Press Release

29th March 2012
Beckhoff at Automatica 2012: Hall B1, Booth 308
TwinCAT 3: eXtended Automation for robotics applications
PC-based Control: Integration of robot kinematics in the standard control system

At Automatica between 22 and 25 May in Munich, Germany, Beckhoff will present its complete range of solutions for robotics, assembly, handling, control, safety and drive applications. The focus is on the TwinCAT 3 software generation. TwinCAT 3 offers the ideal platform for scientific automation, i.e. the extension of PC-based control technology with new components. Among other benefits, robotics components can easily be integrated into the overall control system, thus eliminating the need for separate robotics control. Full integration into TwinCAT 3 without the need for special robotics tools and languages reduces the engineering costs significantly.

Scientific automation enables the processor power to be fully utilised, particularly with multi-core support, so that conventional PC-based automation applications can be extended with new components. Not only measurement technology and Condition Monitoring, but also robotics can be integrated into the standard control system. Robotics and Motion Control functions can be combined and synchronised on a single platform for optimum performance.  

Reduced engineering costs: configuration, parameterisation and diagnostics in one system  

The TwinCAT Kinematic Transformation software integrates robot control into the TwinCAT automation suite. PLC, Motion Control, HMI, measurement technology and robotics functions can be executed on an Industrial PC. Configuration and programming take place entirely in TwinCAT, so that the engineering time and costs can be reduced significantly. So far the following kinematic systems have been implemented: Cartesian gantry, shear kinematics, roller kinematics (H-Bot), SCARA, 2-D kinematics, 2-D parallel kinematics and 3-D delta kinematics. Further kinematic systems are planned for the future. In addition, TwinCAT Kinematic Transformation offers tracking functions. This means that the robot is synchronised with a moving object, so that it can pick up workpieces from conveyor belts or inclined turntables, for example.

eXtended Automation offers new opportunities for robotics  

With TwinCAT 3, the new software generation for PC-based control technology, C/C++ and Matlab®/Simulink® are available as programming languages in addition to IEC 61131-3. This makes integration of special robot kinematics quite straightforward. In cases where special controllers have to be used, they can simply be integrated as Matlab®/Simulink® models.  

Scalable drive technology  

Particularly in applications with small robots there is demand for compact drive equipment for small outputs. The EL7201 servo terminal for the Beckhoff EtherCAT Terminal system integrates a complete servo drive for motors up to 200 W in a standard terminal housing. Simple integration facilitates implementation of compact and cost-effective robotics applications.  

The AX5000 EtherCAT drives in conjunction with servomotors are available for highly dynamic positioning tasks. The new AM8000 synchronous servomotor series in standard or stainless steel design is characterised by high dynamics and energy efficiency at low cost. One of the highlights is the new single-cable technology, with which the power and feedback system are combined in the standard motor cable. Material and commissioning costs are thus significantly lowered. The AM8800 stainless steel model with IP 67 protection is particularly suitable for application in the food, pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

Efficient and safe robot control systems  

EtherCAT, the real-time Ethernet fieldbus, offers maximum performance with very short update times. TwinSAFE guarantees safe data transmission. The integrated safety system from Beckhoff ensures safety from the I/Os up to the drives. This also includes programming and testing of the safety program in the TwinCAT system.

Press picture

  • <p>Beckhoff offers a complete solution for robot control systems, including high-performance Industrial PCs with TwinCAT automation software, EtherCAT Terminals for fast data transmission, and EtherCAT Servo Drives for connection of highly dynamic servomotors.</p>

    Picture caption:

    Beckhoff offers a complete solution for robot control systems, including high-performance Industrial PCs with TwinCAT automation software, EtherCAT Terminals for fast data transmission, and EtherCAT Servo Drives for connection of highly dynamic servomotors.

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