Rockwell Automation Fair highlights process-sector push

A steady stream of acquisitions by Rockwell Automation is enhancing its appeal in process industry verticals. The automation giant—historically strong in discrete and hybrid sectors—also owes part of that momentum to software activities. A key part of this activity is enabling new application offerings to plug into the service-oriented architecture (SOA) developed by the company's R...

12/01/2007


A steady stream of acquisitions by Rockwell Automation is enhancing its appeal in process industry verticals. The automation giant—historically strong in discrete and hybrid sectors—also owes part of that momentum to software activities.

A key part of this activity is enabling new application offerings to plug into the service-oriented architecture (SOA) developed by the company's Rockwell Software unit. Fundamental to this SOA is the FactoryTalk Services Platform, a set of core services such as security, directory, and data access for Rockwell's FactoryTalk suite.

Kevin Roach, VP, Rockwell Software, says the SOA services are being extended into new and acquired offerings that bolster Rockwell's process-sector appeal. For example, not only did Rockwell partner with OSIsoft a year ago to market historian technology under the Rockwell name, it has worked closely with OSIsoft so that the resulting product launched at the show—FactoryTalk Historian Site Edition (SE)—makes use of FactoryTalk Services.

“This new version is integrated with the FactoryTalk suite through FactoryTalk Services—the SOA that we've built,” says Roach. “This offers some excellent connectivity.”

For example, the next step in Rockwell's “tiered” and “distributed” historian strategy is to introduce a historian embedded within Rockwell's ControlLogix rack. This solution will be called FactoryTalk Historian Machine Edition (ME), and because it too will tap into the services, it can plug into site historians.

Rockwell's most recent acquisition is the October purchase of Pavilion Technologies, a vendor of advanced process control software for process and hybrid industries. Pavilion's software taps into historians for past data on process variability, which it then crunches with algorithms to fine-tune plant processes. Rockwell will add FactoryTalk SOA support to Pavilion's software so that it can easily plug into historians and other applications, says Roach.

Rockwell's other acquisitions add appeal in the process industries:

  • ICX Triplex (2007) . ICX has critical control and safety solutions for process industries.

  • GEPA (2006) . The German vendor offers change-management software for industrial automation products from multiple vendors.

  • Datasweep (2005) . Under Rockwell, Datasweep's manufacturing execution system (MES) has evolved into FactoryTalk ProductionCentre, with process capabilities such as a weighing & dispensing component.

  • ProPack Data (2002) . Today the vendor's MES is called RS PMX. Its deep industry functionality will be redeveloped as common components with ProductionCentre.

    • <table ID = 'id1006988-31-table' CELLSPACING = '1' CELLPADDING = '1' CLASS = 'right' WIDTH = '200' BORDER = '0'><tbody ID = 'id1006819-31-tbody'><tr ID = 'id1006822-31-tr'><td ID = 'id1006824-31-td'>
      </td></tr><tr ID = 'id1006832-34-tr'><td ID = 'id1006834-34-td'>
      Attendees of the annual Rockwell Automation Fair can take the opportunity to view automation and information management technologies from Rockwell, and dozens of its partners. </td></tr></tbody></table>

      In pharmaceuticals, a focus on creating common MES components will allow PMX users to migrate to the ProductionCentre architecture over time, says Roach. The first step was outfitting PMX to communicate with other systems via FactoryTalk Integrator middleware. The next component was weighing & dispensing, followed by electronic batch records (EBR).

      James LaBonty, associate director of automation engineering for Wilmington, Mass.-based Wyeth Pharmaceuticals , says EBR allows managers to electronically review exceptions. Wyeth is interested in FactoryTalk Integrator as an updated means of integration to an SAP ERP system.

      One of Rockwell's MES goals is an SOA-enabled “horizontal” functionality that can be combined as components for industry solutions.

      “We're building industry applications on top of that horizontal platform,” says Roach. “The idea is to take the service dollars down, which takes the overall deployment cost and time down, takes risk down—making the solutions more broadly available.”





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
2016 Product of the Year; Diagnose bearing failures; Asset performance management; Testing dust collector performance measures
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me