2010 POY Finalists: Automation and Control
Plant Engineering's 2010 Product of the Year finalists featured in the Automation and Control category.
The Scalance XR324 managed industrial Ethernet switch from Siemens Industry, Inc. offers modularity, high port density in a compact, 19” rack housing well suited for rugged industrial applications. Available in four models that connect to 24V DC or 110 to 230V AC, the Scalance XR324 is designed for maximum flexibility and provides a high-performance switch that integrates plant floor networks with enterprise networks via a high speed Gigabit backbone. Specifically designed for 19” cabinets with 12 slots, each slot in the XR324 can be accommodate a selection of 2-port electrical or optical (10/100/1000-Mbit/s) media modules.
Radio modems and I/O modules
The Zlinx Xtreme IP67 Outdoor-Rated Radio Modems and I/O Modules from B&B Electronics Manufacturing Co., Inc., feature license-free, proprietary RF, and are available in 900 MHz for long-range and 2.4 GHz for short-range wireless communications for serial or sensor data in harsh and remote environments. The Serial Radio Modems are highly secure, 256-bit AES-encrypted radios that offer superior low-latency response rates (8ms/digital), flexibility and the ease of use needed for wireless monitoring and control. The I/O Modules include two analog inputs, two analog outputs, two digital inputs and two relay outputs.
The Triconex/Tofino OPC firewall from Invensys Operations Management, Byres Security Inc. and MTL Instruments protects integrated applications based on OPC Classic, a widely used industrial integration protocol. The OPC firewall provides security features developed specifically for Triconex and its embedded OPC Classic server to protect against malicious attacks and other threats to network operations. Users deploy the new firewall in front of the Triconex OPC server, thwarting attacks and traffic storms before they reach the safety and critical control system.
The Harmony XB4/5 is a 22mm multiple-headed push button with the ability to save space and increase functionality by using a single operator, ideal for use in harsh environments. The button is designed with bright and energy-efficient LED technology, providing high contrast illumination with long life operation. The operator offers two or three functions in the same physical space as a single-function device for simple applications. Rated for one million operating cycles, Harmony push buttons are reliable and durable operation for packaging machinery, material handling conveyors, building automatic doors, and more.
Rockwell Automation’s line of signal conditioners is designed to help maximize the efficiency and performance of process applications by helping users isolate, convert and amplify analog signals in applications involving batch or continuous processes. Comprised of 29 distinct products, the Allen-Bradley Bulletin 931 analog signal conditioners isolate multiple signals on the same power source, reducing ground loop and common mode noise. This helps users extend the performance and functionality of legacy control systems, improves design and integration flexibility, and mitigates the need for additional I/O purchases.
The new Allen-Bradley Kinetix 3 component servo drive from Rockwell Automation provides machine builders the ability to better match the needs of manufacturers without the complexity of traditional servo solutions. Offered in models as small as 50 watts, the drive provides the flexibility to tailor axes to a machine’s actual power requirement, which minimizes system size and cost. Its compact design makes the drive ideal for machines that require less than 1.5 kW and up to 12.55 N-m of instantaneous devices, laboratory automation equipment and semiconductor processing.
RFID write/read device
SIMATIC RF670R is a RFID write/read device in the UHF range from Siemens. It offers comprehensive functions, up to four external UHF antennas (SIMATIC RF620A, RF660A) combined for up to four stand-alone read stations. 4 digital inputs (24 V) and 4 digital outputs are available for simple control. Integrated data processing (e.g. filtering, configurable DI/DO switching logic) facilitates its use in complex scenarios with an XML protocol, TCP/IP and Ethernet available for interfacing to the reader. The new stationary reader from the SIMATIC RF600 family offers a compact design with a high degree of protection.
The rugged 1D/2D code readers can be used for production control and product tracking in all areas of industry. The MV420 contains everything needed for reading in a small and compact IP67 housing: a lighting system and integral lens system that can be adjusted flexibly for different operating distances. It is characterized especially by its flexible integration into the automation environment (TIA as well as third-party vendors). Users can thus have joint use, for the first time, of RFID and optical product identification (auto ID). The SIMATIC MV420 code readers offer the user-friendly, web-based user interface familiar from SIMATIC VS130-2 and MV440. A standard Web browser is therefore all that's needed to parameterize an MV420.
Programmable automation controllers
The ControlLogix L73 and L75 programmable automation controllers (PACs) provide advanced memory, speed and processing capabilities for a wide range of control demands, from high-performance logic and motion to information-intensive process applications. The ControlLogix L73 and L75 PACs interface seamlessly with motion drives through EtherNet/IP and SERCOS network interfaces, and are capable of supporting as many as 100 axes, further simplifying synchronization of complex motion applications. The ControlLogix L73 PAC is ideally suited for users requiring up to 16 MB of memory while the ControlLogix L75 PAC offers 32 MB of memory.
Programmable automation controller
The eATM tManager EI module enables the connection of plant floor data with enterprise and plant-wide systems via Java Messaging Services (JMS) connection technologies. It installs in a ControlLogix Programmable Automation Controller (PAC) from Rockwell Automation, or in a panel to accomplish data exchanges. As an information appliance, the eATM tManager EI module simplifies configuration of data exchanges and involves no programming. For data transfer, the utility uses intuitive screens and drop down menus to select data and establish conditions for triggers such as specific values, time and other characteristics.
The SIMATIC CPU 317TF-2DP, from Siemens Industry, Inc., is a single controller for motion control, safety, and standard tasks. This controller offers cost savings, space savings in the control cabinet, direct processing of fail-safe functions from the drives, and PROFIsafe via PROFIBUS DP, as well as compliance with relevant standards.
The Electronic Steam Boiler Controllers from Spirax Sarco, Inc. are designed for simple installation with an enclosure design that allows chassis, panel or DIN rail mounting. Commissioning is carried out entirely using the front panel key pay and the software menu. The controllers feature an infrared ‘inter-controller’ communication capability and remote RS485 ‘read only’ access to controller settings and parameters. The controllers also contain manual test buttons for the pump and the alarm as well as the ability to sense supply voltage and water turbulence.
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Annual Salary Survey
In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.
Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.