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PC-based control technology from Beckhoff Automation

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article image Integrated PC- and EtherCAT-based control technology

Gantry robots, SCARA, articulated or parallel kinematics – the right robot for any machining step with only one automation platform is now available.

PC-based control technology from Beckhoff Automation enables the whole process chain for individual processing machines and complete production lines to be controlled and monitored: feeding, joining (welding, gluing, etc.), assembly, checking, handling and palletising.

Highly dynamic handling devices with high repeatability require a system that guarantees minimum delays for all sub-processes including physical signal sampling, processing in the motion controller and response at a physical output.

Beckhoff Automation offer the required products and technologies: high-performance IPCs and Embedded PCs, Control Panels as control and display elements, fast and compact I/O components in IP 20 or IP 67, EtherCAT as open and ultra-fast communication system, versatile Servo Drive Technology, cost-effective stepper motor technology and the TwinCAT PLC and motion control software.

The functional safety of the application is ensured through Beckhoff TwinSAFE technology. Safe I/O components and drive-integrated safety functions that are linked to the safe Logic Terminal through a safe communication enable safe system operation.

TwinCAT: continuity with PC-based technology

With the PC-based control system, Beckhoff Automation have created a coherent standard to cater for a wide range of requirements from different industries. This led to the development of a uniform, fully scalable and, most importantly, open system.

This openness, both in terms of the software and the hardware interfaces, helps machine manufactures to adapt their systems to diverse and changing requirements without repeatedly incurring high implementation costs and effort.

TwinCAT integrates PLC and Motion Control functions and controls the individual process steps of the processing machines with high performance.

Software PLC programming is based on the international IEC 61131-3 standard. A wide range of software modules for different tasks such as cams, synchronised and interpolating movements of several axes are available.

Solutions for different areas of application can be implemented due to the high flexibility in terms of combination options for master and slave axes and the high-performance and diverse motion functions.

Powerful tools such as TwinCAT Cam Design Tool and TwinCAT ScopeView support system design and commissioning.

PLC libraries with function blocks based on the PLCopen Motion Control standards simplify programming and enable the use of standardised components.

EtherCAT: maximum performance even for systems with many axes

The basis for the ultra-fast process communication is the EtherCAT Industrial Ethernet system, which is suitable for use in production machines. The fast communication between the controller and the I/O signals – without special hardware – offers the machine manufacturer the possibility of Motion Control with multiple axes, synchronised through distributed EtherCAT clocks, with nanosecond accuracy.

With XFC (eXtreme Fast Control Technology) from Beckhoff Automation, any programmer is able to realise fast and highly precise control solutions for special production machines simply and elegantly based on standard components.

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