Node-RED Nodes for Industrial Programmable Automation Controllers

Node-RED Nodes for Industrial Programmable Automation Controllers

SNAP PAC_Node-RED_printFollowing up on its release of REST enabled programmable automation controllers (PACs) for the industrial internet of things, Opto 22 has released Node-RED nodes. The purpose for enabling Node-RED addresses significantly decreasing IIoT application development time and complexity. These Node-RED nodes for PACs make it easier to prototype and develop applications for connecting physical assets to cloud applications. Node-RED nodes and a RESTful API for Opto 22 SNAP PAC R-series and S-series controllers are available free for download.

Rapid IIoT Application Prototyping

Linking technology assets and services together to build IIoT applications often requires layers of complex software development and long development cycles that quickly erode IIoT application ROI. Opto 22’s Node-RED nodes for SNAP PAC programmable automation controllers enable nearly anyone to rapidly prototype and develop IIoT applications with Node-RED, opening a path to quickly connect legacy physical assets to the digital world of cloud services.

Node-RED for IIoT

Node-RED is an innovative visual wiring tool to connect edge computing systems such as industrial automation controllers to cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) IoT, IBM Watson IoT, and Microsoft Azure in new and interesting ways.

Created by Nick O’Leary (@knolleary) and Dave Conway-Jones (@ceejay) of IBM Emerging Technologies (@ibmets), Node-RED is an open-source, cross-platform technology available on GitHub.com and npmjs.org, and is currently available for a variety of platforms, including OS X, Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Raspberry Pi, and cloud offerings like IBM Bluemix and AT&T Flow. Built on the popular Node.js JavaScript runtime, Node-RED benefits from a large Node-RED library—containing over 500 prebuilt and ready-to-deploy nodes—allowing IIoT application developers to leverage existing software code and deploy it directly into their applications.

“I’ve been very impressed with the whole Node-RED project,” said Jim Turner, Senior Software Developer at Opto 22. “It’s well run, polished, and of high quality, but still very practical and useful. It’s been a pleasure to develop for their platform.” At the time of this release, Node-RED has been downloaded from npmjs.org over 25,000 times in the last month.

Lowering the Technical Bar

The Node-RED development environment offers a gradual and easily approachable learning curve for users of all levels and requires little to no programming skills. Instead, Node-RED takes advantage of pre-programmed, reusable code blocks called nodes. These nodes make IIoT application development simpler, easier to repeat, and faster to scale. Through a visual browser-based, drag-and-drop interface, Node-RED allows IIoT application developers to focus on identifying an opportunity and developing a solution, rather than building the components of an application from scratch.

Advanced JavaScript functions can also be created within the editor using a Function node. A built-in library lets developers save useful functions, templates, or node flows for re-use. The flows created in Node-RED are stored using the widely known JSON format, which can be easily imported and exported for sharing with other developers and applications, promoting the idea of social application development.

Download the Node-RED nodes for Opto 22 SNAP PAC R-series and S-series controllers directly.

 

Automation Products Announced by Rockwell Automation

Studio 5000 View Designer ScreenshotIn advance of this week’s Automation Fair at Chicago’s McCormick Place, Rockwell Automation has announced a couple of new product extensions–SoftwareStudio 5000 development environment and ControlLogix  5580.

“The addition of these applications [to SoftwareStudio 5000] significantly enhances our integrated development environment,” said Mike Brimmer, product manager, Rockwell Automation. “The expanded environment simplifies the design process and reduces the need for multiple tools, providing a more seamless system development experience.”

The Studio 5000 environment now includes the following:

  • The new Studio 5000 Architect application is the central point within the Studio 5000 environment where users can view the overall automation system; configure devices such as controllers, HMIs and EOIs; and manage the communications between the devices. The Studio 5000 Architect application also exchanges data with other Studio 5000 applications and third-party electrical design tools to simplify the development experience.
  • The Studio 5000 Logix Designer application is the design and maintenance software for the Allen-Bradley Logix5000 family of controllers and is used to configure discrete, process, batch, motion, safety and drive control. It simplifies the design process by providing an application-centric view of code; enhanced work flows for more efficient re-use of content; and collaborative tools that make it easier for multiple people to work together.
  • The new Studio 5000 View Designer application is the design and maintenance software for Allen-Bradley PanelView 5500 graphic terminals. The Studio 5000 View Designer application provides an intuitive, modern design environment that helps users more easily build contemporary systems. It enhances integration between the control system and operator interface to improve programming efficiency and runtime performance.
  • The new Studio 5000 Application Code Manager speeds system development by helping users build libraries of re-usable code that can be managed and deployed across their entire enterprise. Creating projects with Application Code Manager helps improve design consistency, reduce engineering costs, and achieve faster time-to-market and commissioning.

In addition, Rockwell Automation has updated the Studio 5000 environment with enhanced security and localized batch control. New security features include more user-authentication and access-control options, and a new privilege escalation capability. These features help improve productivity and system uptime by granting users the right level of access at the right time. Localized batch control allows controller-based batch sequencing and eventing to simplify system architecture for single-unit control and process skids.

11-12-15 ControlLogix 5580 imageThe new ControlLogix 5580 controller provides up to 45 percent more application capacity and includes an embedded 1-gigabyte Ethernet port to support high-performance communications, I/O and applications with up to 256 axes of motion.

“With this new controller, users can meet future capacity and throughput needs as they design smart machines and work toward building a Connected Enterprise,” said Dennis Wylie, global product manager, Rockwell Automation. “The new port and additional capacity cuts the amount of control and communications hardware required, reducing system complexity, costs and required panel space.”

In addition, the product selection process is easier with the ControlLogix 5580 controller because users can now select the appropriate model using the total number of Ethernet nodes required. A single ControlLogix 5580 controller can support up to 300 Ethernet nodes.

The controller also supports enhanced security as part of a defense-in-depth approach to help protect facilities, assets and intellectual property. The controller incorporates advanced security technologies and software features, such as digitally signed and encrypted firmware, change detection and audit logging.