Rockwell Automation Fair 2009 - Smart, Safe & Sustainable Manufacturing

Rockwell Automation Fair 2009 - Smart, Safe & Sustainable Manufacturing

 
By Bill Lydon - Contributing Editor
 
The theme this year was “Smart, Safe and Sustainable Manufacturing.” As usual, the Rockwell Automation Fair was an impressive event with over 8,000 attendees, 82 Encompass partners, 6 machine builders, 3 alliance partners, 7 solution partners, and 7 universities.  Automation Fair is the most successful control show in North America and it creates enormous goodwill for suppliers and attendees.   Training is a big part of the event and allows users to justify the time and money to attend.  Training opportunities this year included hands-on labs, technical sessions, and demonstration workshops. Technical Sessions covered 15 areas including control design, data management, process control, power, and sustainability.
 
There were industry forums for food & beverage, global machine builders, life sciences, oil & gas, water wastewater, and safety automation. The Process Solutions User Group (PSUG) meeting was held the two days before Automation Fair with over 500 attendees.
 
Logix Architecture Everywhere
The focus on process control punctuates Rockwell’s very direct message that the Logix architecture can meet all control and automation requirements from discrete to process control. The Rockwell mantra: the Logix architecture is a unified platform for any automation and control application. 
 
Rockwell Update
The company views safety, OEM machine builders, and process control as key growth areas. Based on the Manufacturing Perspective 2009 event, Process Solutions User Group (PSUG) meeting, and investor meetings, process control is clearly where Rockwell envisions major growth.  
 
Rockwell Automation experienced a decline of about 19% in sales in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009 with significant earnings erosion. 
 
Keith Nosbusch, in the year end earnings conference, reported that Rockwell is progressing on the core strategy started 6 years ago - to expand industries served and expanding geographically. The company now earns about half its revenue outside the USA. While discussing fiscal year 2010, Nosbusch also commented, “…we are providing an outlook for revenue, excluding currency translation, to decline 9 to 2% from 2009.” 
 
Safety is one of Rockwell’s key areas of focus and the company noted that Rockwell has been ranked by the ARC Advisory Group as number 1 in their 2009 Machine Safety study and number 2 in their 2008 Process safety study.
 
Regarding process control, Nosbusch commented, “Year over year we are only 8% down in process, which is substantially better than the company in general” and he added the company had, “significant process wins in FY 2009…we are now recognized by process customers as a DCS provider.”
There is a sense that the industry is at or close to the bottom of this business cycle. Nosbusch reinforced their commitment to the Logix and Integrated Architecture as the foundation for growth. He outlined the Next Business Cycle Growth Accelerators as:
  • Process: Expansion of DCS capabilities including migration of legacy systems.
  • OEMs: Scalable and flexible controls for multiple machine types.
  • Sustainability: Global regulations, productivity, personnel protection.
  • Information: Software for optimization and connectivity.
  • Emerging Markets: China, India, Southeast Asia, Latin America and emerging EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa).
 
Integrated Architecture
Rockwell’s believes its Integrated Architecture, built around Logix, sets it apart from other architectures for the following reasons:
  • Rockwell systems integrate multiple disciplines including discrete, process, batch, motion, drives and safety.
  • Single architecture with common components, and tools in a single architecture.
  • Integrated motion on EtherNet/IP
  • Integrated Real-time Control & Business Information
  • Single Development Environment (Note: exceptions include MicroLogix)
 
OEM Machine Builders
Rockwell has put a renewed emphasis on OEM and machine builder customers with this effort headed up by Christopher Zei, VP OEM Solutions. During the Fair, Rockwell Automation hosted a Global Machine Builders Forum that focused on industry trends and issues impacting machine builders - ways to deliver innovative machines, and best practices for lowering the total design cost for machine applications. Machine builders commented that they are impressed with the professional support from Rockwell.
 
Sustainability
I had a discussion about sustainability with Marcia Walker - Program Manager Sustainable Production. In addition to applying Rockwell products, they launched a sustainability consulting services group last year headed by Doug Burns. Burns explained the Sustainably Services group is responsible for safety, safety risk assessments, safety remediation services, arc flash studies, energy audits, and energy assessment. The goal is to identify saving opportunities in the entire manufacturing operations. Typically, Burns noted, they will find opportunities for 10-15% savings that he classifies in three areas, changing people behavior, reprogramming control strategies, and capital expenditures.   Rockwell currently has 8 consultants in North America, and 3 in Europe.
 
Walker described the seven pillars of their sustainability strategy:
  1. Facility Management
  2. Plant Floor Monitoring
  3. Rockwell has a patent pending methodology to include energy on production bill of materials.
  4. Modeling (example: energy costs, greenhouse gases; emissions)
  5. Controlling
  6. Demand Response
  7. Score Carding
Rockwell’s approach and methodology is similar to what other suppliers in the industry have been doing in these areas as I have reported in the past.
 
Control and Information Networks
In a panel discussion that included Coca-Cola and Proctor & Gamble, there was recognition that IT people need information for business systems but letting them have access to the control system is not a reliable method. IT’s activities cannot impact control performance. Jeff Kent of Proctor & Gamble discussed decoupling the data demands for IT by “mirroring tags in the chassis” and having a separate network for production and business information. This is accomplished with hardware in ControlLogix racks using Online Developments Appliance Transaction Modules or Rockwell’s FactoryTalk Historian ME modules. Both provide access to the Logix information and serve it up to a separate Ethernet network.
 
Foundation Fieldbus or EtherNet/IP?
Endress+Hauser demonstrated the “World’s First Coriolis Mass Flow Meter for EtherNet/IP Networks,” the Promass 83 Coriolis Mass Flow Meter with EtherNet/IP connectivity.    The EtherNet/IP interface gives users direct access to device data without additional configuration or programming.   The RSLogix 5000 programming environment treats the Promass 83 in the same way as any I/O modules, intelligent sensors or actuators on EtherNet/IP with an add-on profile that creates pre-defined tags.   FactoryTalk View global object is also available which can be used for SCADA HMIs or networked computers. This level of integration simplifies engineering and configuration.
 
Open Source EtherNet/IP
Rockwell Automation announced that it is supporting the release of a free, open-source EtherNet/IP software stack for I/O adapter devices developed by the Vienna University of Technology. Designed to connect a wide range of products using open communication standards, developers can download the new license and royalty-free adapter stack through SourceForge.net.
 
Rockwell indicated the open-source communications stack was created and released to the global engineering community by the Odo Struger Laboratory team of researchers from the Vienna University of Technology’s Automation and Control Institute. The stack is an open-source implementation of EtherNet/IP.
 
The lightweight, adapter-class stack is scalable and written in the C programming language. To download the Open-Source EtherNet/IP Adapter stack, visit http://opener.sourceforge.net
 
In order to become an authorized supplier or developer of products built to an ODVA technology, including EtherNet/IP, a company must complete the ODVA Terms of Usage Agreement for that technology, have the agreement countersigned by ODVA, and follow the requirements of the agreement. These requirements include, but are not limited to, obtaining a subscription to the specifications and a vendor ID for the technology, and testing products when the products are developed. (The vendor ID is the method by which ODVA publicly lists those companies who have become vendors of products that use an ODVA technology.)  
 
The ODVA is an international association that supports network technologies based on the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP™) that includes DeviceNet, EtherNet/IP, CompoNet, and ControlNet. www.odva.org
 
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