Rockwell's Temporary Activations are designed to give prospective customers the ability to “try out” or “demo” Rockwell software products for a limited time.

And the way you request a Temporary Activation (TA) for a Rockwell software product is to call your local Rockwell Authorized Distributor (or Rockwell Automation Representative) and ask for a demo copy of the Rockwell software product in question.

theautomationblog-ra-rs-demo-cdsIn years past, your local rep would likely just mail you a demo CD like the ones pictured on the right.

However, for most Rockwell software products today your rep now requests a Temporary Activation electronically from Rockwell Automation on your behalf.

Once the request is submitted, it usually takes less then one working day for your local rep to receive a “Temporary Activation Email” reply which includes your temporary “FactoryTalk Activation” as well as a link to download one of the recent versions of the software.

That email is nearly identical to the email customers receive when they order software, and all the local representative has to do is forward that email on to you, the customer.

In practice…

Rockwell Temporary Activation EmailUnfortunately, many local reps even in the United States seem totally unaware of this long standing process which dates back to the mid nineties, and that's one reason why (as a huge Rockwell fan myself) I'm publishing this updated article on the topic.

In many cases you can get around those uninformed folks by just asking to talk to their PLC, HMI, or Software specialist (a job I did for twenty five years.)

But in the rare cases when that strategy doesn't work, especially if you're overseas, you can also try to contact the Rockwell Activations Group directly to request a temporary activation.

Yes, I know that sounds weird, right?

But that was the advice I received directly from Rockwell when an overseas customer ran into difficulty finding someone local who knew what a Temporary Activation even was (it worked, too.)

NOTE: If you contact Rockwell directly, do not say you are a “Student.” To avoid getting bombarded with thousands of student requests, Rockwell requires all Students to obtain software through their instructors via their low cost Educational Program. The point is, Temporary Activations are designed to be used for customer demos (eliminating Demo CDs,) and not for college students to use in the classroom.

While on this topic I also feel compelled to point out that Temporary Activations are in essence “electronic demo” copies of software, and as such they don't come with any paid services like Tech Support.

That said, if you ever have problems activating Temporary Activations (or any Rockwell software) keep in mind their Activation Support group is available to help as they do not require a support contact to assist you in activating a Rockwell product.

Rockwell Temporary Activation Email Featured Image

I also should mention that Rockwell didn't implement this “demo” software program so customers could avoid buying software to instead just requesting new Temporary Activations each month.

Truly, I'm not being cynical here. Over the years I've witnessed dozen of people attempt just that.

To insure the program didn't degrade to that level, it has always  had a “one activation” per product per customer clause, which means you likely don't want to request your Rockwell Temporary Activation before you can actually use it.

Update: In recent years Rockwell extended direct access to “temporary activation requests” to certain “Partner Level” OEM's and Integrators to allow them to request their own temporary activations to use on the road to make modifications and perform client demonstrations.

So if there's a software package from Rockwell that you would like to test drive before purchasing, when you're ready to actually sit down and use it give your local Rockwell Automation Representative a call and request a Temporary Activation.

If it's available for the product in question, they'll just need your name, company, and contact info before submitting the request to the factory.

That said, if your local rep seems totally unaware of what you're requesting, and you're unable to contact your local PLC, HMI, or Software specialist, you may want to try requesting the Temporary Activation directly from Rockwell's Activation group.

I hope you found this article about Temporary Activations helpful. If you would like to leave a comment please click on the “Reply” link at the bottom of this article.


Shawn Tierney
Automation Instructor and Blogger (post views: 1,963 views)

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Forum Comments:
  1. Hi Sean,
    I think you are correct about the practice of "getting by" to save money with temporary activations when providing support. But there is another option. Perhaps my suggestion below can help:
    The expense of a Toolkit can be a hindrance for companies that want to use AB products but are reluctant to so because of the high cost of field support. A company with support personnel in the field may find it difficult to provide activations for everyone. Many of them may not use the software that much either. This is where the borrowing feature can work well using a VPN connection to a central server that stores the activations. In most cases, just a few activations can be enough for many users depending on the use of the software. The field user can borrow or simply be connected to the VPN server when using the software.
    The server needs to have the Activation Manager installed running to provide VPN access to activations. The server administrator downloads the activations from Rockwell when the annual toolkit is obtained.
    The users in the field must have the Activation Manager software running on their computers and be connected to the VPN server in order to access the activations. In the Manage Activation tab, the "Update Activation Server Path" can have the IP address of the server added. A port number is also necessary and it is usually 27000. Enter the path using this example: "27000@"
      An activation can be borrowed for hours, days or for the entire length of the agreement. Once all or whichever activations are borrowed (download all if not sure) the software can be used for that length of time without being connected to the VPN server.

    - or -
      the activation for the specific software is ready to use when connected to the server.

    It is suggested that the use of the activations are closely monitored by the administrator or the borrowing can get out of hand where all activation are borrowed for lengthy amounts of time and never returned leaving none for everyone else.
    I hope this helps. Cheers!
    Good morning @dadadadeo
    Thanks for your detailed post!
    For other readers I should clarify that while some customers attempt to request more than one Temp activation for the same product as a way to avoid buying software, the RA or Distributor folks filling out the request really should know this has always been against the policy and should not process repeated requests.
    That said, your Toolkit/VPN suggestion is one we see a lot of integrators using in the North East, however my constant reminder to them is to set the max borrow time to something shorter than the default - something like 24 hours - less someone accidentally borrow a license for months and then forget about it!
    I do miss the $2000 Toolkit bundle for a single set of activations. This "developer" edition was great for those one or two person integrators.
    Unfortunately, while RA now has low cost toolkits for OEMs, there's nothing close to $2000 for small integrators.
    Thanks again for your post!
    Shawn Tierney,

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