B&R Automation?

What about B&R Automation? They have everything (logic, comms, motion, safety, etc etc) all under a single software package, with no yearly dues or anything, and they let you do pretty much whatever you want. Safety PLCs and safety IO can be intermixed with all the regular stuff no problem, and you can have pretty much as many task classes with different priorities as you want. They don't limit you, and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg either....

So, me being rather new to the automation industry, I gotta ask: why does everybody pay more for less with AB and Siemens?

Comments for B&R Automation?

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Innovative company with leading technology
by: Anonymous

Time is not an issue with B&R, especially with their new MAPP components. These function blocks save you significant programming time. They have unbelievable flexibility in customer applications. I have experienced projects where Rockwell simply just can't supply a solution compared to B&R (software and hardware). B&R's smaller PLC / IPC completely outperform Rockwell. Their servo drives are faster and offer significant software functions Rockwell only dreams of. Their safety functions kick RW in the butt.

I know change is hard to digest, however let's face it, B&R is better than Rockwell. Also B&R is 600 million euros now! Ask yourself a simple question, "Why does this company grow so fast?" They consistently outperform Rockwell.

B&R's application engineering team is unbelievable and they'll help you make the best machines in the world. Give them a call, it's free (no yearly contract agreement required) and they will support you better than Rockwell.

Automation studio is excellent! And now they have released MAPP View (HTML/CSS3) visualization tool. This makes HMI development advanced and easy to use in the IDE. Also VC4 has been updated substantially, so Factory Talk champions will keep up.

Rockwell will have challenging years ahead. I wish them all the best. Moreover, I'm seriously excited to see every kid in the world become computer literate. Its exciting, and let's not forget the goal... Make things better! Help customer do things they couldn't realize before.

I can only suggest you give it a try. Rockwell is like Led Zeppelin, great to listen too every once in a while, but from the 70's.

by: Anonymous

The biggest problem I have with B&R is that the compile times are just too slow compared to other. Yes the final outcome is very good and for OEM's that once completed the project will run on many machines it is a good solution. However we build custom machines and the slow development time can be a real pain (and this is on an i7 with SSD).

B&R is light years ahead of Rockwell
by: Anonymous

I've worked heavily with B&R (and several other smaller platforms) in the past and now use AB almost exclusively. I have to say, the transition was kind of depressing. The only thing that B&R doesn't do better is their Visual Components editor takes too much time to do simple things. Everything else, from hardware, to available functions (instructions for the AB people), to processing power, to communications protocols are all measurably better.

I feel like I've moved from a high-tech, professional product and development environment in B&R to 1995, KISS, if we can't do it you shouldn't be trying it mentality in Rockwell. I honestly can't believe people could compare the two and chose Rockwell for any technical reason, and certainly not for a financial reason. I know my current employer uses Rockwell for purely non-technical reasons and factually inaccurate perceptions.

Of all the platforms I've used, my favorite is B&R, hands down.

by: Anonymous

Your comment regarding software expenditure is simply false. B&R sold 475 million Euros (approx. 700 million USD) of 100% automation products in 2013. They inject millions of R&D dollars back into the company every year!

AS4.0 is so advanced that Rockwell and Siemens are coping B&R innovations today and repackaging them as "innovations". TIA portal... Guess what B&R has been doing this for over a decade! I suggest you take some time to learn more about B&R's flexibility, Scalability, Openness, easy programming tools i.e. visual studio, HTML5, MAP, PLC Open, Open Safety, technology functions. All of this helps companies realize new leading innovative machines and faster time to market!

Their support is killer! They can help you size complex motion profiles with excellent professional experts. They are fast to respond to software questions.... For free! If you like throwing your profit $ at Rockwell that's your deal.

B&R training is also exceptional. They host training for customers every two weeks in North America at all of their offices.

My suggestion is that you be open minded and give it a real try. They really are the cool automation solution on the block.

