System Integration & Control Systems Design

PC-based control

July 2014 System Integration & Control Systems Design

Beckhoff’s Scientific Automation integrates robotics, measurement technology and condition monitoring into the standard control platform alongside PLC, motion control and safety technology. TwinCAT utilises the multi-core technology of modern processors, so that complex mathematical algorithms for robotic applications or measurement analysis can be performed on separate cores, without performance implications for the PLC. When configuring a PC-based controller with multi-core CPU, the TwinCAT user can define which cores are visible to the operating system and which ones are 100% available to the TwinCAT runtime. This allows robot transformations to be calculated on one core while the PLC is executed on another.

PC-based control integrates six-axis robot kinematics into the standard controller

With TwinCAT kinematic transformation, various robot kinematics such as 2-D parallel kinematics, 3-D delta or Scara can be programmed either with DIN 66025 commands or with the PLCopen-compliant function blocks from the PLC.

Beckhoff provides for a uniform appearance at the assembly cell with a scalable range of active and passive panels featuring multi-touch operating technology. Display sizes from 175 to 600 mm as well as versions with different connections and processor powers provide the user with maximum variety and flexibility. Further advantages of the multi-touch panel series are gained from the use of CP-Link 4, a one cable technology for separating the control unit from the PC by a distance of up to 100 m: Video signal, USB 2.0 and power supply are carried by a standard CAT.6A cable. The user benefits not only from the higher flexibility, but from the reduced cable and assembly costs.

Acceleration and angle measurement directly in the field

Measures to optimise machine availability, e.g. condition monitoring, are becoming increasingly important in mechanical engineering. To integrate condition monitoring Beckhoff offers suitable I/O components and TwinCAT 3 libraries, and the latest addition to this product family is the EP1816-3008 EtherCAT Box. Equipped with two integrated three-axis acceleration sensors and 16 digital inputs, it can be used for an easily installed and cost-effective implementation of vibration and shock as well as tilt monitoring in longitudinal and transverse directions. Thus users can acquire additional data on the status of robotic and gantry type applications with high precision and no great effort.

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


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