2013 Product of the Year finalists: Automation & Controls

Finalists in the Automation & Controls category for the Plant Engineering 2013 Product of the Year competition.

By Amanda McLeman November 18, 2013

Compact barcode reader

The DataMan 50L is a compact barcode reader that features an IP65-rated housing. Measuring just 23.5 mm by 27 mm by 43.5 mm, this barcode reader is equipped with Hotbars, a proprietary image analysis technology that delivers the highest read rates of 1-D linear barcodes, including those that are damaged, distorted, blurred, scratched, low height, or low contrast. It allows the user to see what the reader sees, providing the ability to analyze “no reads” either live on a monitor or through image archiving. The DataMan 50L also features a three-position lens and an integrated aimer for easy setup at different working distances.

Cognex Corporation

Laser profiling system

The DS1000 3D laser profiling system is factory calibrated to provide real-world units of measurement for inspections too difficult to perform with traditional two-dimensional machine vision. The sensor reads embossed or raised characters such as those on automobile tires, verifies the presence of low-contrast items in boxes or packages, identifies surface defects and chips with low or no contrast, measure heights and tilts of components to determine misalignment, and calculates volumes and dimensions for food portioning. The DS1000 3D sensor is integrated with VisionPro software, allowing users to add GigE cameras and 2D inspection tasks.

Cognex Corporation

OEM visualization software

Galileo 8.0 is a software platform for the XV Series of human-machine interfaces from Eaton. This software is designed to help original equipment manufacturers expedite time to market with an easy-to-learn operator interface product design environment. Galileo software provides robust project design tools and functionality without graduated restrictions on tags and screens. It features data bridge functionality and multiple programmable logic controller communication driver support. The Galileo software incorporates project simulation on the development computer and includes various interface styles, extensive recipe and alarm handling, enhanced password handling, as well as convenient series assignment of texts and images to tag.


Process automation system

The latest release of the PlantPAx process automation system allows companies across multiple industries to improve operator effectiveness with automated procedures, enhanced visualization, and new skid-integration capabilities. The system’s new sequencer tool enables companies to easily automate process procedures, perform system modifications, and sequence actions directly through HMI faceplates. If a process change is necessary or an abnormal event occurs, a user with the appropriate login privileges can modify the sequence directly from the HMI screen, rather than waiting for a control system expert to modify the procedure. The PlantPAx system further extends operator effectiveness with a comprehensive HMI toolkit for effective display design and enhanced standards-based alarming.

Rockwell Automation

Multi-touch industrial flat panel monitor

The industrial flat panel SIMATIC IFP1900 MT features new projected capacitive touch technology for the recognition of multi-finger gestures with up to 10 fingers and a highly luminous widescreen 19-in. display with glass front panel. It supplements the current product spectrum of the new industrial flat panels and is mounting compatible with the IFP1900. The units are connected to PCs via DVI or display port interface and USB, especially to SIMATIC IPCs. The SIMATIC IFP1900 MT was designed especially for industrial PC-based visualization and control solutions with innovative multi-finger operator input, where the computer and the HMI unit are mounted separately from one another.

Siemens Industry Inc.

High-level PLC controllers

The SIMATIC S7-1500 line of controllers expands the advantages of the existing SIMATIC S7-1200 controller into higher level PLC applications, adding functionality such as integration motion control. The controllers also have Drive Integration with STARTDRIVE, a commissioning tool for the SINAMICS drive family specifically designed to be fully integrated into the TIA Portal v.12. The S7-1500 line offers integrated PROFINET interfaces, integrated web server, and a large number of functions ideal for various automation applications in discrete automation technology. They also offer increased performance with instruction processing times down to 1 nsec for bit instructions and 10 nsec for floating-point arithmetic, depending on the CPU type.

Siemens Industry Inc.

Controller programming software

TIA Portal SIMATIC STEP 7 v.12 is the ultimate engineering tool for configuration and programming for all SIMATIC controllers. The main feature in SIMATIC STEP 7 v.12 is the support of the new SIMATIC S7-1500 line, and it is particularly suited for customers looking to focus on innovative programming languages; benefit from scalable programming between S7-1200, S7-300, S7-400, and S7-1500 PLCs; obtain more computing power for applications in the range of the CPU 317; and benefit from simpler maintenance and diagnostics. SIMATIC STEP 7 v.12 also offers better machine security, PROFINET as a standard interface, and the ability to engineer controllers, HMIs, and drives in one project.

Siemens Industry Inc.

Hybrid motor starter

The Sirius 3RM1 compact hybrid motor starter is designed as both a direct-on-line starter and a reversing starter with integrated overload protection for smaller motors with a rating of up to 3 hp used for fans, pumps, lifting gear, and machine tools. At 22.5 mm wide, the Sirius 3RM1 reduces space requirements in modern plant and machinery construction for space-saving components. The starter is also characterized by economical hybrid technology that combines the benefits of semiconductor and relay systems in one device: the low-wear semiconductor components are responsible for connection and disconnection operations while an energy-efficient relay system is used during operation.

Siemens Industry Inc.

Author Bio: Amanda McLeman is the research director and project manager of awards programs for CFE Media and Technology.