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Innovative Control Sytems (Bedrock Automation)
Bedrock Automation Control Systems disrupting the automation world

Has anyone heard or seen of this company/system (Bedrock Automation)? Pinless backplane? only 12 catalog numbers for entire system? Its sounds too good to be true. Please Just google bedrock automation.

If anyone has heard of these people before I'd love to know.

By James Ingraham on 20 January, 2016 - 4:07 pm

I'm also quite interested in it. I've only heard of them through advertising and a handful of articles in magazines. I've yet to see it in the real world. However, taking on the 800 pound gorillas of Siemens and Rockwell is going to be an uphill fight.

-James Ingraham
Sage Automation, Inc.

By Paul Tornabene on 27 January, 2016 - 6:05 pm

I am the Channel Sales Mgr.for Bedrock Automation. If you are interested I would be happy to demonstrate the Bedrock Universal Controller for you. Cyber Security built in and layered, Software configurable I/O, Fixed scan time regardless of I/O count, 6 part numbers or less are all you need for most applications and many more features.

>Has anyone heard or seen of this company/system (Bedrock
>Automation)? Pinless backplane? only 12 catalog numbers for
>entire system? Its sounds too good to be true. Please Just
>google bedrock automation.
>
>If anyone has heard of these people before I'd love to know.

1 out of 1 members thought this post was helpful...

We have written extensively on the Bedrock system for almost two years now in the _Industrial Automation and Process Control INSIDER. We believe this to be several major advances on the state of the art of field controllers and if anything, the claims are perhaps understated.

Walt Boyes

Walt Boyes, Life Fellow, ISA; Fellow InstMC
Chartered Measurement and Control Technologist
Spitzer and Boyes LLC

**Spitzer and Boyes LLC publishes the Industrial Automation and Process Control INSIDER (www.iainsider.com)**

They built a $20K controller and they used CoDeSys as the logic editor?? CoDeSys?? You're killing me here. Are there plans to build a good, native editor?

Oh, and if contacts are such a bad thing, how do you connect the signals to the I/O modules? We have to give up removable connectors because they think contacts are bad? Or wiring arm contacts are OK, but module contacts are bad?

And the input modules are universal? Impressive if they can get an analog input module to grow the relays to make it a relay DO card. Oh, we don't get any relay DO's either?

By Gary L. Pratt, P.E. on 9 March, 2016 - 10:00 am

Hello Steve,

I am the AE manager for Bedrock Automation. Thanks for your comments. Please allow me to address each of your concerns:

1) Have you used the latest generation of Codesys? Codesys is in fact the most popular ICS IDE in Europe having passed even Siemens in popularity according to a 2011 German magazine article. Codesys is used by over 380 OEMs and sold over 700,000 licenses in a recent year. Since Codesys includes a full-featured simulator and its cost is free to end-users, it is being used by 3rd party organizations to develop ICS libraries (i.e., OSCAT).

One can draw many parallels to the early PC days where every PC vendor produced their own OS until Microsoft entered the market. With 700,000 licenses per year, significant funding is available to build great features and reliability into the software package. No doubt, the big ICS vendors will stay with their own (like Wang and DEC did with their PCs), but I am confident there will be considerable consolidation in the ICS IDE market in coming years.

Feel free to download the IDE and begin creating and testing your ICS control code, simulation code, and HMI screens today. However, be advised that this is not a typical ICS IDE of the last century. Its genealogy is much closer to the software development systems used by 20 million programmers throughout the world. It's designed to provide a highly productive environment for creating high-performance, reliable, and maintainable industrial software. While the IDE is easy to use, there is definitely a learning curve involved for Engineers transitioning from older paradigms. Formal training is highly recommended.

