Beckhoff Automation have announced a PC-based safety PLC at the Hanover Fair 2009. The safety solution, TwinSAFE, supports the integration of safety related functions into the automation system through bus terminals. Beckhoff Automation have integrated the safety PLC function into the PC.
The TwinSAFE is a safety solution for the Beckhoff Automation bus terminal system. The implementation of the TwinSAFE safety PLC’s modules into the compact 12mm housing of an electronic terminal allows a flexible integration and extension of safety functions. Beckhoff Automation started with control systems that rely on PC-based technology. The rapid development and growth of performance in PC technology were directly adapted to the performance of a machine control and used to increase the efficiency of the machine.
The TwinSAFE safety PLC runs on a standard industrial PC and the performance available for the standard logic is now offered for the safety logic as well. The TwinSAFE safety PLC/ safety solution consists of software that is integrated into the TwinCAT system. This software allows safe processing of safety functions. No hardware extension is needed within the PC which means that every PC can be used as a safety PLC.
For safe communication between the industrial PC with the TwinSAFE safety PLC and the decentralised TwinSAFE components (safety inputs/outputs, safety-related drives, safety sensors), the Safety over EtherCAT protocol is used. This protocol is disclosed within the EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG). As the Safety over EtherCAT protocol was used for earlier TwinSAFE components, the safety system can be compatibly extended with a high performance PC-based safety PLC.