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Scalable integrated safety and motion from a single controller

28 June 2010

The new Allen-Bradley Compact GuardLogix programmable automation controller uses the same configuration, networking and visualisation environment as the company’s larger-scale systems, providing scalable integrated safety and motion options for a wider range of machines

Rockwell Automation has introduced two new controllers to provide machine builders and manufacturers with integrated safety, motion, discrete and drive control capabilities in a single controller for medium size applications. The Allen-Bradley L43S and L45S Compact GuardLogix programmable automation controllers (PACs) extend capabilities previously available only in the larger Allen-Bradley ControlLogix platform. These include diagnostics and information capabilities that help reduce nuisance shutdowns and prolonged restarts, as well as a single programming environment for enhanced design and development productivity.

The Compact GuardLogix controller is a further example of Rockwell’s strategy to build both ‘standard’ and safety control into a single platform – the company’s ‘Automation Integrated Architecture’ system. Compact GuardLogix controllers use the same configuration, networking and visualisation environment as the company’s larger-scale systems, which helps machine builders and end users to integrate machine or safety applications into larger plant-wide control systems in a more affordable manner.

According to Rockwell’s vice president of portfolio management, Ken Deken, these new Compact PACs open up new opportunities for those manufacturers with medium size applications who previously did not have the means to implement an integrated architecture system with safety functions embedded within it. “The scalability of the Integrated Architecture system means that manufacturers and machine builders can design their applications to include standard and safety control using a single control engine and a single development environment, regardless of the application size,” he claims.

Motion control as well
Compact GuardLogix PACs can control as many as eight axes of integrated motion over the SERCOS communication network. And when used in combination with the Allen-Bradley Kinetix 6200 servo drive, machine builders have access to the drive’s embedded safety functions, which include safe speed control, safe direction and safe torque off.

The controllers also support the use of the Allen-Bradley CompactBlock Guard I/O modules and Allen-Bradley POINT Guard I/O modules on EtherNet/IP, enabling fast system configuration and improved sharing of information. Compact GuardLogix controllers are rated up to Safety Integrity Level 3 (SIL 3) and Performance Level e (PL e) – the highest level of machine safety.

When used with the latest version of Rockwell Software RSLogix 5000 programming software (version 18), the Compact GuardLogix controllers can take advantage of the software’s high-integrity add-on instructions (AOIs) for faster commissioning. AOIs encapsulate code for common routines into pre-validated modules that can be easily reused, helping to save time and reduce the incidence of coding errors.

Manufacturers in highly regulated sectors such as life sciences, and the food and beverage industries can also use their Compact GuardLogix PACs running RSLogix 5000 software to manage revision control, fulfil their regulatory requirements, and even help protect their intellectual property.Ken Deken again:

“Machine builders, integrators and end users are designing contemporary solutions with an eye toward improving safety, achieving higher levels of performance, and realising better integration of a machine with the rest of the manufacturing operation. Through our scalable control platform and advanced configuration environment, manufacturers, suppliers and integrators have more opportunity than before to achieve this goal.”

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