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Rockwell Automation has launched version 2.0 of its Plantpax process automation system, an integrated control and information solution that helps manufacturers achieve plant-wide optimisation.

Plantpax 2.0 builds on 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 minimise their time-to-market, all while simplifying the integration of their equipment into the user’s process system.

Continuity of operations is critical for many process control applications and is a core discipline of the Plantpax system, according to Rockwell Automation.

In particular, for 24/7 processes, the Plantpax system focuses on the redundancy of system components and 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.

An I/O line based on ICS Triplex technology adds redundant I/O capability for the system.

Plantpax 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.

The system has a broad portfolio of connectivity options, including Hart, Profibus-PA and Fieldbus Foundation.

Another addition is the integration and asset management of other devices in the system, such as intelligent motor control centres, variable-frequency drives, condition monitoring and power control components.

Drives, for example, are now exposed via icons and faceplates in the visualisation layer, and managed in the asset management layer to provide disaster recovery, automatic back-up and restore of drive configuration and change auditing.

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.

Plantpax 2.0 addresses the entire spectrum of batch applications.

At the most complex level, new batch server software adds key capabilities such as 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 start-up sequences, Plantpax 2.0 provides an alternative to traditional custom sequencing solutions.

The Logix Batch and Sequence Manager is an S-88 compliant engine that offers simple configuration and execution and minimises costly and risky design and maintenance aspects associated with custom code.

This unit-scale sequencer also integrates into a higher-level batch strategy, helping ensure that OEM solutions, such as clean-in-place skids, easily plug into plant-wide production operations.

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 analysed 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 2.0 offers optimisation solutions.

This optimisation leverages advanced control techniques for single loops or unit operations or more advanced model predictive solutions for an entire line or plant area.

Users spend a significant amount of their engineering time – up to 60 per cent in some cases – integrating equipment from various vendors into their DCS, said Som Chakraborti, process business director at Rockwell Automation.

Plantpax 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.

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

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