2) Backplane connectors are typically higher density and more fragile than wiring arm connectors. Plus, bending/breaking a backplane pin is much more likely and has a much higher consequence than breaking a wiring arm connector. Also, eliminating the ability to place an I/O module on an extender to reverse-engineer the protocol has significant cyber-security advantages

3) The Bedrock SIOU module has 10 channels which can each be individually configured as an AI, AO, DI, DO, HART, NAMUR, and frequency/pulse counting. The DO uses solid-state devices to provide both high-side and low-side switching with 1 Amp ESCP. Rest assured, you are not the only one having a hard time believing what Bedrock has accomplished. The secret is having equal experience in Industrial Controls as Integrated Circuit design. Bedrock developed a custom mixed-signal IC that provides all this functionality in a low-cost, low-power, compact package.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any more questions.

Regards,

Gary L. Pratt, P.E.
Bedrock Automation Platforms, Inc
408-318-7175
www.bedrockautomation.com

By Steve Myres on 19 May, 2016 - 1:25 pm

1) Have you used the latest generation of Codesys?

No idea whether I have or not because I don't bother to keep up with it, for obvious reasons. My most recent experience is about two years ago.

Codesys is in fact the most popular ICS IDE in Europe having passed even Siemens in popularity according to a 2011 German magazine article.

If you're evaluating popularity by volume, I'm not surprised. It's cheap! Idec sells more copies than Allen Bradley does, but their software/firmware is crap. I'd want popularity defined by percentage preference, not volume. Do you have a link to the article so that I could read it and see the methodology? Unless there have been MAJOR changes in CoDeSys, there is exactly 0% chance I'd prefer it over current generations of TIA Portal, or even Rockwell's offering (which is also pretty good). I do think CoDeSys does a better implementation of SFC than Siemens does.

One can draw many parallels to the early PC days where every PC vendor produced their own OS until Microsoft entered the market. With 700,000 licenses per year, significant funding is available to build great features and reliability into the software package. No doubt, the big ICS vendors will stay with their own (like Wang and DEC did with their PCs), but I am confident there will be considerable consolidation in the ICS IDE market in coming years.

Granted, and that might very well be for the best, so long as the software could be considered best-of-breed. I'd actually like to see that happen.

2) Backplane connectors are typically higher density and more fragile than wiring arm connectors. Plus, bending/breaking a backplane pin is much more likely and has a much higher consequence than breaking a wiring arm connector. Also, eliminating the ability to place an I/O module on an extender to reverse-engineer the protocol has significant cyber-security advantages.

Arguable, but your point is well taken. Also the security advantage here is one I hadn't considered, so thanks for mentioning that.

The Bedrock SIOU module has 10 channels which can each be individually configured as an AI, AO, DI, DO, HART, NAMUR, and frequency/pulse counting. The DO uses solid-state devices to provide both high-side and low-side switching with 1 Amp ESCP. Rest assured, you are not the only one having a hard time believing what Bedrock has accomplished. The secret is having equal experience in Industrial Controls as Integrated Circuit design. Bedrock developed a custom mixed-signal IC that provides all this functionality in a low-cost, low-power, compact package.

But my point was that you still have no relay outputs, which it is industry standard to have. "Having a hard time believing what Bedrock as accomplished" is an artful but inaccurate rendition of what I posted.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any more questions.

More questions? I don't believe I ever had any to begin with.

By Gary L. Pratt, P.E on 5 August, 2016 - 10:14 am

Steve and James,

Here is a link to a video demo that shows the power and flexibility of the Bedrock IDE. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYUVrKG22Xg

Steve, I'm interested in what you see as an advantage in a relay output vs back-to-back FETs? The only difference I'm aware of is the FETs don't oxidize (no minimum whetting current required), will never wear out, become contaminated, or weld together, don't bounce, unaffected by shock and vibration, and can't be overloaded. btw, the Bedrock DOs have over-current sensing with programmable back-off and retry. They also have readback. These features are all built-into our custom ASIC.

