PC-based Control for Robotics in Handling, Production and Assembly

Open automation solutions

A wide range of existing applications indicate that automation technology from Beckhoff can significantly enhance the productivity and flexibility of automatic assembly and handling systems. PC-based control technology from Beckhoff enables the whole process chain for individual processing machines and complete production lines to be controlled and monitored: Feeding, joining (welding, gluing, etc.), assembly, checking, handling and palletising can be implemented consistently with Beckhoff Industrial PCs as hardware platform and TwinCAT as automation software.

Integrated control platform for all robot types
Gantry robots, SCARA, articulated or parallel kinematics – the right robot for any machining step, yet only one automation platform. Highly dynamic handling devices with high repeatability require a system that guarantees minimum delays for all sub-processes including physical signal sampling, processing in the motion controller and response at a physical output. Beckhoff offers the required products and technologies: high-performance IPCs and Embedded PCs with Motherboards specially developed for industrial applications, Control Panels as control and display elements, fast and compact I/O components in IP 20 or IP 67, EtherCAT as open and ultra-fast communication system, versatile Servo Drive Technology, cost-effective stepper motor technology and the TwinCAT PLC and motion control software.

The functional safety of the application is ensured through Beckhoff TwinSAFE technology. Safe I/O components and drive-integrated safety functions that are linked to the safe Logic Terminal via a safe communication enable safe system operation.

TwinCAT: continuity with PC-based technology
TwinCAT integrates PLC and Motion Control functions and controls the individual process steps of the processing machines with high performance. Software PLC programming is based on the international IEC 61131-3 standard. A wide range of software modules for different tasks such as cams, synchronised and interpolating movements of several axes are available.

Solutions for different areas of application can be implemented due to the high flexibility in terms of combination options for master and slave axes and the high-performance and diverse motion functions. Powerful tools such as TwinCAT Cam Design Tool and TwinCAT Scope 2 support system design and commissioning. PLC libraries with function blocks based on the PLCopen Motion Control standards simplify programming and enable the use of standardised components.

EtherCAT: maximum performance even for systems with many axes
The basis for the ultra-fast process communication is the EtherCAT Industrial Ethernet system, which is ideally suited for use in production machines. The fast communication between the controller and the I/O signals – without special hardware – offers the machine manufacturer undreamt-of possibilities: Motion Control with multiple axes, synchronised through distributed EtherCAT clocks, with nanosecond accuracy.

With XFC (eXtreme Fast Control Technology) from Beckhoff, any programmer is able to realise very fast and highly precise control solutions for special production machines simply and elegantly based on standard components.

Robotics, Motion Control and PLC on one PC platform
“TwinCAT Kinematic Transformation” software integrates robot control into the TwinCAT automation software suite. The PLC, Motion Control, HMI and robotic functions run on one powerful Industrial PC CPU. This provides the user with a whole series of advantages:
– eliminating the additional CPU required for robot control
– reduction in engineering costs: configuration, parameterisation and diagnostics
   in one system
– TwinCAT, a well-known tool that adheres to global standards for configuration, programming
   and diagnostics
– no friction losses due to the interaction of various CPUs for PLC, motion and robotics
– Higher performance and accuracy due to direct interfaces; complex communication
   between CPUs is no longer required.

TwinCAT Kinematic Transformation integrates itself transparently in the existing Motion Control world: robotic and Motion Control functions can be optimally synchronised using TwinCAT
NC PTP (point-to-point axis positioning) or NC I (axis interpolation in three dimensions). All NC characteristics, such as “cam plate” or “flying saw” (synchronisation of a slave axis with a moving master axis) can be combined as desired on a common hardware and software platform.

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