Rockwell Automation Laboratory

The Rockwell Automation Laboratory was established by a generous gift from Rockwell Automation, Inc. ETID faculty members involved included Richard Alexander, Dan Jennings, John Mayer, Jr., Sheng-Jen ("Tony") Hsieh (Technical Director) and Barry Lawrence. The lab consists of a main laboratory and a system integration laboratory. Students learn basic (component-level) knowledge and skills in the main laboratory, then develop integrated (system-level) knowledge by working in the system integration laboratory.

The main laboratory contains 13 workstations, each equipped with ControlLogix programmable logic controller, PanelView Operator terminal, PowerFlex motor motion control unit and various analog/digital and input/output devices, such as push buttons and switches. Figures 1 and 2 shows front and back views of a workstation.

Figure 3 shows students working on an automated assembly system in the system integration laboratory. Figure 4 is a close-up of the automated assembly system showing two pneumatic-driven robot assembly arms controlled by an Allen-Bradley SLC502 Programmable Logic Controller.

The workstations are networked using EtherNet and ControlNet networks, allowing data to be shared throughout the network. Figure 5 shows current network connections.

The system integration laboratory also houses a Festo modular and configurable production system (MPS) consisting of nine workstations (Figure 6). Each workstation has a different function, such as material handling, pressing, and testing. In the near future, a vision system will be incorporated into the MPS for inspection purposes. The MPS will also be equipped with smart sensors from Allen Bradley to form a DeviceNetwork to allow diagnosis of failures at the component level.

Figure 1. Front view of workstation showing ControlLogix PLC, PanelView and SwitchesFigure 2. Back view of workstation showing PowerFlex Motor Motion Control Unit
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Flexible assembly system

Figure 3. Students working on an automated assembly system
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Figure 4. Close-up of automated assembly system showing two pneumatic-driven robot assembly arms controlled by an Allen Bradley SLC502 programmable logic controller
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Figure 5. Current lab network connections
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Figure 6. Festo Modular Production System (MPS) workstations
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Last updated on April 5, 2003 by Sheng-Jen ("Tony") Hsieh