IT in Manufacturing


Smart engineering directly in the cloud

March 2020 IT in Manufacturing

PC-based control offers a central, open and comprehensive machine control platform ideal for delivering highly efficient, IoT-based automation strategies. It enables machines, plants and production lines to be connected in ways that unlock their full efficiency potential across entire processes. In this context, TwinCAT Cloud Engineering adds a new dimension by providing users with an easy means of engineering TwinCAT instances and controllers in the cloud.

With TwinCAT Cloud Engineering, users can instantiate and use existing TwinCAT engineering and runtime products directly in the cloud. Quick and easy to access from the Beckhoff website with a web browser and requiring no additional software, the new solution enables registered users to work with the TwinCAT development environment even from previously unsupported devices such as tablet PCs.

The TwinCAT Cloud Engineering instances generated by users can be connected to physical control hardware over a secure transport channel. Users not only enjoy all the advantages of the TwinCAT control architecture, but distributed collaboration support through a source control repository as well. For new users in particular, having access to a TwinCAT Cloud Engineering instance in the cloud provides an ideal and comprehensive foundation on which to get to know the TwinCAT environment.

In addition, TwinCAT Cloud Engineering enables users to move their entire TwinCAT architecture to the cloud, the only difference versus a conventional TwinCAT environment being that they use a virtual machine instead of a local engineering PC. One advantage is that users need not get used to a new software environment but can simply continue to work in the same, familiar development environment. Another is that they do not have to install and maintain multiple software versions tailored to specific machine generations on their own PCs. Instead, users can run separate TwinCAT Cloud Engineering instances with different software versions, all of which they can access remotely whenever they need to. Project files are stored in a source code control repository which can be accessed directly from within TwinCAT Engineering.

Efficient team collaboration with source control

Based on modern source control features, connecting to Git-based systems and managing automation projects on them is easy. The TwinCAT multi-user functionality enables simple, seamless access to a source control repository without the need for special technical expertise. Here, TwinCAT Cloud Engineering enables multiple users to work together on a number of instances at the same time either by integrating a Git server into the instance or using a Git-based cloud service.


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