PLCs, DCSs & Controllers

PC and EtherCAT-based control technology

October 2012 PLCs, DCSs & Controllers

At EuroBlech in Germany, between 23 and 27 October, Beckhoff will present its integrated solution for metal forming. PC and EtherCAT-based control increases the control quality, enabling machines to run faster and with higher precision.

Sheet metal components come in all shapes and sizes, requiring a wide range of machining processes including rolling, cutting, stamping, folding, drawing, joining, cleaning and finishing. Beckhoff controls presses, punches, transfer units, straightening machines, lubrication units and cutters. For these diverse requirements Beckhoff offers an integrated, scalable control platform in the form of PC and EtherCAT-based control. A single industrial PC is used for control, motion and HMI. This way, the high processor power offered by PC technology eliminates the need for special hardware: position and pressure controllers for hydraulic valves, for example, can be replaced with software. The Industrial PC can deal with highly complex control algorithms without performance implications and still has sufficient performance reserves for additional functions such as condition monitoring or safety features.

EtherCAT guarantees high control quality

Presses require sophisticated control technology, since high forces are applied at high speeds. EtherCAT, the real-time Ethernet fieldbus, in conjunction with PC-based control, enables smaller sampling rates, so that the machine can run faster and at the same time with higher precision. All necessary process signals can be integrated simply and inexpensively into the controller via the Beckhoff I/O systems in protection class IP20 or IP67: from the digital I/Os, high-precision measuring terminals and safety functions to condition monitoring.

For more information contact Kenneth McPherson, Beckhoff Automation, +27 (0)11 795 2898,,


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