2015 Product of the Year Finalists: Automation & Controls

Finalists in the Automation & Controls category for the Plant Engineering 2015 Product of the Year competition.


Bedrock AutomationSecure control system

Bedrock is an extensively patented control and IO architecture with a pinless electromagnetic IO backplane; deeply embedded cyber security; and computation power that surpasses the needs of conventional programmable logic controller, remote terminal unit, and distributed-control system automation applications. Simplifying system maintenance are universal software-configurable I/O channels with single-, dual- or triple-modular redundancy and single or dual digital-power and universal controllers. Bedrock is an open automation platform with an integrated development environment supporting IEC 61131 control languages and an embedded OPC unified architecture server, simplifying integration to multiple SCADA human-machine interface and factory/manufacturing execution-system applications.

Bedrock Automation

Roto-Bin-Dicator Pro, Bindicator Co.
Paddle-wheel level switch

Roto-Bin-Dicator PRO is an advanced paddle-wheel level indicator for the bulk solids industry that performs self-diagnostics and differentiates between faults both in and out of material—reducing downtime, product spills, and maintenance costs. This device monitors the level of material and indicates when there has been a change. The fail-safe Roto PRO model comes standard with functional diagnostics that detect a unit fault even when the paddle is buried in material. Roto PRO is also able to differentiate between faults with flashing LED sequences. Bindicator uses patent-pending technology Back Electromotive Force (BEMF) to determine if the motor has stalled or the gear train has failed.

Bindicator Co.

In-Sight 8405, Cognex
Stand-alone vision system

The In-Sight 8405 compresses an entire 5-MP stand-alone vision system into one small package. Its compact size, together with Power over Ethernet to minimize cabling and a nonlinear calibration tool that enables mounting at angles of up to 45 degrees, makes the In-Sight 8405 ideal for integrating into tight spaces on robots and hard-to-reach machinery on the production line. The system offers vision tools that are optimized to run at high speed, including PatMax RedLine pattern matching, filtering (grayscale), advanced defect-detection tools, ID tools (1-D, 2-D, and OCR), and the foundation tools of blob, edge, histogram, and nonlinear calibration.


Dual-cabinet electronic temperature control

EXAIR’s Electronic Temperature Control (ETC) for dual-cabinet cooler systems installed on large or high heat-load enclosures keeps electrical units cool while minimizing compressed air use. Available in cooling capacities up to 5,600 BTUh, the ETC accurately maintains a constant temperature in the electrical enclosure that is slightly under the maximum rating of the electronics. It permits just enough cooling for the electronics without going so cold as to waste compressed air. The polycarbonate-plastic enclosure of the ETC is suitable for NEMA 4, 4X, and 12 environments and works with EXAIR’s UL-listed dual-cabinet cooler.


EZProx, EZAutomation
Inductive proximity sensor

EZProx is an inductive proximity sensor featuring a patent-pending 360 Red LED visual light ring when the output is on, which provides a visual indicator when a metal object has been detected. Made up of a robust IP67, NEMA 6P construction, EZProx extended/triple sense models offer sensing ranges up to 30 mm for a 30-mm round sensing head. The EZProx family offers a selection of M8, M12, M18, and M30 three-wire dc inductive switches. It supports both the NPN and PNP outputs, with normally opened or normally closed circuits. Both shielded (flush) and unshielded (non-flush) options with a 2-m integral cable or M12 standard connector are offered.


Productivity2000, Facts Engineering
Micro-modular PLC

The Productivity2000 is a micro-modular rack-based programmable logic controller (PLC) that supports up to 240 local I/Os for discrete, analog, and motion applications with full-featured programming software. The high-performance P2-550 central processing unit (CPU) features a 50-MB memory and LED status indicators as well as an organic LED diagnostic text display with keypad for status, configuration, system alarms, and user-defined messages. The CPU is fitted with five communications ports—including USB, Ethernet, RS-232, and RS-485—and offers micro-SD-card data logging. The two 10/100-Mbps Ethernet ports support programming and client/server connections (Modbus TCP, Ethernet/IP scanner, and adapters), and connection of up to 16 variable frequency drives.

