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Beckhoff Automation introduces new technology

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article image XFC technology

With XFC technology Beckhoff Automation presents a new, fast control solution: XFC is based on an optimised control and communication architecture comprising an advanced industrial PC, ultra-fast I/O terminals with extended real-time characteristics, the high-speed Ethernet system EtherCAT, and the TwinCAT automation software.

With XFC it is possible to realise I/O response times ≤ 100 µs. This technology opens up new process optimisation options for the user that were not possible in the past due to technical limitations.

XFC (eXtreme fast control technology) represents a control technology that enables fast and highly deterministic responses. It includes all hardware and software components involved in control applications: optimised input and output components that can detect signals with high accuracy or initiate tasks; EtherCAT as fast communication network; high-performance industrial PCs; and TwinCAT, the automation software that links all system components.

Compared with current PC-based controllers, XFC offers performance improvements by a factor of 10 and enables cycle times of 100 µs, without having to give up central intelligence and associated high-performance algorithms.

In addition to optimised cycle time, XFC also offers improved temporal accuracy and enhanced resolution.

Users benefit from new options for enhancing the quality of their machines and reducing response times. Measuring tasks or documentation of parts quality can simply be integrated in the machine control without additional, costly special devices.

XFC technology is fully compatible with existing automation solutions, so that standard tasks, fast control and measuring tasks can be processed in parallel on the same hardware and software platform.

XFC components:

Beckhoff Automation offers a consistent XFC product range based primarily on four categories:

TwinCAT – The fast real-time control software:

  • Real-time under Microsoft Windows down to 50 µs cycle time
  • Standard IEC 61131-3 programming in XFC real-time tasks

EtherCAT – The fast control communication technology:

  • Distributed digital I/Os in 30 µs
  • Advanced real-time features based on distributed clocks (synchronisation, time stamping, oversampling)

EtherCAT Terminals – The fast I/O technology:

  • Digital and analogue high-speed I/Os
  • Time stamping and oversampling features allow extreme high timing resolution (down to 10 ns)

Industrial PC – The fast control CPU:

  • Industrial PC based on high-performance real-time motherboards
  • Compact form factors, optimised for control applications

All components are based on open standards which mean that any engineer or programmer can develop fast and high-performance control solutions with standard components (i.e. without special hardware).

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