilt.

ABB—Highlights include versatile industrial and collaborative robots, software advancements that reduce programming complexity, and a selection of interactive robotic educational systems and training programs.

• ABB has developed over 30 new robot, software digital and educational products and educational tools in the last year, designed to help industrial manufacturers of all sizes increase their operational performance and gain better access to a well-trained workforce

• ABB helps businesses of all sizes embrace the flexibility afforded by robotics to efficiently adapt production to satisfy their customer’s most pressing needs, especially as reshoring becomes a prominent means to address ongoing supply chain backlogs

For more information.

CNC

Siemens—Accelerating the digital transformation of the machine tool industry with Siemens Xcelerator 

• Siemens Xcelerator includes selected portfolio of IoT-enabled hardware, software and digital offerings for the machine tool industry

• Software applications for cloud, edge and customer servers with numerous innovations for the machine tool business

• First partner applications based upon Industrial Edge for Machine Tools, the open ecosystem for IoT

New technology functions for the SINUMERIK ONE CNC simplify operation and increase productivity

• Y-turning and Advanced Rapid Movement for greater machine tool productivity, 

up to 10% faster machining

• Reduced Dynamic Mode reduces wear and increases availability

• End-to-end keyboard and machine control panel portfolio from 15 to 24 inches

The introduction of Mcenter, a new manufacturing and resource management platform, designed to enhance the preparation of tool scheduling, workflow supervision and NC program  management — plus Mcenter will smartly and seamlessly network the machine tools with the company’s IT / OT landscape.  

For more information.

Automation

MFA Alliance — You may have noticed several items about private 5G networks for manufacturing and industrial applications. Several companies have joined this private network alliance

Find out which features you need to implement for your 5G private network device with Uni5G Technology Blueprints. Discover available spectrum options (locally licensed, shared, unlicensed) around the world for your private network. Gain access to MFA’s shared global PLMN-ID which can uniquely identify your private network.

GE Digital — Announced it has achieved Amazon Web Services (AWS) Industrial Software Competency status. GE Digital is also expanding its offerings in the AWS Marketplace with new cloud-based operational intelligence and Manufacturing Execution System (MES) software.

For more information.

Deacom (ECI Software)—With a deep awareness of the challenges faced by process manufacturers and distributors, Deacom has been developed as an ERP solution tailored to the needs of medium-sized enterprises within industries such as Food & Beverage, Chemical and Coatings, Cosmetics, Pharmaceuticals, and Nutraceuticals to name a few. Hyper-Tight Process Control enables you to easily identify issues within your supply chain, production, and order-to-cash processes early and fix – or eliminate – them before they turn into costly mistakes.

For more information.

HighByte — I talked with two of the founders of this DataOps company. It has a new release coming, teaser about future releases. My takeaway, DataOps has found customer footing. Watch for growth. For more information.

Artek 3D scanning — Perhaps the coolest demos of the show—handheld 3D scanning, built-in screen so that you don’t have to move it around and juggle a computer at the same time. Quickly transform your object into 3D graphics. For more information.

ATT —  The takeaway from my conversation at the AT&T booth was that 5G private networks are really in use. Also, you can go to the AT&T Business LinkedIn page for a “chat” that I participated in about smart factory. For more information.

Beckhoff Automation—The XPlanar magnetic conveyor was the hot thing in this booth. The XPlanar planar motor system combines the advantages of conventional transport technologies with magnetic levitation. The levitating 2D product transport enables a wide range of new options for handling products within a machine and also between several machines.

Similar to automated guided vehicle systems, the user benefits from the freedom of movement of the object carriers: Individual goods can be transported to any location via any route. XPlanar combines this flexibility with the dynamics of conventional linear motors and offers added value through cycle-time-optimized linking of individual production steps. XPlanar significantly simplifies individual production steps because the degrees of freedom and accuracy familiar from robotics can be used for 6D product handling. The concept of product positioning during processing is applied to the transport system. The floating effect replaces all mechanical guide components and drastically reduces cleaning and maintenance costs.

For more information.

Syntax — As I walked through the AWS booth, a woman at one of the kiosks called out, want to learn about predictive maintenance? This enterprise software company touts a better UI difference—one dashboard, one interface, predict material usage. For more information.

MQTT and Electric Actuators

I am currently in Houston attending Automation Fair by Rockwell Automation. This post-pandemic opening is down from the usual Fairs, but 4,000 customers is huge compared to many conferences, then including the virtual segment, there are more than 16.000 registered. This shows the power of including people who cannot normally travel. There will be much more about this trip later.

Meanwhile, I’m catching up on press releases I have received in the past month. It has been really busy for a long time. The pandemic has not slowed innovation. Here are release about MQTT from Real Time Automation and news from Festo

1. MQTT Industrial Protocol Gateways

Real Time Automation releases the MQTT protocol on its 460 industrial gateway line. MQTT is a flexible protocol that connects IT and OT systems by moving data across the factory floor and into cloud applications.
 
With an MQTT protocol gateway, it is easy to move industrial device data to cloud applications like AWS IoT Core, IT or enterprise systems. The 460 MQTT gateway is the tool that makes the communication with cloud applications accessible. From there, manufacturers can configure their industrial device data to schedule predictive maintenance, monitor system health, as well as measure and analyze OEE.
 
Like with all RTA gateways, the MQTT family of gateways are extremely customizable, allowing manufacturers to pick:
• Single tags
• User-Defined Tags (for Allen-Bradley PLCs)
• Data Space Blocks (for Siemens PLCs)
• Other data using any one of the many protocol drivers in the RTA protocol suite

“With a 460 MQTT gateway, it has the same easy, browser-based configuration as our other 460 gateways. Plus, you’ll get our standard five-year warranty and access to our industry-leading support team. It’s a no-brainer for people looking to get factory floor data into the cloud,” states John S. Rinaldi, founder and CEO of Real Time Automation.

2. Festo Shows Electrical as well as Pneumatic products

Festo showcased its Ethernet-based CPX-AP-I decentralized I/O at the Assemble Expo. Festo is well known for pneumatics, but this module allows OEMs, integrators, and end users to network up to 500 I/O modules on a single bus node and mix and match both electrics and pneumatics on the same I/O network. A free online configuration tool speeds design while plug-and-play performance reduces wiring and shortens installation time.

CPX-AP-I comes standard with IO-Link functionality facilitating cloud-based predictive analytics. This I/O system features machine mountable IP65/IP67 rated modules, which eliminates the time, expense, and footprint of control panels in a host of applications. A maximum distance of 50 meters between modules makes CPX-AP-I ideal for large scale systems.

Festo also features the Simplified Motion Series (SMS) of electric actuators. This new series combines the simplicity and cost effectiveness of pneumatics with the benefits of low energy consumption and precision positioning of electrics. SMS actuators now also deliver infinitely variable three-position motion for an economical all-in-one servo-motion solution. The SMS series includes ball screw, toothed belt, mini slide, electric cylinder, piston rod, and rotary actuator styles for an extensive range of applications. Setup for two or three positions is simple, allowing for fast startup and nimble changeover.

Festo electric axes can be specified for third party motors, which gives customers the freedom to choose the best actuator/motor combinations for their project. Axes can be ordered as easy to assemble kits or as ready to install subassemblies.

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