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Rockwell Automation Introduces Latest Generation PlantPAx Process Automation System


PlantPAx System Release 2.0 features high availability, device integration and asset management, design productivity, batch and sequencing control, and operations productivity

ORLANDO, Fla., — Rockwell Automation has announced the latest generation of its PlantPAx Process Automation System, an integrated control and information solution that helps manufacturers achieve plantwide optimization in a wide range of industries. PlantPAx System Release 2.0 builds on the success of the initial PlantPAx system, adding new features for high availability, device integration and asset management, design productivity, batch and sequencing control, and operations productivity. In addition, a new focused program will help OEMs and skid builders serving process industries reduce their overall costs and minimize their time to market, all while simplifying the integration of their equipment into the user’s process system.

“The Rockwell Automation PlantPAx Process Automation System is gaining significant adoption across a wide customer base,” said Steve Eisenbrown, senior vice president of Architecture and Software, Rockwell Automation. “It’s a strong foundation that allows us to add new platform capabilities and domain expertise to continue to expand our served market deeper into process applications.”

PlantPAx System Release 2.0 capabilities include:

System High Availability – Continuity of operations is critical for many process control applications and is a core discipline of the PlantPAx system. In particular, for 24/7 processes, the PlantPAx system focuses not only on the redundancy of system components, but also on maintainability – helping ensure that problems are detected and corrected without disrupting production. New capabilities include EtherNet/IP network support for redundant systems and Device Level Ring network topology that provides a highly available EtherNet/IP network without any additional infrastructure costs. A new I/O line – based on ICS Triplex technology – adds redundant I/O capability for the system. PlantPAx System Release 2.0 also includes new diagnostics and error checking to help operators and maintenance personnel identify and resolve the root cause of a problem before disrupting production.

Device Integration and Asset Management – The PlantPAx system has a broad portfolio of connectivity options, including HART, Profibus-PA, and Fieldbus Foundation. PlantPAx System Release 2.0 expands on these offerings for an even more scalable portfolio. Another important addition is the integration and asset management of other devices in the system, such as intelligent motor control centers, variable frequency drives, condition monitoring and power control components. Drives, for example, are now exposed via icons and faceplates in the visualization layer, and managed in the asset management layer to provide disaster recovery, automatic backup and restore of drive configuration, and change auditing.

Design Productivity – A focus on design productivity helps enable Rockwell Automation delivery partners to bring a more consistent, modular solution to users more quickly and with less human error. Careful evaluation of the typical DCS configuration workflows has revealed a number of steps that can be simplified or accelerated. This includes initial sizing and architecture design, the creation of reusable engineering and template objects, and engineering and deployment tools for objects and diagnostics in the PlantPAx library.

Batch and Sequencing Control – PlantPAx System Release 2.0 addresses the entire spectrum of batch applications. At the most complex level, new batch server software adds key capabilities like intelligent recipes, improved runtime user control, expanded data collection and reporting, and enhanced material management. For simpler sequencing requirements, such as those encountered in OEM skids or simple startup sequences, PlantPAx System Release 2.0 provides an elegant alternative to traditional custom sequencing solutions. The new Logix Batch and Sequence Manager is an S-88 compliant engine that offers simple configuration and execution and minimizes costly and risky design and maintenance aspects associated with custom code. This unit-scale sequencer also easily integrates into a higher-level batch strategy, helping ensure that OEM solutions, such as clean-in-place skids, easily plug in to plantwide production operations.

Operations Productivity – The PlantPAx approach to operations productivity is a three-tiered solution. At the most basic level, the Rockwell Automation historian collects key process data from within the controller chassis or via a server at the site level. Data is then analyzed in an information and decision support portal. This portal provides appropriate information about the production system based on user role. For example, maintenance personnel might leverage reports showing information such as motor runtimes or valve diagnostics, contrasted with the information needs of operations or quality control departments. Then, as the third tier, PlantPAx System Release 2.0 offers industry-leading optimization solutions. This optimization leverages advanced control techniques for single loops or unit operations or more advanced model predictive solutions for an entire line or plant area.

New Focused Program for Process OEMs and Skid Builders

“Users spend a significant amount of their engineering time – up to 60 percent in some cases – integrating equipment from various vendors into their DCS,” said Som Chakraborti, Process Business director, Rockwell Automation. “PlantPAx System Release 2.0 helps customers reduce this non-value add expense. It introduces a set of architectures and efficiency tools to help equipment manufacturers deliver their scope quicker, and offers end-users simpler integration to their process automation system.

According to ARC Advisory Group research director Larry O’Brien, “Forming collaborative partnerships with process OEMs and skid builders will be a key ingredient in the future success of process automation suppliers. For an OEM or a skid builder, adopting a standard approach to automation such as the PlantPAx system means they can eliminate a lot of custom engineering, reduce time to start up, and provide better connectivity to the rest of the manufacturing enterprise. Rockwell Automation has an advantage in this case because they have been forming these relationships for years.”

PlantPAx System Release 2.0 is available in the first quarter of 2011.

About Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE: ROK), the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information, makes its customers more productive and the world more sustainable. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., Rockwell Automation employs about 19,000 people serving customers in more than 80 countries.

For more information about the Rockwell Automation Process Business, please visit

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