With PC-based control, Beckhoff offers an open control solution that is finely scalable with regard to hardware and software and can be individually adapted to each application and its degree of complexity. The integrated TwinCAT automation software, which provides a universal tool and thus simplifies handling considerably, offers significant benefits in this context. Using high-performance PC hardware, such as an Embedded PC of the CX2000 series, enables all machine functions to be integrated on a single platform: PLC, Motion Control, CNC, safety, measurement technology and also condition monitoring, energy management and simulation.
Embedded PC: multi-core on the DIN rail
With multi-core processors and modular PC and I/O interfaces, the CX2000 series brings a high degree of flexibility and performance to the DIN rail. The modularly expandable Embedded PCs with robust metal housing are based on three basic CPU modules with the following processors: Intel® Celeron® 1.4 GHz single-core (CX2020), Intel® Core™ i7 1.5 GHz dual-core (CX2030) and Intel® Core™ i7 2.1 GHz quad-core (CX2040). The CX2000 series therefore covers a performance range previously only Industrial PCs could reach.
Multi-core support in the TwinCAT system
Based on the multi-core processors of the CX2000 series, functions such as PLC, CNC or condition monitoring can be executed on different cores. This enables the performance of advanced processors to be fully utilised for automation. The “isolated cores” option allows certain cores of a multi-core CPU to be allocated for TwinCAT. These isolated cores are then invisible for the operating system. It goes without saying that TwinCAT 3 offers a suitable configuration for distributing tasks to dedicated processor cores.
Engineering in the TwinCAT system
The fact that the complete engineering for I/Os, PLC and CNC – together with the configuration of safety technology – is based on a single system results in significant savings in engineering costs. There is no need for the user to master different tools, and in addition the benefits of integration in Microsoft Visual Studio® can be fully utilised. For example, all configuration data and the whole program code can be saved and versioned in a single source code control tool. Diagnostics with the integrated real-time scope simplifies commissioning and maintenance.
TwinCAT 3 offers a wide range of open interfaces, particularly for CNC applications. Microsoft Visual Studio® can be used to write transformations or controllers, e.g. in C or C++, to complement or replace existing transformations. This means that customer know-how can easily be integrated, as long as certain rules are followed: User-created modules have to be based on the TcCom (TwinCAT Component Object Model) specifications, to ensure they fit seamlessly in the TwinCAT system environment. Suitable wizards facilitate development, debuggers facilitate commissioning.
Compact drive technology with “One Cable Technology”
Various drives can be combined with the TwinCAT CNC solution: The EL7201-0010 servo terminal integrates a servo drive in a standard terminal housing and supports the One Cable Technology (OCT) of the AM81xx servomotor range. In the OCT solution the power and feedback systems are combined in the standard motor cable. This reduces material and commissioning costs and simplifies the cable installation. This compact drive solution is ideal for highly dynamic positioning tasks in machine construction.