Process automation roadmap from Rockwell includes PlantPAx

Strategy unifies Rockwell's process industry capabilities and technologies with those of 6 partner companies.


Calling it “a culmination of the investments we’ve made to extend and enhance our process technologies, systems, solutions and services,” said Steve Eisenbrown, senior vice president, Automation and Software for Rockwell PlantPAx systems and solutions.

Speaking at Automation Fair 2008 in Nashville in November 2008, Eisenbrown said, the roadmap “reflects tremendous progress in integrating our organic investments with our partner and acquisition investments…. It unifies our core capabilities and technologies with those of our market leading partners, like OSIsoft Endress+Hauser , and acquisitions, like Incuity , Pavilion Technologies , ICS Triplex and ProsCon , under a common systems and solutions umbrella to provide even greater market innovation and value to process industry customers.”

Rockwell Automation showcased the PlantPAx process automation system, a key component of the portfolio, at the Rockwell Automation Process Solutions User Group (PSUG) conference. The company laid out plans for continued expansion of the system based on a combination of the two core Rockwell Integrated Architecture technologies, Logix platform and FactoryTalk suite, and those leveraged from co-investments with partners and acquired companies.

Key areas highlighted during the PlantPAx system presentations included the following.

System Engineering– The PlantPAx system environment will provide process and batch control users a new library of reusable control objects with tools to simplify its deployment. Recently released advanced process control (APC) functions, to enhance the performance of slow-response process loops, are included. A future release will include the ability to populate the PlantPAx system with modules from multiple plant design and engineering tools.

Control and Visualization Platforms– Control strategies and accompanying visualization are configured using modular and reusable objects, simplifying design, commissioning and maintenance. Continued advances around system high availability will minimize or eliminate downtime and process disruptions caused by control system modifications. The PlantPAx system also will deliver an alarm platform that allows operators to manage native alerts and those from third-party controlled equipment, in accordance with current industry standards.

Performance and Process Optimization– The PlantPAx system extends the scope of process optimization to include fuzzy logic, basic and advanced process loop tuning and, at the high-end, model predictive control (MPC) from the acquisition of Pavilion Technologies. The MPC offering from Pavilion Technologies, while an integral element of the PlantPAx system, will continue to function as a stand-alone supervisory application with DCS and PLCs from other suppliers, said Eisenbrown.

Batch and Sequencing– The PlantPAx system uses both core batch and sequencing technologies. The system adheres to ISA-88 standards and presents a scalable batch control capability that includes a controller-based state machine for local sequencing applications, as well as more comprehensive server-based batch control with material tracking and electronic batch records advantages.

Process Safety and Critical Control– Further development of RockwellTriplex safety solutions to gain the many advantages of Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture, said Eisnebrown.

Asset Management– As an integral element of the PlantPAx system, the company’s expanded asset management suite includes new data delivery capabilities, tools and procedures that track assets and their performance. Version management of control assets, calibration management of process instrumentation, and diagnostics for HART and process fieldbus devices are included in the offering. A subsequent release will add enhancements to the company’s device configuration philosophy.

The company’s asset performance expertise and ability to provide plant-wide information access and process optimization help users achieve operational excellence and dramatic improvements in business performance, manufacturing infrastructure and global success.

Plant Information– The PlantPAx system allows plant-wide process data management through its historian capability. The historian offering– based on the PI System from OSIsoft – is integrated with the Rockwell Automation FactoryTalk Integrated Production and Performance Software Suite. Further, the new FactoryTalk

In addition to these key focus areas, Eisenbrown promised that Rockwell Automation would “demonstrate an update on its alliance with Endress+Hauser in support of pretested interoperability between instrumentation and control.” This includes “preferred integration” documents illustrating the control advantages and diagnostics for asset management provided by the joint solution. Furthermore, he said, the two companies will work together to reduce project life-cycle costs such as engineering integration, commissioning and startup.

Eisenbrown said the PlantPAx system roadmap was set through close collaboration with the company’s process automation customers. “Rockwell Automation maintains a process customer advisory board that cuts across a broad set of industries and provides input that drives product development decisions,” he said.

See Control Engineering ’s news archives for more information on Rockwell Automation’s recent applications for enterprise connectivity and Web HMIs.

– Edited by Renee Robbins , senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk
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