2012 POY Finalists: Automation and Controls

Finalists in the Automation and Controls category for the Plant Engineering 2012 Product of the Year competition.

By Brittany Merchut November 19, 2012

Wireless network access point

The 802.11 WiFi Access Point for Industrial M2M Applications provides users with wireless networking capabilities. The access point appears as an embeddable module, which allows original equipment manufacturers to Wi-Fi-enable their products. The access point also appears as an external Ethernet access point, which provides the same functions as a stand-alone box. The access point technology allows the access point device to become its own Wi-Fi network communicating with other devices. The 802.11 WiFi Access Point contains an Ethernet port with two serial ports, providing more port configuration and connectivity tools.

B&B Electronics

Wireless sensor network

The SureCross Q45 is a wireless photoelectric sensor solution developed for industrial automation. The SureCross Q45 improves efficiency in control and monitoring applications through the integration of a scalable, wireless sensor network infrastructure. The SureCross Q45 can be used for applications such as cable replacement, moving applications, remote applications, and productivity solutions.

Banner Engineering

Fan control

BAFWorks is a fan application that allows users to control an unlimited number of Big Ass Fans from a particular location. This application eliminates individual controls in large facilities by providing access to real-time fan speed and status of all fans. The BAFWorks application is available for all industrial overhead Big Ass Fans. The application was designed specifically for the new industrial line of Big Ass Fans but is also compatible with previous generations.

Big Ass Fans

Communication cards

The C441 Ethernet series of communication cards allows customers to select Ethernet/IP, HTTP web services, Modbus RTU communication protocols, and Modbus in a single card. The series contains added communications including options to configure, control, and monitor systems. Users have the ability to use one network for control and another for monitoring. The available Web services provide a Web-based graphical user interface. The series is compatible with Eaton C440, XTOE, and C441 electron motor protection relays, and S611 soft starters.

Eaton Corporation

Panel wiring system solution

The SmartWire-DT System replaces multiple wires used to connect motor control components with a single cable. The system allows users to easily integrate with the original equipment manufacturer’s preferred industrial network. The SmartWire-DT system uses an eight-conductor, flat cable located in the control cabinet to connect motor starters, pushbutton actuators, and indicator lights.

Eaton Corporation

Operator interface and controller

The XV Series HMI-PLC incorporates programmable logic controller functionality and integrates with the Eaton SmartWire-DT system. The XV Series HMI-PLCs combines control, visualization, and data management tasks in one device. The design of the XV Series removes the physical PLC, incorporates logic into the operator interface, and provides a single software package. The series has an optional integrated SmartWire-DT master, eliminating the need for a gateway. The SmartWire-DT device connects directly into the back of the panels.

Eaton Corporation 

I/O expansion series

The IO Expansion Module is a new set of products to help customers achieve optimal performance, faster ROI, and customization for communication networks. The IO Expansion Module offers an increased degree of monitoring, control and optimization, and flexible wired and wireless IO. The IO Expansion Module provides faster access time for up to 192 IO points. The new module’s products carry the same measurement accuracy of analog inputs and can snap directly onto FreeWave radios or connect to other serial communication devices. With the IO Expansion’s flexibility, the module can be used for a range of applications.

FreeWave Technologies, Inc. 

Lighting control panels

The 16- and 24-relay CX Commercial Lighting Control panels can be ordered as Master and Secondary Panels enabling two panels to be connected together on one project. There is an LCD user interface located in the door with scrolling menus to program, check status, or update the pane. The CX Commercial Lighting Control panels are available in relay sizes of 4, 8, 16, and 24 with four types of relays. The programming capabilities of the panel include 365-day programming with astronomical and real-time clock.

Hubbell Building Automation

Wall switch sensors

The LightHAWK Wall Switch Occupancy Sensor line has expanded to include a suite of wall switch occupancy sensors with neutral connections. The line has sensors available in passive infrared, ultrasonic, and dual-tech models with single or dual relays, several override options, and a complete palette of architectural finishes. All of the sensors come with a built-in photocell with SuperSaver mode.

Hubbell Building Automation


Eurotherm Nanodac recorder/controller’s latest edition includes greater storage flexibility for longer local data archiving, store and forward data retrieval, and connectivity to Invensys’ Wonderware Historian. The nanodac record/controller is best used as a local historian to third-party equipment, but it can be used as a stand-alone device. The nanodac recorder/controller has 50 MB of flash memory for data storage, an on-screen help system, and remote viewing functionality. The device also offers the option to provide two high-stability PID looks with the unique Eurotherm Autotune facility.

