Rockwell Automation Introduces Enhanced FactoryTalk AssetCentre Software and the Allen-Bradley 856T Control Tower Stack Light System

By Craig Resnick

Company and Product News

Rockwell Automation released its enhanced FactoryTalk AssetCentre software, designed to help its users to more easily manage from hundreds to thousands of automation assets. The latest release provides firmware and software lifecycle information for assets in one place. This helps to save time, because its users no longer need to connect to control cabinets and manually record information for each device.

With the software’s enhanced asset inventory functionality, its users can more quickly scan a network and see which devices are in a specific lifecycle state. Examples include devices running retired firmware or forecasted to be discontinued in the next six months. This helps to identify products in the same lifecycle state so users can better plan for replacements and upgrades. This also helps industrial companies comply with the latest cybersecurity standards, such as IEC 62443, because the latest versions of firmware and software are designed to address many known security vulnerabilities.

The FactoryTalk AssetCentre software also has a new security feature called archive management of change, which helps to automate the process of authorizing who can change files and what they can change. It requires users to explain why files need to be changed and verifies that only necessary files are being checked out. It also locks a file until changes are approved and escalates approval requests when needed. This helps to enhance system security, which is particularly important for industries, such as oil and gas, that require added levels of control over when changes are permitted. For example, a major food company reduced its downtime events from unknown or unauthorized changes by 7 percent using FactoryTalk AssetCentre software. It can also help to reduce downtime due to change management.

These updates add to the software’s existing ability to report discontinuation dates and the availability of replacement products. The enhanced software also now provides disaster-recovery support for more Rockwell Automation devices as well as third-party devices.



Rockwell Automation Releases New Smart Signaling Solution to Help Increase Productivity

Rockwell Automation released its new Allen-Bradley 856T Control Tower Stack Light system, designed to help provide greater flexibility for a wider range of applications with fewer components. This system uses a modular design that incorporates brighter LED illumination and a broader offering of sound technologies. All signals in the system are 24V AC/DC powered, which means that only three power modules can cover the entire system. The latest additions to the 856T Control Tower Stack Light family are IO-Link enabled versions that provides diagnostic information to help ease the integration into a Connected Enterprise.

Greater requirements for production and machine information drives the increasing need for industrial-grade smart devices, which are integral components for smart machines and crucial to capturing operational data. These smart devices provide real-time insight into the status of a control system, resulting in smarter, more informed decisions. By choosing IO-Link enabled versions of Bulletin 856T Control Tower Stack Lights, users can monitor tower light and machine status in real-time, while allowing for simpler remote set-up and troubleshooting.

Smart devices, such as the 856T IO-Link tower light, are foundational to smart machines and equipment, smart systems and knowledge-driven operations. They are often the first step of a digital transformation because they deliver raw, real-time data. This important information can help to reduce unscheduled downtime and improve productivity with information that starts at the plant floor with devices that help to enable predictive maintenance, pinpoint performance issues and reduce repair times.


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