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Product in Focus


Product in Focus


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Beckhoff implements open automation systems based on PC Control technology.

Beckhoff offers comprehensive system solutions in different performance classes for all areas of automation. The control technology is scalable – from high-performance Industrial PC to mini-PLC – and can be adapted precisely to the respective application. TwinCAT automation software integrates real-time control with PLC, NC and CNC functions in a single package.

TwinCAT 3 | eXtended Automation (XA)

Beckhoff created a global standard for automation with the launch of PC-based control technology in 1986. On the software side, the TwinCAT (The Windows Control and Automation Technology) automation suite forms the core of the control system. The TwinCAT software system turns almost any PC-based system into a real-time control with multiple PLC, NC, CNC and/or robotics runtime systems. TwinCAT 3 is the systematic further development of TwinCAT 2, with which the world of automation technology is being redefined.

TwinCAT 3 – Product Overview

TwinCAT 3 is divided into components. The TwinCAT 3 engineering components enable the configuration, programming and debugging of applications. The TwinCAT 3 runtime consists of further components – basic components and functions. The basic components can be extended by functions.

BEC101– Introduction to Beckhoff and TwinCAT 2 & 3

TwinCAT 2 | Windows Control & Automation

The Beckhoff TwinCAT software system turns almost any compatible PC into a real-time controller with a multi-PLC system, NC axis control, programming environment and operating station. TwinCAT replaces conventional PLC and NC/CNC controllers as well as operating devices with:

  • open, compatible PC hardware
  • embedded IEC 61131-3 software PLC, software NC and software CNC in Windows NT/2000/XP/Vista, Windows 7, NT/ XP Embedded, CE
  • programming and run-time systems optionally together on one PC or separated
  • connection to all common fieldbuses
  • PC interfaces support
  • data communication with user interfaces and other programs by means of open Microsoft standards (OPC, OCX, DLL, etc.)

TwinCAT architecture

TwinCAT consists of run-time systems that execute control programs in real-time and the development environments for programming, diagnostics and configuration. Any Windows programs, for instance visualisation programs or Office programs, can access TwinCAT data via Microsoft interfaces, or can execute commands.

A practically oriented software solution

TwinCAT offers a precise timebase in which programs are executed with the highest deterministic features, independently of other processor tasks. The real-time load on a PC is set with TwinCAT; defined operating behaviour is achieved in this way. TwinCAT indicates the system load for programs that are running. A load threshold can be set in order to assure a defined computing capacity for the operating programs as well as for Windows NT/2000/XP/Vista or Windows 7. If this threshold is exceeded, a system message is generated.

BEC101– Introduction to Beckhoff and TwinCAT 2 & 3

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