Achieving faster time to market is key to get ahead and stay in the lead of the competition
When time means money, deploying new or replacing dated equipment can be a complex and time consuming process. Added to this are challenges around workforce changeover where experienced staff are retiring and taking their knowledge with them; and keeping up with advancing and evolving technologies.
Throughout the supply chain, from manufacturers to end users, all are striving to boost efficiency and effectiveness. In order to optimize performance, both the architecture and each component within must be designed appropriately, and the resource allocation must be efficiently performed. A simpler, holistic integration can help machine builders consolidate high levels of complexity and connectivity while having development time and costs on the watch.
Simplifying Machine Design and Configuration
As industrial automated production and information systems continue to grow in complexity, productivity is becoming increasingly important in all aspects of manufacturing operations – including the machine design and configuration stages.
The traditional labor intensive approach of manually integrating and configuring devices and systems is doubtlessly time-consuming, costly and counter-intuitive to the needs of today’s manufacturers.
Achieving faster time-to-market is key to get ahead and stay in the lead of the competition. There is no time to build a system from scratch, nor deal with the compatibility risks that come with off-the-shelf components.
When companies are using devices from multiple vendors, they often encounter difficulties in getting the devices to communicate and operate in tandem with each other. Such problematic issues can result in extended engineering time and increased costs. Besides, an array of devices in the control system can create maintenance challenges in the future.
To perform efficient engineering as well as greater synchronization in operations, a better integration between controller and devices is particularly essential for designing and building products.
Experience Premier Integration
Rockwell Automation has introduced the Premier Integration experience to represent the next level of controller and device integration. More than just connecting process, power, information and safety into one control architecture, Premier Integration performs a seamless integration that simplifies and streamlines system design, maintenance and operation for any networked automation systems, thus addressing common yet vital operational challenges.
With a foundation constructed by a Logix-based control architecture and intelligent Allen-Bradley devices, Premier Integration is unique to a wide range of specific control-system elements from Rockwell Automation, such as controllers, devices, motor control centers (MCC) and soft starters.
Executing controllers programming, devices configuration and maintenance management processes all within one single software environment can be said as another defining characteristic of Premier Integration.
With these capabilities, manufacturers and engineers can ease integration, cut development time, improve information visibility and productivity in manufacturing operations since all they need now is a centralized intelligent platform for leveraging many different devices.
To meet challenges in this world of smart manufacturing and to establish The Connected Enterprise, flexibility and responsiveness are as important as effectiveness.
Acquiring a fleet of Smart tools and software, Rockwell Automation brings OEMs the opportunity to gain a Premier Integration experience and the ability to respond more quickly to changing market and business needs, while helping to reduce total costs of ownership, including maintenance and training.
Survey: Benefits of a Premier Integration Experience
In a recent survey by TechValidate, industrial manufacturers were asked about the benefits of using an integrated solution of a PowerFlex drive, Studio 5000 software and a Logix-based controller.
64 percent of respondents have reduced engineering time with an integrated programming experience from Rockwell Automation, and 63 percent successfully achieve improved diagnostics. The results can be seen in the graph to the left.
Advances in Integration Technologies
Integration of technologies continues to evolve and advance at a rapid rate. Since industrial automation devices have become more dependent on digital communication, the success of a project will depend highly on how easily devices and components are configured to exchange data across digital networks.
In today’s world of smart manufacturing, Premier Integration can offer OEMs a business-enhancing alternative to the traditional integration approach. As the integration of technologies evolves over time, it is becoming increasingly important for machine builders to adopt modernized and advanced integration technologies.
Configuring and programming on a common platform can help save time and money. With the intuitive and user-friendly Studio 5000 software, you can integrate Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs), motion, safety and process into one infrastructure by using one control engine and one network technology across applications, operations and environments plant-wide.
It provides a standardized way to share data, tags and alarms across multiple design applications so that engineers are allowed to configure information once and use it across the entire automation system. Likewise, they can configure all elements of the automation system in one place, rather than using multiple tools for control and visualization.
When a system is operational, operators and maintenance technicians can view all system components from a central location so that they can easily reconfigure devices, troubleshoot and access information. Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) is an application-layer protocol that delivers plantwide communication for control, device configuration and data collection. Based on the CIP, EtherNet/IP enables real-time, deterministic control for both drives and servo drives.