Invensys Operations Management

Control and simulation software

The I/A Series is a control system with an Intelligent Marshalling solution and high-performance Foxboro Control Software and Simulation Software. The I/A Series features a Universal Fieldbus Module that eliminates the need for marshalling. Designed to improve user experience, the software embeds Invensys’ ArchestrA System Platform and Wonderware InTouch HMI in the system. This allows for integration of plant devices, systems, databases, and software applications. The software has the ability to simulate, including dynamic control of time, alarms, and trends using the same configuration files used in a live I/A Series DCS.

Invensys Operations Management


Automation communications platform

KEPServerEX 5.9 industrial automation communications platform has new electronic flow measurement capabilities and Wellsite Information Transfer Specification Level 0 drivers. The new solutions ensure that systems and devices supporting pipelines, wells, and drilling rigs can gather and share vital operational information. The new drivers with EFM capabilities have the potential to tap into stored data to manage, collect, monitor, and distribute information. The WITS Level 0 drivers provide quick and easy access to real-time drilling and mud logging data to offshore drilling platforms, onshore rigs, well sites, and other geographic sites. The drivers also have the capability to data collect variables such as temperature, pressure, vibration, and mud consistency.

Kepware Technologies, Inc.

Compact gearhead

The Nexen Harmonic Gearhead has a short and rigid design combined with a large, rugged, crossed-roller output bearing that can handle all combinations of radial, axial, and overturning moment loads in a compact envelope. The Harmonic Gearhead is available with Nexen’s Roller Pinion System through the integration of the gearhead into the pinion without any added length. This allows for the maintenance of zero backlash from the driving motor shaft through to the driven load. The RPS has a unique roller pinion/rack combination that can be adapted to any application.

Nexen Group

Modular HMI

The GP-4000M Series Modular HMI allows users to easily monitor conditions and the operating environment in real time. The series offers a full graphics touchscreen with a selection of serial or Ethernet connections. The series design is energy saving with its on-board LED backlight, and a dimmer setting used to stand-by the display after being idle. The GP-Viewer EX software provides remote monitoring functions such as checking the screen from a remote office.


Wireless monitoring system

VIBCONNECT RF is a wireless condition monitoring system for machine components. The system monitors the condition of roller bearings and other rotating components, and detects damage caused by cavitation. The VIBVONNECT bridge acts as the central receiver as it processes the data from the sensor units, transmitting it through the operator’s network. Operators can assess machine vibration, bearing condition, and temperature through the variety of analytical functions available.


Programmable automation controllers

The Allen-Bradley CompactLogix 5370 programmable automation controllers include 5370 L1, L2, and L3 controllers. These controllers have enhanced performance and motion capabilities while leveraging the common design and networking environment of Rockwell Automation’s Integrated Architecture system. The CompactLogix 5370 offers performance and cost competitiveness for machine builders requiring up to 16 axes of complex motion on EtherNet/IP. The series offers the same processing speed upgrades as the ControlLogix 5570 series, but with more than twice the processing speeds.

Rockwell Automation 

Virtual image templates

The PlantPAx Virtual Image Templates deliver the core system elements as pre-configured, drop-in templates on a USB hard drive. Delivered in an open, virtual-format file, and supported and tested for use with VMWare vSphere, the Engineering Workstation, Operator Workstation, and Process Automation System Server templates are provided. The pre-installed and pre-configured Virtual Image Templates help reduce validation costs and initial engineering time, simplify upgrades, and patch management and enhance scalability.

Rockwell Automation

Power monitoring software

StruxureWare Power Monitoring 7.0 Software is a software application that tracks real-time power conditions to improve efficiency, availability, and reliability. The software has a Web-based interface allowing users to monitor, analyze, and report on energy usage and power quality information. The software includes several new libraries for common real-time values, alarm views, and reports. StruxureWare Power Monitoring can function as a stand-alone software application and can connect easily to other StruxureWare software within suites, developed to address the unique needs of key market segements. suites.

Schneider Electric

Comfort panels

The SIMATIC HMI Comfort Panels feature the same functionality and performance across the entire product range. The panels come in different size of displays, including high-resolution, brilliant, and widescreen, and can be adapted for any application. The SIMATIC HMI Comfort Panels can switch off the displays of the units in break times. The panels are configured using TIA Portal based SIMATIC Step 7 and SIMATIC WinCC engineering software.


Compact CPU

The Simatic S7-1215C is equipped with 100 kilobytes of user memory, a second Profinet interface, two analog outputs, and fast outputs for controlling as many as four stepper motors. The controller offers 14 digital inputs, 10 digital outputs, two analog inputs, and two analog outputs. The Simatic S7-1215C can replace relays and contactors, convey systems, and pump control and energy management through to distributed tasks in a complex automation network.


Sales resource planning software

Atlatl sales resource planning software is designed to support manufacturing and industrial sales and streamlines the engineer-to-order sales process. The software merges all elements of manufacturing sales processes including client data input, product demonstration, and configuration, as well as specification gathering engineering, and drafting.

SixAxis LLC