SOURCE: Opto 22

October 27, 2005 20:15 ET

Opto 22 Introduces SNAP PAC™ Family

Two New Programmable Automation Controllers Deliver High Performance, Simplicity, and Versatility Backed by Years of Field Experience

TEMECULA, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 27, 2005 -- Opto 22, a developer and manufacturer of hardware and software for industrial automation, remote monitoring, data acquisition, and machine-to-machine (M2M) applications, has introduced the SNAP PAC family of programmable automation controllers, extending a long history of reliable, easy-to-use control hardware.

SNAP PACs are high-performance, multi-domain, Ethernet-based industrial automation controllers suitable for applications in automation and control, remote monitoring, and data acquisition.

SNAP PACs are particularly well-suited to OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), system integrators, and end-users in process control, discrete manufacturing, or hybrid industries and applications. SNAP PACs are tightly coupled with ioProject™ Basic and ioProject Professional, comprehensive automation software suites providing programming, debugging, human-machine interface development, OPC and database connectivity, and utilities. Two versions of the SNAP PAC are being released: the SNAP PAC S-series and the SNAP PAC-R series.

The SNAP-PAC-S1 is a standalone controller suitable for distributed control systems and applications with high I/O point counts or complex Ethernet network architectures. The SNAP-PAC-S1 features a 32-bit multitasking processor with floating point unit, 32 MB of RAM, 16 MB of flash memory, and 8 MB of battery-backed RAM. The SNAP-PAC-S1 offers two independent, auto-negotiating 10/100 Mbps Ethernet interfaces which, when used with ioProject Professional, can be configured to create dual Ethernet networks for segmenting I/O and host traffic, or to create redundant Ethernet link segments for critical applications. Also included are one RS-485 port for I/O communications or other RS-485 devices, and two RS-232 ports, one of which offers full handshaking control, useful for connecting to wired or wireless modems and other network equipment where host/controller communication control is desired. In addition, point-to-point protocol (PPP) support is included for use in creating TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) networks over serial or PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) lines.

Notably, the RS-485 serial port on the SNAP PAC S-series controller allows users to connect to their legacy Opto 22 serial-based I/O systems, preserving sizable investments in I/O systems, instrumentation, field wiring, and serial networks. Supported Opto 22 serial-based I/O systems include the B3000 brain and G4 mistic™ bricks. Furthermore, the included Ethernet interfaces available on both the SNAP PAC S-series and R-series controller allow users to connect to Optomux® I/O systems when retrofitted with Opto 22's recently announced Ethernet Optomux brains, the E1 and E2.

The SNAP PAC-R1 is an "on-the-I/O-rack" controller designed for cell control and smaller point count applications where the I/O needs are geographically contained. The SNAP-PAC-R1 delivers a compact, affordable solution in a small, integrated package. The SNAP-PAC-R1 also features two independent, auto-negotiating 10/100 Mbps Ethernet interfaces that can be used for network segmenting or Ethernet link redundancy, allowing the PAC-R controller to scale up to larger systems or be a member in a PAC-S distributed system. Finally, the SNAP-PAC-R1 features a 32-bit multitasking processor with floating point unit; 16 MB of RAM, 8 MB of flash memory, and 2 MB of battery-backed RAM; and one RS-232 port with full handshaking control.

For the value-conscious user, the SNAP-PAC-R1 combined with a SNAP-B8M 8-module I/O rack and the included ioProject Basic programming and HMI software provides an under-$1000 control and data acquisition hardware and software solution capable of addressing up to 512 local I/O points. The customer needs only to add the application-specific input/output modules. (Each SNAP I/O module provides from 2 to 32 channels per module.)

Both the PAC-S and PAC-R versions of the SNAP PAC family are specifically designed for use with Opto 22's latest release of ioProject Basic and Professional, an integrated suite of applications, programming tools, and utilities. Both SNAP PACs ship with ioProject Basic at no charge, which includes ioControl™ Basic (flowchart-based programming tool) and ioDisplay™ Basic (an HMI development and runtime application.) For advanced applications requiring link redundancy, segmented networking, or migration from legacy Opto 22 control systems, ioProject Professional provides an expanded feature-set with added functionality including an OPC server and an Opto 22 FactoryFloor® import facility.