By James Ingraham on 23 May, 2016 - 2:24 pm

> Also, eliminating the ability to place an I/O module on an extender
> to reverse-engineer the protocol has significant cyber-security advantages

I just noticed this point. It sounds like "security through obscurity," which does not instill confidence. A protocol should be secure even when all of its details are known. Is there some reason to believe that if the protocol is published that the system will be less secure? Or am I reading this incorrectly?

-James Ingraham

By Walt Boyes on 23 May, 2016 - 5:40 pm

It seems to me that if, as in Bedrock's case, the security is integral and in the chipsets themselves, it isn't really security by obscurity.

Walt Boyes

Walt Boyes, Life Fellow, ISA; Fellow InstMC
Chartered Measurement and Control Technologist
Spitzer and Boyes LLC

**Spitzer and Boyes LLC publishes the Industrial Automation and Process Control INSIDER (www.iainsider.com)**

By Gary Pratt, P.E. on 5 August, 2016 - 9:44 am

Walt is correct. The primary security is embedded in the chipset. The pinless backplane is just one of many layers of security.

By James Ingraham on 29 January, 2016 - 12:01 pm

Well, we still haven't heard from anyone actually using it. I'd love to know what the guys in the trenches think of it. As innovative as some of the features are, there are a ton of different variables to consider. A big one for me is software, which isn't mentioned much. The focus has all been on the hardware. The first mention of the software on their website is two-thirds of the way down the page about the controller. There are no links; no datasheet, no screenshots, no order numbers, just a 3 sentence paragraph and 5 bullet points. The articles I've seen also gloss over how to actually program the thing.

-James Ingraham
Sage Automation, Inc.

1 out of 1 members thought this post was helpful...

In one of my articles for the Industrial Automation INSIDER, I interviewed two of the first users -- system integrators. I think you can find the article on Bedrock's website.

Walt Boyes

Walt Boyes, Life Fellow, ISA; Fellow InstMC
Chartered Measurement and Control Technologist
Spitzer and Boyes LLC

**Spitzer and Boyes LLC publishes the Industrial Automation and Process Control INSIDER (www.iainsider.com)**

1 out of 1 members thought this post was helpful...

> I think you can find the article on Bedrock's website. Walt Boyes

To spare others the search:
https://www.bedrockautomation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Insider-July-2015.pdf
or

http://tinyurl.com/j4yo4u3

By Gary L, Pratt, P.E. on 9 March, 2016 - 10:22 am
1 out of 1 members thought this post was helpful...

Hello James,

The Bedrock IDE is based on Codesys. See my response to Steve Myers above for all the positive attributes of Codesys. Perhaps the best assessment of the Bedrock IDE comes from the feedback of a 25+ year industry veteran who who attended a recent Bedrock training course: "It is absolutely the best PLC programming software I have ever used."

You can download the IDE from the Bedrock website free of charge. It includes a full-featured controller with OPC-UA server that runs on you laptop. So you can write your code, simulate your code, and create your HMI screens today ... before you ever touch any hardware.

I have a 2-hour fast-paced software introduction webinar I can deliver to you and your team if you are interested in more details. Just let me know.

Regards,

Gary L. Pratt, P.E.
Applications Engineer Manager
Bedrock Automation Platforms, Inc
408-318-7175
www.bedrockautomation.com

By James Ingraham on 9 March, 2016 - 4:29 pm

I'll take a look when I get a chance.

James:

We have installed 6 Bedrock controllers in the Water/Wastewater and Electric Utility markets. Our experience with the hardware and software has been similar to any Rockwell, Siemens or other project. To be honest there is a learning curve with the software, but it's not any different than learning another vendors product. I have gone to the Bedrock training class and it was most helpful in learning to use the new software and the built in tools. During installation if tech support was needed, we were able to talk with someone right away and got our issues resolved. As with any new product there are hurdles to overcome, but so far it's been a good experience for us.

Please feel free to contact me anytime at cgele@brownengineers.net

Chris

By James Ingraham on 19 May, 2016 - 11:16 am

Thanks, Chris! It's always best to hear from actual users.