Hosting the Fair on the Railroad Tracks
The Automation Fair was hosted in the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The building uses to host a different type of technology: the railroad. The old Philadelphia & Reading Railroad was built in the early 1890s. It operated as the main commuter hub for 91 years and closed its doors in 1984. In 1998 the terminal was given new life as the convention center.
Introducing the Main Pillars of Rockwell Automation
When it comes to technology integration, Rockwell is an experienced player. Blake Moret, chairman and CEO of Rockwell Automation introduces the different levels of technology at Rockwell. For years, the main staple of Rockwell has been their traditional Allen-Bradley programmable logic controllers (PLCs). PLCs help control and drive several layers of automation and motion control. Rockwell Automation then brings in its higher level automated control system and FactoryTalk software. These platforms help bring levels of factory automation, data gathering, and analytics to manufacturing systems.
The Partnership of PTC and Rockwell Automation
Next on the main stage was president and CEO of PTC Jim Heppelmann. Rockwell Automation and PTC announced a strategic partnership in 2018, combining to powerhouses of technology under one roof. Here Heppelmann is introducing to Automation Fair crowd the power of PTC’s generative design tool and how computer-aided design software can assist in creating the part designs that are more efficient, stronger, and minimalist material usage.
The Academy of Advanced Manufacturing: One Year Later
The goal of the academy was to help veterans acquire new skills and learn how to operate in the manufacturing world, eventually leading to job placement at a major manufacturing or automation company. This year Joe Allie, director of Global Business Competency, hosted a panel on the current progress of the academy. This included two representatives from Federal Mogul and Thermo Systems that had hired veterans from the program, and Scott Bingham and Ryan Clouse, two veterans formerly enrolled in the academy that have gone on to work at Southwire and Rexel, respectively.
Advanced Motion Control Products from Asco, Numatics, and Aventics
Emerson acquired in 2018 Aventics and now houses their product line including Asco and Numatics. All three product lines are Rockwell Partner Network Members, ensuring that they work and sync well with Rockwell products like the Allen-Bradley line of PLCs.
FANUC’s PLC Palletizer
Integration of technology is very common at the Automation Fair. Here a FANUC robot is being integrated with an Allen-Bradley PLC and being used to operate a palletizer.
LinMot’s Linear Motors
LinMot’s linear motors were on display at the Automation Fair. Their motors employ direct electromagnetic principles providing direct linear movement without the use of cams, gears, belts, or other mechanical devices. The engine is comprised of a slider and stator where the slider made of neodymium magnets.
Tolomatic’s Electromagnetic Actuators
The IMA integrated motor actuator is a compact, durable, high force rod-style actuator with an IP65 rating. It integrates a servo motor into a ball or roller screw-driven actuator to provide an efficient and high force design. The actuator was featured in Rockwell’s Journal magazine, highlighting’s it's stronger and faster motion control over hydraulic actuated control.
Wittenstein’s Line of Motor Drives
The full line of Wittenstein gearboxes were on display at the Automation Fair. The lineup of alpha basic, value, advanced, and premium help fill the many needs of motion engineers. Each gearbox offers different arcmin performance range from 20 arcmins to less than 1 arcmin.
Posital Fraba’s Motor Feedback Encoder for Robots
The new feedback encoder from Posital Fraba is specifically designed for use in robotics. It is a low cost and high functionality encoder that helps bridge the gap between different motor drives and provides different upgrade options for end users.
Rockwell’s Smart Motor Analytics
FactoryTalk TeamONE software offers users the ability to monitor the motor drives with their smartphones. The software was introduced last year at Automation Fair and is now being expanding to include new products and Connected Partner Network members,
Festo and FactoryTalk TeamONE Connectivity
Festo is the first outside vendor that is able to capitalize on the computing power of FactoryTalk TeamONE. The Shelby software within TeamONE offers Ethernet discovery, which can find connected devices within the same Ethernet network. The software can pull diagnostic information directly from the Festo line of products and provide notifications and alerts to the end user.
CIP Security for PLCs and Network Devices
The new security software from Rockwell Automation offers enhanced critical infrastructure protection (CIP) for any device connected to its Ethernet network. The CIP security prevents a hacker from gaining control by blocking non-authorized instruction packets. The device remains in standby while the security continuously blocks the hack. The enhanced security platform automatically recognizes new devices and allows them to be easily grouped into security blocks.
Odos Imaging Capturing Products on the Line
Odos Imaging is Rockwell’s company for machine vision and advanced vision systems. Here the camera is capturing in-depth digital images of the cans traveling on the conveyor line. These cameras are not just capturing the top layer images but also 3D model captures for complete product verification.
PTC Partnership with Rockwell Automation Brings Augmented Reality to the Forefront
The partnership of Rockwell Automation and PTC introduces a new ThingWork IoT Platform which allows for advanced augmented reality capabilities. The Vutoria Studio, free to download in most app stores, can capture easily real-world objects and overlay them with digital instructions. The app allows for communication between two devices so users can tackle operation problems together. The app highly details and provides everything from installation instructions to live video markups.
FIRST Robotics and Rockwell Automation Creating the Future of Engineering
The best part of the Automation Fair is seeing the future of engineering. Rockwell has long been a partner with FIRST Robotics and this year they brought the FIRST Lego League to show off their talents. Here Jay Flores, Global STEM Ambassador at Rockwell Automation, and a FIRST Lego League expert help me find a clue in Rockwell’s hidden facts scavenger hunt.