Automation designer
by: John

B&R has easy to use programming software that supports all tasks. You can program in Ladder or all other IEC61131 languages including C in a standard license. All tasks including Visualization, control, motion and safety are included in one licence. Their software is forward and backward compatible. They even store firmware versions in the compiled code. For all you Rockwell geeks "what is control flash". Their libraries are awesome and they have great motion FBs that safe serious time! Every PLC has a free remote diagnostic feature that we love. It's saving us thousands of $ on travel cost for useless service calls. They have hard real deterministic behaviour that is 100% synchronized between devices... What is E/IP with Sercos... Old news for ETHERNET Powerlink. This is a real open communication that is fast and reliable. It's the best we've used. B&R has amazing application engineers that will really help you... Guess what? It's free. Put your credit card away you can actually call their tech support for free. Rockwell is selling old stuff and it's not cool. When are all you old RW lovers going to retire.... It's time for Change and B&R is simply cooler to work with!

High flexibility means steeper learning curve
by: IBrown

B&R's biggest barrier to market entry is that their stuff can do anything, so it's impossible for them to write canned functions that cover all possibilities without creating artificial limitations. This means you actually need training to be effective with B&R. When you have a massive market that has been patriotically choking down whatever AB puts in front of them for generations, there is a lot of resistance to learning a new controls platform, no matter how much better it is.

Quality wise, the hardware, firmware, and development software are untouchable. Price wise, they can quote toe to toe with inferior hardware and quote dramatically below comparable hardware. Only Beckoff even comes close in terms of flexibility and their more of a cheaper little brother (and requires Windows). Even the standard communications protocol is the best available realtime deterministic protocol in use (ethernet powerlink).

B and R S**ks
by: Anonymous

Overcoming under delivering , inconsistent performance of B&R hardware and software combined with extremly long start up nearly destroyed our company . Stay away from the junk.

Very unfavorable impression
by: Jens

Yes B&R have a great hardware platform and when I chose the hardware/software vendors for our machines we did so based on the node system that is reasonable an easy to set up. In short it is excellent.

The B&R commercial people have been excellent and their support as good as can be within the limits of the company.

For programming we are hiring B&R's own people, and have to not that the time consumption to implement simple tasks are mindboggling bad. The software seems totally inept for at least their X20 DC and Stepper motor cards where setting up simple 2-3 position tasks seems to take 1-2 days per motor which is blatently absurd.

If you do not care about programming time and associated costs it can be a good solution, but as a startup we are about to break our neck because of this ludicrus software where programing time is absurdly time consuming. Tasks that we can do in 15 minutes on ex. Nanotec or Maxon drives takes roughly 10 hours to do in B&R. The software is simply immature and clumsy, and making changes takes forever. It is incomprihensible that it takes more tha a day to change an air cylinder to a steppermotor liner actuator that does the same.


B&R Automation
by: Operations Manager

Yes, B&R is based out of Austria and they manufacture in Austria.
Considering that I have converted machines to B&R technology in record time, I can't express how happy my Company and my Customers are.
The B&R technology that we are adapting in the US will be the differentiator in business that we need for tomorrow.

B&R - Efficient Automation
by: Automation Engineer

B&R has a very robust software offering in Automation Studio. It is a single software that encompasses the entire machine (Visualization, PLC/CPU, Motion, Communication, etc.). There is no need to support multiple programs and multiple software versions for each machine control project. This leads to efficient machine development and faster time to market for us as an OEM. I believe that B&R has more engineers developing software than Rockwell, although they don't throw as much of YOUR money at it as Rockwell. B&R hardware is very flexible and scalable, all with a single software tool.

I hope you can see the benefit of having a single software tool regardless of the size and topology of the machine. Not to mention that the B&R PLC/CPU is much faster than anything that Allen Bradley or Siemens offers. B&R also offers a real-time deterministic Ethernet protocol, Ethernet Powerlink, for all machine control components (HMI, PLC/CPU, Servo, Stepper, VFD, I/O, etc.).

Just my own personal experience as an Automation Engineer designing machinery with B&R controls. It has revolutionized our machines and given us a major competitive advantage in our marketplace.


B&R Response
by: Anonymous

Simple... B&R is an Austrian base company and there support is very limited in the US.. I know this because I used it for 8 yrs, not by choice. B&R can't compete in the Integrated Architecture space and they done have near the motion suite or capability.. Sure the have the hardware but not ease of integration especially with three party vendors... Rockwell charges for its software and tech connect contract because the level of support you get and also the professional level of their software... Rockwell spends tens of millions per year on their software development, B&R spends thousands per revsion..

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