Facts Engineering

Diamond Controls, Mitsubishi Electric
Building automation controller/server

Diamond Controls is a fully customizable building automation solution that allows users to manage multiple systems from multiple manufacturers through a single interface with the use of one integrator. Users can integrate and control mechanical systems within a building, within multiple buildings on a site, and on multiple sites from a centralized location. Diamond Controls aggregates and displays information (real-time data, alerts, schedules) for all integrated systems in a single Web browser. Displayable trends include: building and space occupancy, carbon dioxide levels, energy generation (solar), energy usage, and humidity levels. Floor plans and building equipment are displayed in high-resolution 3-D format.

Mitsubishi Electric U.S. Inc., Cooling & Heating Division

Rockwell Software Studio 5000 Logix Designer v24, Rockwell Automation
Control system, manufacturing operation software

Rockwell Software Studio 5000 Logix Designer v24 provides design capabilities that can increase automation productivity, improve start-up time, and reduce costs throughout a project's life cycle. New capabilities include an application-centric view of code, enhanced work flows for efficient reuse of content, and collaborative tools that make it easier for multiple people to work together. The software is used to configure Allen-Bradley Logix5000 controllers for discrete, process, batch, motion, safety, and drive control. Studio 5000 Logix Designer features a logical organizer that arranges program code based on the users' applications, rather than how the programmable controller executes.

Rockwell Automation

Building Insights, Schneider Electric
Cloud-based monitoring solution

Schneider Electric's Building Insights solution provides enterprises with multisite portfolios of small buildings—such as restaurants, retail stores, health care offices, and banks—with the ability to efficiently manage multiple sites simultaneously via a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Armed with actionable information, building owners and managers can make smarter energy-management decisions to achieve up to a 30% reduction in energy costs while optimizing operations, increasing energy efficiency, reducing risks, and improving occupant comfort. With the solution's foundation in the cloud, facility managers can monitor and manage their facilities through powerful cloud-based software that offers a custom dashboard.

Schneider Electric

ET200SP Open Controller, Siemens
Distributed open controller

The SIMATIC ET 200SP open controller combines the functions of a PC-based software controller with visualization, PC applications, and central I/Os in a compact device. The already installed and preconfigured SIMATIC S7-1500 software controller, the PC-based version of SIMATIC S7-1500, is used for control. The SIMATIC ET 200SP open controller provides know-how, access protection, and important automation functions. The open controller is expandable by ET 200SP modules and is optimized for series-machine manufacturing as well as for machines with distributed architecture. The ET 200SP open controller requires minimum space and can be accommodated in compact control boxes directly on the machine.


SIMATIC HMI Mobile Panel, Siemens
HMI mobile panels

The Profinet-wired SIMATIC human-machine-interface (HMI) mobile panel (second generation) is available with an extended range of functions in the display sizes of 7 and 9 in. The panels feature a widescreen display, simple configuration, and an illuminated emergency-stop button. These mobile HMI devices benefit from the functionality and performance of the SIMATIC HMI comfort panels. In addition, the panels offer more flexibility and convenience of the user. Highlights include the widescreen display with 16 million colors and the WinCC engineering tool in the Total Integrated Automation Portal with Style Editor to ensure efficient engineering and maximum user-friendliness.


SIMATIC S7-1200F Safety Controller, Siemens
Minimal-space safety controller

The SIMATIC S7-1200 safety controller is ideal for simple and autonomous tasks in the low- to mid-performance ranges. Designed to increase flexibility, safety, efficiency, and productivity at the plant floor level, these compact devices are characterized by minimal space requirements; telecontrol capability; and integrated technology modules for measuring, weighing, and counting. Functionalities include drag-and-drop, projectwide cross-reference list, safety-administration editor, online/offline comparator, and more. The SIMATIC S7-1200F is certified to EN 61508, up to SIL 3 according to IEC 62061, and PLe according to ISO 13849. Optimized security, copy, and manipulation protection are also integrated into the S7-1200.


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