Press Release

21st February 2013
Beckhoff at Prolight + Sound: Hall 9.0, Booth E84
SMPTE timecode and sACN extend communication diversity
PC-based control enables media and automation technology to merge

Beckhoff will present its PC- and EtherCAT-based control technology at Prolight + Sound 2013, which will take place between 10 and 13 April 2013 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Thanks to its openness and modularity, the Beckhoff automation platform is ideal for a wide range of theatre and show applications, including traditional stage technology, special effects in shows and amusement parks, and the complete area of lighting management and building automation. The highlights at the Beckhoff booth will include the integration of the standardised stage and media technology protocols SMPTE timecode and sACN, the servo terminal with One Cable Technology (OCT) and the new panel series with convenient multi-touch operation.

The Beckhoff automation solution, which has been tried and tested in numerous sectors and applications, is also used in stage and show technology applications around the world: The kinetic sculpture “Kinetic Rain” at Changhi airport, which consists of precisely synchronised 1216 axes, is a more prominent example of the many projects that have been realised with standard Beckhoff components.

Modular I/O system for logging all data points

The modular Beckhoff I/O systems for more than 400 signal types form the basis for logging all sensor and actuator data from stage and show equipment, including standard digital and analog signals, integrated lighting equipment (DMX, sACN, DALI, dimmers, LEDs), actuators (servo, DC and stepper motors) and SIL 3 safety functions. The new EL7201-0010 servo terminal now also supports the One Cable Technology (OCT) of the AM8100 servomotor series.       

The Bus Terminal system supports all relevant fieldbus systems, including PROFIBUS, PROFINET, CANopen, Ethernet TCP/IP, Modbus and RS232/RS485.

Merging media and automation technology

These days, a merging of media and automation technology is desired in virtually all major projects. For interfacing with media systems, Beckhoff uses SMPTE timecode or communication with Crestron and Bang & Olufsen systems. Combining the audio and video systems with the freely programmable Beckhoff controllers opens up new creative opportunities. When, for example, special effects such as vibration, wind, noise etc. are used to create perfect illusions in 4-D or 5-D cinemas, they can be precisely synchronised with the corresponding video and audio sequences.

Extended lighting control options through sACN

In addition to existing lighting integration options through DMX, DALI, LON, EIB, dimmers and LED control, Beckhoff now also offers integration of the sACN protocol (streaming Architecture for Control Network), which is widely used for stage equipment. The basic idea of sACN is to leverage the benefits of Ethernet, such as bidirectional communication, free choice of topology, cost-effective infrastructure components, high bandwidth and a wide range of devices for sending DMX frames. Beckhoff enables integration of the sACN protocol without special hardware. The sACN data can be linked with any control variables. For example, the modular Beckhoff control system enables the following connections:

  • sACN to DMX (DMX terminal EL6851 (master) and EL6581-0010 (slave)
  • sACN to dimmer (dimmer terminal KL2761 and KL2751)
  • sACN to DALI (DALI terminal KL6811)
  • sACN to stepper or DC motor
  • sACN to standard digital I/Os (24 V or 230 V)
  • sACN to standard analog I/Os

Safety controller for small to medium applications

In order to ensure the safety of operators and actors, Beckhoff offers an SIL 3-certified safety solution with scalable software and hardware. The new, compact EK1960 TwinSAFE controller integrates an EtherCAT Coupler, TwinSAFE PLC, 20 digital inputs and 10 digital outputs. It thus offers a full safety control system for small to medium applications.

Press picture

  • Support for the SMPTE timecode and sACN protocols is a further milestone in the integration of media and automation technology.

    Picture caption:

    Support for the SMPTE timecode and sACN protocols is a further milestone in the integration of media and automation technology.

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