Platform integrates PLC, motion control, and robotics
Beckhoff Automation highlights “The Power of One for the Packaging Industry” at Pack Expo 2013, showing the value in integrating high-performance PLC, motion control, and robotics capabilities with the Beckhoff PC- and EtherCAT-based control platform, TwinCAT software. A hand-sized Beckhoff embedded PC operated a high-speed SCARA robot and a multi-touch monitor simultaneously. (See photos.)
Beckhoff Automation highlighted “The Power of One for the Packaging Industry,” showing the value in integrating high-performance PLC, motion control, and robotics capabilities with the Beckhoff PC- and EtherCAT-based control platform, TwinCAT, at Pack Expo 2013 in Las Vegas. Using one platform, users can manage all automated tasks via Beckhoff TwinCAT software.
The photo (second from bottom) demonstrates a small Beckhoff Automation embedded PC, the CX2020, controlling a Codian Robotics high-speed 3-axis SCARA robot, three rotating disks on the platform, and a Beckhoff Multi-touch human-machine interface. The robot, with a laser pointer, followed a rapid spinning dot on the disks, in sequence.
Beckhoff TwinCAT version 3.1 was presented at Pack Expo. A major new feature is the support for 64-bit operating systems, which can now also be used for the run time. Further enhancements include PLC run time for Microsoft Windows CE, improved integration of source-code control databases, automatic code generation with the automation interface, and integration into the new Microsoft Visual Studio 2012. TwinCAT 3.1 has new features for eXtended Automation. Extending the TwinCAT automation suite with robot kinematics enables the cost-effective integration of robots along with their interaction and synchronization with PLC and motion control functions. This results in the seamless integration into the overall control system while eliminating additional robot CPUs. “TwinCAT Kinematic Transformation” software supports the following kinematics types: cartesian portal, shear kinematics, roller kinematics (H Bot), SCARA, 2D kinematics, 2D parallel kinematics, and 3D delta kinematics.
The EL7051 stepper motor terminal has field-oriented control, which helps eliminate stepper motor stalling and reduces motor heat. Stepper motors up to 8 A at a rated voltage of 80 V dc can be directly connected to the EL7051 EtherCAT Terminal. Therefore, it is also possible to drive stepper motors with a higher power rating directly from the I/O system. In combination with the AS1060 stepper motor from Beckhoff, the EL7051 represents an inexpensive small drive solution.
Stainless steel control solutions have food-grade design (see photo, left). Beckhoff offers stainless steel controls in FDA-approved design for the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries. Stainless steel panels and panel PCs with gap-free housing design and flush-fitting touchscreen are available in the display sizes 12-in., 15-in. or 19-in. Stainless steel servomotors of the AM8800 series are designed for standstill torques from 1 to 16.7 Nm and can withstand washdown procedures with aggressive cleaning agents. Stainless steel I/O modules with EtherCAT interfaces cover a broad range of applications for all common signal types and are also rated at IP69K. (See photo.)
Multi-touch panels allow users to zoom, scroll, and flick their way to more effective HMI. The highly functional CP2xxx and CP3xxx Control Panel and Panel PC series feature a modern operating concept with innovative multi-touch technology as well as a contemporary, elegant device design. The aluminum and stainless steel panels are extremely robust and are designed for use under harsh industrial conditions in cabinets or as mounting arm devices. The new Control Panel generation with multi-touch functionality is available in display sizes ranging from 7- to 24-in. (16:9, 5:4, 4:3).
New Beckhoff AM8500 Servo Motors have extended performance range suited for more applications. The higher rotor moment of inertia is ideal for applications with large loads and high synchronism requirements. The Beckhoff Automation AM8500 series of servo motors has an increased rotor moment of inertia, to extend the performance range of Beckhoff servo motors. The AM8500 servo motor series is suitable for all applications with larger external mass inertias, in particular CNC applications in machine tools and woodworking machines. Typical areas of application for the AM8500 servo motors also include printing machines as well as film winders and feeding drive units. The series covers a wide performance range with four sizes and three lengths with standstill torques from 1.38 to 29 Nm. Featured on all servo motors from the AM8000 series is the One Cable Technology (OCT); power and feedback systems are combined into one motor cable.
Beckhoff servo motors are said to offer outstanding dynamic characteristics and a special internal electromagnetic design for good overload behavior. With the increased rotor moment of inertia, the new AM8500 series benefits additional applications with demands for large loads and high synchronism. Due to the modified rotor geometry, the moment of inertia is increased, depending on the length, by 100% to 300% compared to previous AM8000 series servo motors.
As a result of the high rotor inertia, the control of the AM8500 is simplified in areas where a high external inertia must be moved, because the servo motors tend to vibrate less and can be adjusted much more easily by the servo controller. In some cases it is even possible to do without a gearbox if one is otherwise necessary only for the ratio of external to intrinsic inertia.
- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, mhoske(at)cfemedia.com.