Rockwell Automation / Allen Bradly

Rockwell tends to be a bet fit for customers who are primarily in the North American market and who have some global markets. Rockwell has been an industry leader in computerized control design from its inception. Ai Control Systems is proud of our close working relationship with Rockwell and we are proud to support. We are looking for opportunities to help bring new solutions to market with our customers. Below we offer a simple professional assessment that is editorial in nature based on general experience.


Rockwell Automation

Category Rank (One to Five)
Innovation ****
Reliability ***
Support ***
Ease of Integration ****
Ascetics *****
Value ***


Rockwell is the typically the best received brand name in control design in North America. They are a company with global support, although their brand recognition and acceptance is not as strong overseas. The Allen Bradley brand has a reputation of high cost and high quality. They have recently become more competitive with newer lines of products. Customers who are reluctant to adopt a new offering often find that their ageing legacy solutions are rapidly becoming more expensive to repurchase. When integrating a Rockwell solution, we often consider other operator interfaces and data visualization packages. Rockwell’s programming software is well-liked but demands a much higher price than most similar applications on the market.

To become more competitive, some products have been moved to emerging markets. Some products have low industrial environmental ratings and surprise customers, who may not have read the specifications, when the fail. Reasonable expectations should be set for each respective product line. The low end Compact series hardware should not be held to the same standard of the Compact Logix and Micro Logix series.

Rockwell’s programming software for IEC standard languages is well liked and easy to use. This is true of both the RSLogix500 & the RSLogix 5000 series. The distinction between the 500 and the 5000 is important. Rockwell’s acquisition of Reliance Electric brought a premium offering to Rockwell, spurring the 5000 designation. Gradually the 5000 offering has become more scalable in cost. The Kinetics series of drives has high-end motion features in a unique offering, integrated into some the Compact Logic PLCs. This motion control functionality makes a sole source solution, that the like of Automation Direct and other less advanced package offering, may not be able to provide for with third party motion control solutions. Not that there is anything wrong with that. One could make a strong argument for a best fit model for motion controllers.

The Panel View operator interfaces are, per feature, some of the most costly in the market. Rockwell has a common software package that offers screen reuse between SCADA and operator interfaces. The core of their offering for screen design is based on windows COM technology that was developed in the 90’s. Like most offerings of this era, they leave something to be desired. OS dependencies and a long list of legacy Windows changes in best practices make for a challenged plant floor software offering. Rockwell seems to be entrenched in legacy support and have not redesigned their offering from the ground up.  They seem to be coming out with new packages that will be in-line with other operator interfaces for the new panel views.