RSLinx: Essentials to Know

rslinx1Communication software has come a long way from basic emails and chat systems now. Advanced technologies these days provide more than just a mechanism for different systems and users to exchange files and terminal emulators among themselves.

As devices are getting smarter by the day, there is indeed a need for more intelligent mediums facilitating communication between the same.

RSLinx is one such communication software developed by Rockwell Automation.

What is RSLinx?

RSLinx is basically a windows-based communication software or server often used to interface and facilitate seamless communication among all of the Rockwell industrial control and automation hardware. The RSLinx Classic, which is one of the most popular versions of RSLinx, also provides plant-floor device connectivity in automation industries for a wide range of Rockwell software applications like RSView 32, Factory Talk View Site Edition and Factory Talk Transaction Manager as well.

It comes in a variety of types with minor variations in terms of their capabilities, inclusions and in turn their usability. Some of them are:

  • RSLinx-OEM – this provides DDE capability meant for Rockwell DDE enabled software.
  • RSLinx Professional – this again provides DDE capability to DDE enabled software
  • RSLinx Lite – this acts as a PLC programming software communication interface
  • RSLinx SDK – this is a complete Software Development Kit that includes the OEM version as well.

RSLinx makes use of OPC or DDE to provide connectivity for client applications, although OPC is the preferred and more commonly used interface for data acquisition applications as it is considered as a factory standard for communications.

RSLinx comes with a number of major benefits including a very user-friendly graphical interface, multiple data value viewing options and ladder viewers to facilitate viewing ladder codes. It can thus be used to communicate from anywhere to anywhere.

What is RSLogix?

RSLogix; an RSLogix client, is the programming software for which RSLinx facilitates communication. It is a design and configuration software developed based on the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture. It supports a wide range of applications from discrete to process to motion to safety to batch and drive based applications.

It serves as a single control platform for any kind of automation discipline in industries as it provides a common engine and development environment. It features unique capabilities like ladder logic, structured text, sequential function chart editors and function block diagrams. It also comes with troubleshooting tools1 and advanced diagnostics.

Apart from that it also has an easy-to-use IEC 61131-3 compliant interface along with a holistic instruction set that caters to a wide array of applications. Put together with the Integrated Architecture System it helps industries to enjoy plant-wide optimization of processes in an efficient and effective manner.

What is RSLinx Gateway?

The RSLinx Gateway basically helps extend the communication network throughout an organization. It enables RSLinx clients such as the RSLogix 5000 or RSLogix 500 to go online and connect with processors like the PLC-5, SLC-5, MicroLogic or ControlLogix residing on a particular control network over the Ethernet.

RSLinx Gateway is also used to optimize communication between various OPC clients and other devices on the same floor in industries. It facilitates hassle-free communication by consolidating multiple data requests from different clients, into one single request which is forwarded to the controller. This essentially helps in reducing the overall network traffic and data load on the end controller.

This is beneficial in terms of cost-reduction as well, as it eliminates the need for an RSLinx copy to be kept active on each client machine.

How do I download RSLinx?

Owing to recent design changes on the Rockwell Automation website, the free version of RSLinx is a little difficult to find. The direct link to the download used to be available on the first page of results when you searched for “micrologix downloads” on the main page of Rockwell Automation. But it is not available anymore.

However, the link still is available on the website. All you have to do is go to the product compatibility and download centre.

–          From there click on “find downloads” and type in “RSLinx” in the search column.

–          From the list of options that show up click on RSLinx Classic Lite (free version).

–          Once you’re taken to the product page, click on the download button.

From there, all you have to do is follow instructions. If you are a first time visitor to the Rockwell Automation website or if you’re using their software for the first time, you might need to create a work-based account first.

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