Networking Software Supports Many Protocols


MINNEAPOLIS, January 10, 2006 – In order to bring PC-based PLC and motion control together with next generation Ethernet, Beckhoff Automation has introduced the latest major revision to the TwinCAT product line with TwinCAT 2.10.

TwinCAT 2.10 has functions for scanning hardware connected to systems via high speed, deterministic EtherCAT from Beckhoff as well as Profibus, CANopen, DeviceNet, SERCOS, real time Ethernet and Lightbus. In addition to the ability to quickly scan networks and find devices, TwinCAT 2.10 provides faster and easier diagnostics by comparing networks to system configurations and identifying what hardware is physically present.

TwinCAT has always been able to support multiple fieldbus networks simultaneously and can synchronize multiple deterministic networks together. For example, drives on SERCOS can be synchronized to drives on Beckhoff’s fiber optic fieldbus, Lightbus for camming and coordinated motion control. Beckhoff has now added similar support for EtherCAT-networked devices. With this addition, high-speed EtherCAT devices can be added to systems while continuing to use other fieldbuses and I/O devices. For example, SERCOS drives running a 2ms update rate can be synchronized to EtherCAT drives running a 250 µs update rate.

TwinCAT 2.10 has the ability to set different update rates for different drives. Some drives require the torque, velocity and position control loops to be closed inside the PC and a new torque command issued every 50 to 125 µs. Other drives on the network may only need to have their target positions updated every 2 ms and the drive will internally close the position, velocity and torque loops. In the past, all drive control loops were run at the fastest rate required, while with TwinCAT 2.10, the CPU is no longer burdened because it only runs control loops as often as is necessary.
TwinCAT 2.10 also provides fully functional programming of remote target systems for easier programming of Beckhoff BC, BX, CX and PC controllers. Communication can be set up via TCP/IP, HTTP and serial connections.

Established system used across the globe
For several years, TwinCAT software from Beckhoff Automation has brought users around the world the ability to turn any compatible PC into a real-time controller with a multiple PLC system, NC axis control, programming environment and operating station. TwinCAT replaces conventional PLCs, NC/CNC controllers and operating devices with open, PC hardware. Several programming environments are available within TwinCAT through compliance with IEC 61131-3, the only global standard for industrial controls programming.

Beckhoff Automation provides advanced, open automation products based upon proven technologies so that customers can implement high performance control systems faster and at a lower overall cost than traditional PLC and motion control systems. Beckhoff’s “New Automation Technology” product range includes PC based control, industrial PCs, automation controllers, operator interface, I/O, servo drives and motors. With representation in 50 countries, Beckhoff is well positioned to provide global sales and service to its customers. Sales and service are handled directly, with no intermediaries involved to provide faster response and improved communications.
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