Rockwell Automation Expands Allen-Bradley® GuardPLC™ Family

March 252004
Distributed safety features in new controllers help reduce wiring costs, improve reliability and ease troubleshooting

MILWAUKEE, March 25, 2004 — OEMs and end users designing large safety systems will benefit from the cost-efficiency and reliability advantages of distributed safety I/O as a result of the recently expanded Allen-Bradley® GuardPLC™ line from Rockwell Automation.

The new products include two new controllers — the GuardPLC 1600 and the GuardPLC 1800 — new programming software and three I/O blocks that bring distributed I/O to safety applications. By placing the I/O closer to the application, users have shorter wiring runs, which reduce the total cost of a machine, improve reliability and ease troubleshooting.

“Machine designers already realizing the economic benefits of distributed standard I/O will be able to net the same gain by implementing distributed safety I/O,” said Jeff Gellendin, product marketing manager, Rockwell Automation. “This is great news for users with SIL 3 and Category 4 applications, since all of our GuardPLC products are designed for and certified to these standards. Companies can now meet their safety requirements at a lower cost, and with higher reliability than before.”

The GuardPLC 1600 offers 20 digital inputs and eight digital outputs. The GuardPLC 1800 offers 24 digital inputs and eight digital outputs, plus eight analog outputs and two high-speed counters. Both models feature integrated four-port Ethernet switches, eliminating the need to purchase, mount and install extra networking hardware to link the GuardPLCs to their distributed I/O and to each other. The GuardPLCs communicate to their distributed I/O blocks and to each other on GuardPLC Ethernet, a 100Mbit safety-rated network that is the fastest in the industry. “Speed is critical in safety systems, because it determines where safety devices are mounted,” Gellendin said. “With the new GuardPLCs, users get the fastest safety controllers available today, connected to the fastest safety network in the industry. As a result, the system can relay data more quickly, reducing the safety distance and improving overall operator efficiency.”

The new controllers join the GuardPLC 1200 and GuardPLC 2000 systems. All of the GuardPLC controllers, Distributed I/O, and GuardPLC Ethernet network have been designed specifically for safety applications and have been certified by TÜV Rheinland for use in SIL 3 and Category 4 applications according to IEC 61508 and EN-954, respectively.

The GuardPLC IB16 distributed I/O block features 16 digital inputs, an integrated two-port Ethernet switch, and four pulse test sources that detect channel-to-channel shorts, channel-to-24V dc shorts, channel-to-ground shorts and open wires. The GuardPLC OB16 offers 16 digital outputs, up to 2A per point, and an integrated two-port Ethernet switch.

The GuardPLC IB20XOBB has 20 digital inputs and eight digital outputs, and an integrated two-port Ethernet switch.

Users will also find improved speed and ease of use in the next generation of programming software for GuardPLC. RSLogix™ Guard PLUS! features offline simulation that allows programmers to write and test their programs before downloading them to the controller and connecting the controller to the devices. The enhanced software is project-based so users can store programs for multiple controllers in just one project file. This makes it much easier to track and locate all related programs for the controllers in a system.

The new GuardPLC products are available in April 2004.

Rockwell Automation (NYSE: ROK) is a world-leading provider of industrial automation power, control and information solutions that help customers meet their manufacturing productivity objectives. The company brings together leading brands in industrial automation for Complete Automation® solutions, including Allen-Bradley controls and engineered services and Rockwell Software® factory management software, Dodge® mechanical power transmission products, and Reliance Electric® motors and drives. The company also is a leading provider of contact management technologies and applications that help companies more efficiently manage interaction with their own customers. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., USA, the company employs about 22,000 people serving customers in more than 80 countries.

For more information on the GuardPLC product line, please contact the Rockwell Automation Response Center, 10701 Hampshire Avenue South, Bloomington, Minn., 55438, 800.223.5354, Ext. 1702.

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