Rockwell Automation introduces Allen-Bradley GuardLogix which combines standard and safety control functionality

Assembly Automation

ISSN: 0144-5154

Article publication date: 1 July 2006




(2006), "Rockwell Automation introduces Allen-Bradley GuardLogix which combines standard and safety control functionality", Assembly Automation, Vol. 26 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Rockwell Automation introduces Allen-Bradley GuardLogix which combines standard and safety control functionality

Rockwell Automation introduces Allen-Bradley GuardLogix which combines standard and safety control functionality

Keywords: Safety, Control systems

Rockwell Automation has introduced a new safety controller that leverages the company's highly successful integrated architecture, allowing for faster implementation, improved productivity and easier ability to meet today's advanced safety control requirements (Plate 4).

Plate 4 The new Allen-Bradley GuardLogix controller

The new Allen-Bradley GuardLogix controller from Rockwell Automation features a two-processor safety architecture and is rated up to a safety integrity level (SIL) 3 functionality. SIL 2 and SIL 3 are the most common SILs required in machinery and process safety applications, making GuardLogix ideal for a wide range of safety applications.

GuardLogix safety controllers are based on the same Logix control engine, networking, and I/O as other Rockwell Automation integrated architecture control systems. This design commonality, along with using the standard RSLogix 5000 software, allows for better sharing of information, reduced training costs and faster programming and commissioning. Rockwell Automation integrated architecture features multidisciplined control across process, discrete, motion, drive and safety applications, as well as seamless connectivity to plant-wide information systems.

“As the first safety control solution for integrated architecture, GuardLogix is a leap forward for machine safety,” said Kevin Colloton, GuardLogix Product Manager, Rockwell Automation: “An immediately apparent benefit is its ease of programming. Although safety control has specific and unique requirements compared to standard control, users can now program and manage their safety control system using familiar standard control methods.”

“Safety has moved to the forefront of critical topics for manufacturers in recent years, and many are learning how an intelligent safety strategy can become a competitive advantage rather than a cost burden”, said Craig Resnick, research director, ARC Advisory Group. “Factors driving this increasing trend go beyond the desire to minimize risks and improve public image. These factors include metrics that point to integrated safety systems helping to improve the bottom line by reducing downtime and increasing Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) and Return on Assets (ROA), and the harmonization of international safety standards that allow machine OEMs to develop and deploy globally acceptable safety solutions.”

Standard programming environment

GuardLogix uses Rockwell Software RSLogix 5000 programming software, the same development tool used by all Logix programmable automation controllers. Existing Logix users are already familiar with the system, which helps reduce training and design time, while new users will appreciate the flexible tag-based system that allows programmers to use real names rather than physical addresses. RSLogix 5000 software also helps manage safety memory, so users do not have to manually manage the separation of standard and safety memory or worry about partitioning logic to isolate safety- related data.

System development

During a GuardLogix system development, safety control is managed the same as standard control. Plus, with online editing, the development and debug environment is much easier for users. Once the project is tested and ready for final validation, the user sets the safety task to SIL 3, which is then enforced by the GuardLogix controller. Safety memory is locked to a SIL 3 state, logic is protected, but the standard side of GuardLogix continues to operate like a regular Logix controller.

Integrated safety

Safety memory can be read by standard logic and external devices such as human machine interfaces and other controllers. This is a time saver with the elimination of having to set up or condition safety data from a dedicated safety device. Users have easy system- wide integration and the ability to easily display safety status on displays.

GuardLogix controllers leverage common industrial protocol safety on DeviceNet for safety I/O connectivity, and EtherNet/IP for safety interlocking between GuardLogix processors. This allows multiple GuardLogix controllers to share safety data for safe interlocking between different cells/areas.

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