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IPCs and thin clients support smart manufacturing

11 August, 2017

Rockwell Automation has announced a family of industrial computers, thin clients (the first from Rockwell) and monitors that, it says, will allow manufacturers to modernise standalone or distributed HMI applications to support smart manufacturing.

The open-architecture Allen-Bradley VersaView 5000 family will give manufacturers “greater freedom to install the software that fits their needs,” says Chris Mason, Rockwell’s product manager for industrial computers and monitors. “The portfolio also includes our largest ever full-HD screen size, which can display more information and replicate control room displays on the plant floor for more efficient data sharing.”

The new family includes five types of product: VersaView 5400 display and non-display industrial computers (IPCs); VersaView 5200 display and non-display thin clients; and VersaView 5100 monitors. Display options include edge-to-edge glass displays, a 22-inch widescreen option, full HD and 10-point multi-touch capabilities.

When combined with Rockwell’s FactoryTalk View Site Edition software in distributed applications, the IPCs can provide cost-effective compliance with 21 CFR Part 11. The software stores, processes and transmits electronic records and signatures to show which employees have made changes. This is critical for regulated industries such as life sciences.

The thin clients can be used with Rockwell’s ThinManager software, which manages content and visualisation centrally. It can help to reduce downtime and maintenance by simplifying the management of devices and users. Using its location-based Relevance technology, it can deliver the right content, to the right worker, at the right time and place.

Rockwell Automation's Allen-Bradley VersaView 5000 family includes its first thin clients

When coupled to this software, the thin clients  can receive information as soon as soon as they are plugged in. Device configuration is not needed, resulting in faster device replacement. Because information is stored on a server, instead of locally, sensitive information is less likely to be lost if a device is removed. The ThinManager software also provides multi-factor user authentication, including biometric authentication using fingerprint scanning.

As well as the new 22-inch screen size, the portfolio also includes 12-inch, 15-inch and 19-inch widescreen options. All have 10-point multi-touch capabilities.

Rockwell says that the VersaView 5000 portfolio will help to reduce maintenance. The products use supercapacitors, avoiding the need to replace batteries and simplifying air shipment. The edge-to-edge, glass touchscreens reduce cleaning efforts by eliminating build-ups of residue that can occur on traditional systems.

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