FOR SEVERAL years, the TwinCAT software line from Beckhoff Automation has brought users 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 provides 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.
- Improved hardware scanning - TwinCAT 2.10 provides faster and easier diagnostics to identify hardware on the network
- Comprehensive support for EtherCAT and EtherCAT-networked devices
- Improved ability to set different update rates for different drives.
- CPU is no longer burdened with target positions of drives, with TwinCAT 2.10, control loops are run only as often as necessary.
- 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.
TwinCAT has always been able to support multiple fieldbus networks simultaneously and can synchronize multiple deterministic networks together. Now, according to Shane Novacek of Beckhoff, “TwinCAT 2.10 has functions for scanning hardware connected to systems via Profibus, CANopen, DeviceNet, SERCOS, real time Ethernet, Lightbus and high speed, deterministic EtherCAT from Beckhoff.” Novacek continued, “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 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 ms. 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, 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.
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