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Old February 28th, 2018, 03:00 PM   #1
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dcam is offline
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Point or flex? that is the question.

I have always used flex I/O and have a new install at our plant that they are installing Point I/O. Can someone break down the pros and cons of each. Is it as easy to add I/O, the chassis looks like you buy for the exact needs? I have requested they change install to Flex because I am familiar and we stock all the modules.
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Old February 28th, 2018, 03:18 PM   #2
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Spike_Automation_Eng is offline
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Location: Missouri
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This sound to me like its preference on both sides.
Depends on your position at the plant and experience.

You should always be able to work with the vendors and have them suit your needs.
The situation may be that its a cookie cutter install.

You vendor may have many of these installed at other locations. If they do, they have the dwg's design, experience, and field engineers that are familiar with the install.
It could be something that they have perfected. If so, don't mess with something that's good. Get the BOM and stock up.

Do the research on their design so it doesn't go the other way.
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Old February 28th, 2018, 03:45 PM   #3
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kekrahulik is offline
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Location: Lancaster,pa
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They both work.

I don't know the life of Flex (I think point is more on AB's focus, so they might develop more future cards for it than flex).

Point IO can do safety

I like the wiring bases for flex more then the ones for Point. I often have cabinets made up with the Point IO wired to terminal blocks to make it easier and less mistake prone for field wiring.

"Get it right the first time" is a great philosophy, but when that doesn't happen, be persistent and "Get it right the last time".
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Old February 28th, 2018, 08:55 PM   #4
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AustralIan is offline
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You buy a module and an 8 point or 12 point terminal block for each of the slots, so to add you just buy a card and a terminal and clip it in.

Way easier for a first timer to put a point rack together, but not a seasoned flex user. Have had people not push the flex module all the way into its base on one side.

The 1734-IB8 has no terminals for +24v nor 0V, so you have to either:
- buy a point to field distribution module,
- buy 2* IB4
- buy 4* ib2
- land to terminals and daisy chain your 24V.

Point IO is a bargain compared to flex io, ask your distributor for a costed BOM of that point rack and the same (or higher) io count flex rack. Unless he is the sensitive type who might not take kindly to you investigating cheaper io options than his flex cash cow, in which case find the list prices. The part numbers you can't see are those 8 point Terminal blocks which I think are 1734-tbs for the two piece, or 1734-tops for the one piece.

Maybe the Analog resolution is better on flex, I can't recall.

If you can afford the expense, and think your machine supplier is capable of bespoke control systems, standardisation is a nice thing for maintenance and purchasing. 5s and all that.
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Old February 28th, 2018, 09:02 PM   #5

Allen123 is offline
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I'm a fan of FlexIO, if PointIO CIP connections can be managed all into a single connection for one rack regardless of specialty modules that would help convert me. The bigger problem for me is wiring them. With Flex you have plenty of terminals to land your filed wires, and in general a 36"x60" panel will accommodate 2 full FlexIO racks and all the power/field wiring/conduit entries PointIO, it all depends on how compact you are trying to make your IO. Sure on PointIO you can cram 8 digital inputs into a terminal, but you have voltage/common terminations that have to move somewhere else, where as on the 2 and 4 PointIO input modules all the wiring can be landed on the PointIO terminal (to an extent). That same 36" x 60" panel could fit more IO using PointIO, but that means more wires, more conduit entries and you have to change your wire ways accordingly and now that 36" x 60" panel seems awfully congested. Gets more complicated when you get into analog IO. 2 point analog cards are great for landing your field wires, but eat up your CIP connections. I think PointIO is good for machine/skid systems, but I don't think I am ready to use it an a large distributed system yet unless I was trying to use a large quantity of control panels of a smaller footprint say 30" x 36".
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Old March 1st, 2018, 06:25 AM   #6
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Aaaannnnddd.... I'd stay as far away from Flex as I could at this point.
I have several lines with FlexIO, and there are constant issues with analog modules, especially thermocouple modules. No errors, but they decide to either not update, or show drastically wrong values on channels.

Also, with any sort of vibration, the buss-connectors are very unreliable on Flex.
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Old March 1st, 2018, 06:29 AM   #7
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I like the RIUP feature of Point. Does flex offer this? I've never used flex.

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Old March 1st, 2018, 08:56 AM   #8
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cardosocea is offline
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I would stay away from Flex completely.

- The Ex range has been discontinued... so it shouldn't be a stretch to think that Flex will follow suit or be rebranded.
- Flex5000 IO is about to launch... which is another product that sits in a similar range (see my first comment).
- Flex5000 may turn out to be ****, but the integrated fiber ports can cut down on the number of parts of the installation. I'm sure Rockwell is factoring this in the price though.

Overall, the build construction of the flexIO is finicky and all those pins is asking for trouble when putting them in.

Not sure if this is the case with Flex or FlexEx, but they aren't very resilient to power flicks... and Rockwell's response to the situation is down right atrocious.
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