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Rockwell Automation has expanded its high-availability offering to help end users achieve end-to-end fault tolerance in critical control applications.

These capabilities include redundant I/O, alarm and event server redundancy, network resiliency and faster controller cross-loading.

The company said this expansion is suitable for manufacturers in oil and gas, power and heavy process industries that need to minimise unscheduled downtime that can jeopardise worker safety, damage equipment, harm the environment and prevent meeting key performance indicators.

Art Pietrzyk, manager at Rockwell Automation, said: ‘The financial risks associated with downtime, drive the need for manufacturers to implement highly available, fault-tolerant automation systems.

‘Without these precautions in place, manufacturers likely will experience unscheduled downtime, which impacts production schedules, the ability to meet customer commitments and, of course, overall productivity,’ he added.

To prevent downtime, most manufacturers rely on a form of redundancy if a control system shutdown, or loss of visibility, would cause a major loss in data, product or revenue damage equipment, or create a potential hazard.

Redundancy involves the duplication or triplication of equipment needed to operate without disruption, if and when the primary equipment fails.

To avoid weighing down a system with redundancy overload, Rockwell Automation recommends that manufacturers determine the cost of potential failures and make high-availability investments accordingly.

Pietrzyk said: ‘Engineers should enlist methods beyond redundancy to achieve availability, such as component derating, design using diversity and client-server configuration.

‘They must apply the high-availability methods that best match their performance and economic requirements.

‘Our scalable Plantpax process automation system provides an economical, customisable solution for users to achieve high availability,’ he added.

The Rockwell Automation high-availability offering includes several new capabilities.

The Allen-Bradley L7x programmable automation controllers and 19.50 firmware offer improvements in performance and provide faster cross-loading for redundancy systems.

Fault-tolerant I/O provides Safety Integrity Level 2-rated redundant input and output modules including analogue outputs that support redundant Ethernet adapters, all with no additional programming required.

The I/O features built-in diagnostics to help with maintainability.

Factorytalk View SE 6.0 software supports alarm and event server redundancy for auto-synchronisation of device-based and tag-based alarms between active and standby servers and a single alarm history configuration.

Device Level Ring, Star and other Ethernet/IP topologies provide a variety of fault-tolerant networks to meet availability, cost and performance requirements.

With the Device Level Ring topology, for example, the Ethernet/IP network can be set up without the need for additional switches and the wiring is daisy-chained from node to node to help reduce wiring time.

Rockwell Automation

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