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2014 Product of the Year finalists: Automation & Controls

Finalists in the Automation & Controls category for the Plant Engineering 2014 Product of the Year competition.


Cognex Corporation DataMan 8050Industrial barcode readers

The DataMan 8050 series of industrial handheld barcode readers are designed with ruggedized housing to handle harsh factory floor conditions and equipped with Cognex’s barcode reading algorithms to make reading even the most challenging barcodes a quick and easy task. The 8050 series utilizes Cognex’s patented 1DMax+ with Hotbars algorithms to provide high-speed reading performance even with damaged, low-contrast, or direct inkjet barcodes. Cognex’s 2-D algorithms allow the 8050 to rapidly decode a variety of 2-D symbologies, including DataMatrix, QR, PDF417, and Aztec codes. The modular design of the DataMan 8050 adapts to customers’ changing communication needs.

Cognex Corp.

Performance diagnostic tool

ControlSoft’s INTUNE+ I&C INSIGHT for power plants informs instrumentation and controls engineers and technicians about the results of performance diagnostics on process controllers and plant floor final elements. INSIGHT gives crews the crucial ability to view and access how process variability propagates through various process areas and the control hierarchy. Unique features include: performance diagnotic messages, process fault root-cause analysis, real-time status overview, tuning status for DCS PID controllers, easy access to color-coded list of performance indicators, and customization and expansion for specific customer needs.

ControlSoft Inc.

Eaton SL Series
Industrial stacklights

The SL series is Eaton’s newest range of stacklight solutions designed to improve control over key processes and enhance machine availability in industrial applications. With the ability to display up to five processes at once and configure a range of audible notifications, the Eaton SL series stacklights enable safe and convenient oversight of machine processes. The modular and compact design of the SL7 and SL4 stacklights allows for easy configuration even in applications where space is limited. A unique twist-and-lock feature enables easy dismantling and mounting of complete towers in the field, allowing modules to be interchanged with a simple twist.


Facts Engineering, AutomationDirect Productivity3000
Ethernet/IP CPU controller

AutomationDirect’s Productivity3000 controller supports the ODVA’s EtherNet/IP as a standard protocol. Through its embedded Ethernet port, the P3-550 CPU can support EtherNet/IP configurable as a scanner or adapter. The P3-550 CPU can communicate to devices using explicit messaging or implicit I/O messaging methods. These common implementations offer access to the majority of the EtherNet/IP devices available. In scanner mode, the P3-550 CPU supports up to 128 total connections with a maximum of 32 devices. Enabling the CPU to support and exchange EtherNet/IP messages requires completing fill-in-the-blank style configuration and message instruction windows in the software.

Facts Engineering & AutomationDirect,


Rockwell Automation Allen-Bradley Stratix 5100 WAP
Wireless access point

The Allen-Bradley Stratix 5100 wireless access point (WAP) extends the reach of EtherNet/IP and offers detailed, easily accessible production data. Users can access data from remote and difficult-to-reach areas, and can share this data between automation systems or feed it into information systems. Unlike typical wireless clients that connect only a single IP address, the Stratix 5100 WAP enables engineers to connect up to 19 IP addresses simultaneously—helping reduce design time when integrating machines and equipment into the industrial control network. The Stratix 5100 WAP is ideal for industrial networks needing secure and reliable wireless connectivity.

Rockwell Automation

Siemens SIMATIC S7-1518F
Fail-safe controller

The SIMATIC S7-1518F is a powerful fail-safe controller with a bit performance of 1 ns. Designed to increase flexibility, safety, efficiency, and productivity at the plant floor level, the safety controller is suitable for demanding standard and safety-related machine and plant automation applications. Its integrated technology functions for motion, control, counting, and measuring. It also accommodates up to 128 drive axes, operates isochronously in 250 μs, and features onboard display where diagnostics messages can be seen without the need of a programming device. The display also shows safety status (activated/deactivated), safety signature, and last fail-safe modification.


Weidmuller u-remote
Distributed I/O platform

The Weidmuller u-remote distributed I/O platform delivers a streamlined design with features that include hot-swappable slices, an integrated self-configuring web server interface, simple plug-in connections, and LED indication at each point. The u-remote design ensures fast installation and setup, and improved machine performance and productivity. At only 11.5 mm wide per I/O slice, its slim design and high-channel density make it a feature-rich distributed I/O platform. Using Weidmuller’s Push-In wire technology, each point is clearly visible with LED status indication. The card slices are hot-swappable and can be installed, updated, and removed without the need for any tools.