Rockwell Automation Introduces New Controllers for Machine Simplification and Safety Performance Improvement

By Craig Resnick

Company and Product News

Rockwell Automation has introduced the Allen-Bradley GuardLogix 5580 and Compact GuardLogix 5380 controllers that can be scaled from safety system levels SIL 2/PLd to SIL 3/PLe.  This scalability can help users further optimize a safety system design and potentially reduce its costs, while helping to adhere to the latest machine safety regulations.  The controllers also use increased processing power to help achieve faster reaction times and shorter safe distances.  This can result in creating smaller machines that can save floor space and further increase operator efficiencies.

The new controllers can also help users consolidate the number of controllers they use in complex machines.  Having a single higher-performance controller for both standard and safety control can help to improve productivity and reduce the system’s cost, complexity and cabinet size.

Other benefits of the new controllers include:

Increased Communications Capacity: Embedded gigabit Ethernet on the GuardLogix 5580 and Compact GuardLogix 5380 controllers provides increased communications capacity to support an increasing number of smart devices.  This can help users further meet data-intensive smart-manufacturing requirements without adding extra hardware.  It also can help better future proof machines for end users that may someday need to collect and share additional data.  
Increased Machine Productivity: The controllers, when used with the Studio 5000 integrated development environment and Kinetix 5700 servo drive, support new safe-stop, safe-speed, safe-position and other safe-monitoring functions.  These safety functions can create more flexibility in safety system operations, for example, slowing down a machine instead of stopping it when a worker approaches.  This can help to improve machine productivity while still achieving a desired level of safety.  These new functions are implemented using built-in safety instructions available in the Studio 5000 software.

Users can also leverage the safety functions to support applications, such as collaborative robots.  If a human comes too close to the robot, the system can detect their presence and either slow down or stop the robot’s motion. 

The GuardLogix 5580 and Compact GuardLogix 5380 controllers are TÜV certified for functional safety.

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