PLCs, DCSs & Controllers

New control concept for metalworking

January 2009 PLCs, DCSs & Controllers

Beckhoff has introduced a new generation of more powerful and price-optimised CNC systems with PC- and EtherCAT-based control technology.

CNC solutions are used in lathes, sheet metal processing, grinding, sawing and cutting machines. The EtherCAT realtime Ethernet system enables high-speed communication between PC controller and the digital drives. Additional process optimisation is offered by the XFC (extreme fast control) technology, which allows extremely fast, deterministic reactions. XFC is based on an architecture comprising an advanced industrial PC, ultra-fast I/O terminals, the EtherCAT high-speed Ethernet system, and the TwinCAT automation software. It enables extremely fast deterministic reactions creating new possibilities to improve machine quality and shorten reaction times.

Extreme fast CNC control from Beckhoff
Extreme fast CNC control from Beckhoff

In principle, the Beckhoff solution comprises:

* A modern Industrial PC as an open control platform.

* Software NC/CNC for motion control and interpolating path movements.

* EtherCAT as a fast communication medium for I/Os and drives,

* EtherCAT I/Os for high precision control of actuators and fast sensor signal recording that integrates measurement technology and monitoring.

* EtherCAT Servo Drives from the AX5000 series with a corresponding range of motors.

A new generation of industrial PCs is available for the EtherCAT-based control concept, these IPCs contain two Ethernet interfaces for automation and IT applications. While the 100 MBit Ethernet ports offer optimum performance for all EtherCAT control tasks, a gigabit port is available for connecting higher-level networks.

On the software side, Beckhoff offered two solutions for interpolating path movements in the TwinCAT NC I and TwinCAT CNC: TwinCAT NC I is the modular CNC solution for up to 31 channels, each with up to three main and five auxiliary axes. TwinCAT CNC is the classic, powerful CNC application for up to 64 axes. The basis of both CNC systems is the fast TwinCAT PLC system.


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