Multiple motors can be accurately coordinated through the combination of synchronization capabilities in Logix-based controllers. These exclusive application resources are available for AC and servo drives that present the specific, device independent profile supporting synchronization over the network. Works for engineers can be done more easily since they will not need to do programming nor make changes every time over again.
Besides reducing integration complexity, Premier Integration is capable of shortening engineering time and associated costs in numerous ways:
Device Mapping and Configuration
The Logix-based controller can recognize specific Allen-Bradley components and automatically import their device profiles. When integrating an Allen-Bradley PowerFlex AC drive, the engineer can simply select the specific module and the Studio 5000 software will then automatically pull in all drive parameters.
Mapping devices will become easier since the engineer no longer has to manually associate parameter numbers with descriptions or enter the drive’s details, such as power and voltage. Also, using a single software environment and configuring the controller and drive network connections from a single location can reduce costly development errors and eliminate input/output (I/O) mismatch inaccuracies.
The copy-and-paste capabilities within the Studio 5000 software can help reduce the time needed to integrate additional, similar devices once they are configured. If duplicate devices are needed for the same project, the engineer could simply copy the original to create additional device nodes. The Studio 5000 software automatically transfers the descriptive tag names and configuration settings used in the original drive to the new drives through the copy-and-paste process.
Within a Logix-based architecture, engineers can write an entire program with meaningful tag names before the physical hardware is ready, and assign the physical module and terminal information at a later time. Such tag-aliasing capability is commonly used to develop programs before wiring diagrams are available. It allows concurrent development and programmers need not wait for the design-engineering group to complete its electrical layout; thus it shortens the time for product designs to get to market.
As an essential element of Premier Integration, library management enables engineers to store, manage and reuse code from their programs efficiently. It saves development time while also building on the outcomes of successful projects. Project code can be exported to the code library for use again in future projects or even to establish a new company standard for similar applications. Engineers can simply drag and drop the code from the library into the new project whenever they wish to reuse the content.
Self and System Aware Smart Devices
Advancements in smart devices that can be easily integrated into your automation control system and network provide a more simplified way for you to design your machines. This integration provides visibility to your operations allowing you to be more efficient. You can take this information to make better decisions that can improve systems or processes, and monitor the performance of devices and your machines allowing you to maintain your productivity.
In addition to being self-aware and system-aware, the devices need to be seamlessly integrated and provide the right data. Self-aware and system-aware smart assets when enhanced with contemporary technologies such as scalable computing, analytics and mobility, create the foundation for our high performance architecture.
While each of these technologies can add value to industrial processes, the transformational value is only realized when they are integrated together into an architecture. It is all about seamless connectivity. The transformational value of the architecture comes from the implementation of an automation system that is intuitive, self-adaptive and secure. With Premier Integration we leverage the common Ethernet/IP backbone to work with our analytic platforms while providing a common and consistent experience for all Rockwell Automation Devices (from a controller to a VFD to a servo drive).
Just as increasing self-aware and system-aware devices are integrated with automation systems, the importance of analytics continues to grow. These devices acquire and process data to report on information such as self-diagnostics and energy use. Premier Integration enables users to easily integrate into FactoryTalk Analytics for Devices where operators can see and make sense of data, without being overwhelmed.
Mobility and Visualization
Leading industrial producers are using visualization to enhance decision-making and operational efficiency – providing insights to critical production, process information and enterprise data. Industrial software now allows you to create, modify, personalize and access your own displays of business and process information, in the office, at the machine, at home or on any mobile device.
The software’s dashboard on your device can be personalized to contain the specific information you need. You can access historical and real-time data reports from anywhere, anytime.
A Whole New Integrated World
Improvements in controller-device integration help OEMs move one step closer to smart manufacturing and design smart machines and automation systems by achieving effective connectivity. An effective level of integration mitigates redundant programming while establishing functional connectivity within the controller-device network.
In addition, Premier Integration gives engineers an exclusive integration and configuration experience and assures operators and technicians that they will have the secure and accurate information needed to keep machines running more productively and profitably. Therefore, every piece of information can then be used to make better decisions from the machine up to the enterprise level.
The race is on to achieve faster time to market, together with increased productivity and profitability. To achieve this, industrial producers are leveraging the benefits that new technologies provide to deliver connected, information-enabled enterprises. The Premier Integration experience enables users to seamlessly design, commission, maintain protect and report on the automation assets in a Connected Enterprise.