This last feature was designed for existing Opto 22 customers, giving users of the widely deployed FactoryFloor software a clear migration path to the more powerful Ethernet-based control platform. Specifically, FactoryFloor OptoControl™ strategies and OptoDisplay™ HMI projects can be imported and converted to be used with ioProject Professional. This offers users of Opto 22 legacy hardware several benefits, such as the opportunity to utilize the SNAP PAC-S1 and other faster, more powerful Ethernet controllers; the option of adding OptoTerminal™ touchscreens to their systems; and the ability to use Opto 22's most recently introduced SNAP I/O™ modules -- all without sacrificing existing investments in I/O, instrumentation, and field wiring.

The SNAP-PAC-S1 standalone controller's suggested list price is US$1095.00, and it is scheduled to ship in November, 2005. The SNAP-PAC-R1 rack-mounted controller's suggested list price is US$865.00, and availability is scheduled for the beginning of 2006. ioProject Professional is slated for release in November, 2005 and will list for US$995.00. ioProject Professional includes ioControl Professional, ioDisplay Professional, OptoOPC Server™, and ioManager™. ioProject Basic includes ioControl Basic, ioDisplay Basic, and ioManager, and is included with the purchase of any SNAP-PAC-R1 controller.

About PACs (Programmable Automation Controllers)

Programmable automation controllers (PACs) are industrial controllers that combine the features and functionality of PC-based control systems with those of traditional PLCs (programmable logic controllers). In doing so, PACs fill an ever-increasing need in the automation and control market for powerful and affordable hardware devices that can perform continuous machine or process control, plus offer data acquisition capabilities, multiple communication options, and integration with enterprise applications and databases.

In 1990, eleven years before the term PAC was coined by Craig Resnick of ARC Advisory Group, Opto 22 was first to market with a PAC-type hardware device in the form of its computer-based mistic controller. The new SNAP PAC systems therefore build on more than 15 years of experience and thousands of successful mistic and other PAC installations all over the world in applications involving semiconductor processing, material handling, water and wastewater treatment, pipeline monitoring, and more. Today, what sets Opto 22 PAC systems apart from those of other vendors is this wealth of experience, coupled with ease-of-use, versatility, scalability, reliability, use of standard off-the-shelf networking technologies, and tighter integration between the hardware and software.

For example, Opto 22's PAC control software offers a unique combination of intuitive flowchart programming methods along with a versatile English-syntax command set for digital and analog control, PID loop control, serial device integration, string and port handling, and scalable Ethernet networking. These methods and commands work from a single tagname database environment that spans from control strategy development to human-machine interface to computer database integration. All programming, connectivity, and display tools are tightly coupled to the controllers, providing customers a single point of contact and assurances that the systems work in concert -- no more configuring registers, creating and linking tags to registers, then connecting tag databases to make their systems communicate. This results in decreased debugging time and much faster commissioning of systems in the field. Perhaps most significantly, all of this is bundled to form a system that is measurably more affordable than any other on the market.

About Opto 22

Opto 22 develops and manufactures hardware and software products for applications in industrial automation, remote monitoring, and data acquisition. Using standard, commercially available Internet, networking, and computer technologies, Opto 22's input/output and control systems allow customers to monitor, control, and acquire data from all of the mechanical, electrical, and electronic assets that are key to their business operations. Opto 22's products and services support automation end users, OEMs, and information technology and operations personnel. Founded in 1974 and with over 85 million Opto 22-connected devices deployed worldwide, the company has an established reputation for quality and reliability.

Opto 22 products are sold through a worldwide network of distributors, partners, and system integrators. For more information, contact Opto 22 headquarters at 800-321-OPTO or visit our Web site at

Electronic copies of this release and related photos are available at

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