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Cisco Live UK: Day 4, Part 2 – Rockwell Automation IP Ethernet

February 3, 2012
at 10:17 am PST

Day 4 at Cisco Live UK has wrapped up!

Here I am talking to Mark Daniels of Rockwell Automation. Mark is the Rockwell Automation Ltd. Business Manager, Architecture and Software, based in Milton Keynes in the UK. Mark is talking about the Cisco Live Demonstration of Motion Control. During this session the Robot is ‘resting’ to lower the ambient noise levels (still some noise from the pneumatics, sorry!) The Robotic arms rapidly grab pucks and sort and order them cleverly. The Interesting part is that the controls are all Ethernet IP enabled and Cisco and Rockwell jointly developed the Allen Bradley switch that enables the data and information to travel over standard IP.

Mark talks about the Switch branded here as the Stratix 8000, showing Ethernet being deployed onto the factory floor. A lot of customers want to use Ethernet IP on the shop floor and get information on their machinery from the factory and be able to use that data for things like, for example, measuring how much energy a production line is using, or looking for bottlenecks in the production process.

Security becomes a real issue. That’s understood in the IT sense, but up until recently, people were not that concerned about security on the factory floor. STUXNET and other attacks changed all that.

Mark then describes the Classic ‘Pick and place’ machinery used, for example, in a candy factory where chocolates are placed in a box in a certain order depending on shape, size  and type. A much more efficient way of doing the job than having a few dozen or so workers doing the same thing.

IP from the IT side of an organization is now becoming pervasive on the shop floor. This machinery is ‘IP enabled’. All the communications on the pick-and-place robot, all the high speed motion application controls is all enabled using Ethernet IP.

It’s the future of manufacturing.

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