The latest TwinCAT product merges PC-based PLC and motion control with next-generation Ethernet. TwinCAT 2.10 can scan hardware through Beckhoff, Profibus, CANopen, DeviceNet, SERCOS, real-time Ethernet and Lightbus high speed, deterministic EtherCAT. It compares networks to system configurations, identifying what hardware is physically present, making for faster and easier diagnostics.
TwinCAT has always been able to synchronize multiple deterministic networks and offered support for multiple fieldbus networks simultaneously. The 2.10 version now does the same thing for EtherCAT-networked devices, so high-speed EtherCAT devices can be added into systems and use other fieldbuses and I/O devices at the same time. It also lets systems use different update rates for different drives, meaning the CPU can now run control loops only as often as necessary, so all drive control loops no longer have to run at the fastest rate required. TwinCAT 2.10 allows full remote target systems programming for Beckhoff BC, BX, CX and PC controllers, with communication via TCP/IP, HTTP and serial connections. TwinCAT software allows open, PC hardware to replace the conventional PLCs, NC/CNC controllers and operating devices.
In an age of globalization and rapid changes through scientific progress, two of our societies' (and economies') main concerns are to satisfy the needs and wishes of the individual and to save precious resources. Cloud computing caters to both of these.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.