Automation controllers integrate factory floor with multiple web standards

Assembly Automation

ISSN: 0144-5154

Article publication date: 1 September 2003




(2003), "Automation controllers integrate factory floor with multiple web standards", Assembly Automation, Vol. 23 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited

Automation controllers integrate factory floor with multiple web standards

Automation controllers integrate factory floor with multiple web standards

Keywords: Fieldbus, Internet, Automation

Nowadays, one of the many challenges facing engineers is getting various automation technologies to work together on the factory floor in a way that optimizes the uptime and yield of their process or factory. To be successful, two fundamental problems must be overcome.

First, an automation scheme must be implemented to monitor and control all the real-world devices, such as stepper and servomotors, analog transducers, switches, sensors, and touch screens. Unfortunately, this is often a difficult problem because the OEM has to struggle with the hardware and software integration of separate CPUs and programming languages from the various controllers connected to these devices.

Second, feedback data on the state of the devices must be made available for analysis so that the operation of these devices can be updated and optimized to meet the ever-changing needs of the factory. While this can sometimes be done manually, it is far more efficient to make device status data available to higher-level enterprise computing systems using automatic means such as networks.

Companies frequently select an intermediary computer using a data collection or SCADA software package to connect to the device controllers via one or more field buses. This computer then collects and packages the data so that it can be sent to other enterprise computers in a form that is usable via an intranet connection. Setting up and maintaining the hardware and software for this type of middleware solution is expensive and time-consuming.

INMOCO with its new Blue Fusion line of integrated controllers from Control Technology Corp., has solved both of these problems (Plate 5).

The Blue Fusion 5100 senes combines fully configurable I/O, motion control, and HMI support with direct device-to-enterprise connectivity in a compact DIN rail-mountable package. Real-world devices are connected directly to the pluggable terminal blocks on the controller. Then, the 5100 is plugged into an existing intranet, Internet, or other Ethernet-based network via its built-in 10/100 Base T Ethernet connection.

Plate 5 The new Blue Fusion line from INMOCO

Versatility, compatibility, and openness

Once the Ethernet connection is made, the 5100 use patented technology to provide authorized users the ability to monitor, control, or even reprogram the 5100 series via Internet browsers and enterprise servers. Blue Fusion's Java-based server engine gives users a truly open solution through its direct support of existing IT and Internet standards, including HTTP, XML, SMTP, and SOAP. Nowadays, getting dynamic, real-time data from the factory floor or from around the world is as easy as viewing a web page or making an XML query.

The 5100 can be easily configured for a wide variety of applications via its six internal function module bays.

The controller can accommodate up to 50 digital and analog I/O points and up to 61/2 axes of stepper or servo control, while two serial ports are available for HMIs, a programming interface, or other senal devices.

For further information, contact: Gerard Bush, Sales Application Engineer, INMOCO Limited, 4 Brunel Close, Drayton Fields, Daventry, NN11 5RB. Tel: 01327 300320, Fax: 01327 300319; E-mail:

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