Home > Automation > Allen Bradley : PlantPAx Elements

Allen Bradley : PlantPAx Elements

System element is a distinctive system entity made up of a combination of hardware and software products that support an identifiable system function or role. A system element can be manipulated to vary system operation or capability. For example, engineering workstation (EWS), operator workstation (OWS), process automation system server (PASS), controller unit (chassis, power supply, controller), an I/O unit (chassis, power supply, module).

PlantPax Element

 Process automation system server (PASS)

The PASS is a required system element that provides central name resolution and look up services. The PASS hosts a FactoryTalk View HMI server and an RSLinx Enterprise data server. The PASS also contains software components for alarms and events.

 Operator workstation (OWS)

The OWS provides an interactive graphical interface to monitor and control the process.

 Engineering workstation (EWS)

The EWS provides a single development platform for creating and maintaining control strategies and for configuring system elements. The EWS is also a central storage location for configuration management. The EWS provides system configuration, development and maintenance functions of the PlantPAx system. The EWS contains development software, including FactoryTalk View SE Studio and RSLogix 5000 software.


The batch application server can be an in-chassis or separate computer that runs FactoryTalk Batch software, version 11, to provide batch management, information management, process management, and unit supervision.

AppServ-Information Management

The information management server is the central data point for process information. The information management server supports both data management and decision support and support data analysis from the server.

AppServ-Asset Management

The asset management server provides a centralized location to manage end field devices.


HMI application servers provide additional system capacity, as needed. The number of servers depends on the operational areas of the plant, as well as the number of these components:

  • Controllers
  • Alarms, displays, data logs, and historian tags
  • Operator interfaces


The ControlLogix controller supports continuous process applications, including Advanced Process Control functions, with its deterministic, time-based execution mode. The controller supports continuous, batch, discrete, and motion applications. Physical location and controller loading affects the number of controllers needed in a PlantPAx system.

  • Each controller supports a specified number of field device interfaces.
  • Each controller has the capacity for a specific number of control strategies, which can be estimated based on the type of I/O connected to a controller.

Maintenance workstation (MWS)

The MWS, typically a laptop, provides similar functionality as the EWS and is designed to be portable so it can be used locally to monitor and debug system problems in the field.

Independent workstation (IndWS)

In an independent class architecture, the independent workstation (IndWS) combines the rolls of the PASS, OWS, and EWS all in one computer.

The following terms and abbreviations:

application server – The application server (AppServ) is a server in addition to the Process Automation System Server (PASS) that is typically a FactoryTalk Directory client of the PASS. There could be an AppServ-HMI for a FactoryTalk View application, AppServ-Batch for a FactoryTalk Batch application, or AppServ-History for an Historian application.

development software – Development software is a program that is used to configure various system components and not required at runtime. For example, RSLogix 5000 software and FactoryTalk View software.

 engineering workstation (EWS) – The engineering workstation (EWS) provides system configuration, development and maintenance functions of the PlantPAx system. The EWS contains development software, including FactoryTalk View SE Studio and RSLogix 5000 software.

FactoryTalk directory software – FactoryTalk Directory software defines were system data is located to allow for quicker access. FactoryTalk Directory software provides a common address book of factory resources that are shared among FactoryTalk-enabled products.

FactoryTalk services platform – The FactoryTalk Services Platform (FTSP) is a service-oriented architecture (see SOA) that delivers value through FactoryTalk-enabled products. This platform reduces the customer learning curve and project engineering time through commonality and reuse. For example, activation, FactoryTalk Directory, security, diagnostics, audit, live data, and alarms and events.

Integrated Architecture (IA) – Integrated Architecture (IA) is the identifying name of Rockwell Automation group of products that use Rockwell Automation core-enabling technologies. The PlantPAx Process Automation System is a defined set of IA products configured in a prescribed way to provide optimal performance as a process automation system.

operator workstation (OWS) – The operator workstation (OWS) provides the graphical view and interface into the process. The workstation is a client of either a PASS or AppServ-HMI.

PlantPAx Process Automation System – A defined set of standard Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture products that are configured in a prescribed way to provide optimal performance as a process automation system.

Process Automation System Server (PASS) – The Process Automation System Server (PASS) is the core PlantPAx system server allowing central administration throughout the PlantPAx system. The PASS is a required component.

RSLinx software – RSLinx software is the communication driver (data server) for computer-based programs to access information in Rockwell Automation controllers. There is RSLinx Classic software and RSLinx Enterprise software. FactoryTalk View SE software uses RSLinx Enterprise software to directly access tags.

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