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 © Baader-Johnson
© Baader-Johnson

PC-based control for the food industry

Open automation solutions for the food industry

Food packaging requires high-quality, flexible and resource-saving solutions. In addition to ever smaller production batches and increasing production speed, traceability and complete electronic process documentation and validation are becoming increasingly important. With PC-based Control, Beckhoff offers a control solution for highly efficient, flexible and compact filling and packaging machines. PC-based Control is particularly suitable for applications in which high speed and precision are required or where complex motion connections have to be implemented. Maximum flexibility is guaranteed in situations where packaging systems are to be adapted to changing requirements without high implementation costs or if new functionalities are to be seamlessly integrated.

TwinCAT is the integrated software and engineering platform for all automation processes, including PLC, Motion Control, robotics and Condition Monitoring. All control and drive components are fully scalable in terms of performance and design. Open interfaces in hardware and software ensure continuous communication from the sensor to the cloud. Further advantages include the integrated safety solution and support of common industry standards such as FDA, EHEDG, Weihenstephan standards, OMAC and GPM.

Beckhoff technology highlights for the food industry

With a universal component construction kit and profound, cross-industry know-how, Beckhoff realizes open automation systems on the basis of PC-based control technology. For the process industry, a comprehensive portfolio of explosion-proof components is available for implementing integrated solution concepts for barrier-free communication from Zone 0/20 to the cloud.
With a universal component construction kit and profound, cross-industry know-how, Beckhoff realizes open automation systems on the basis of PC-based control technology. For the process industry, a comprehensive portfolio of explosion-proof components is available for implementing integrated solution concepts for barrier-free communication from Zone 0/20 to the cloud.

All-purpose control platform: from explosion protection applications to large-scale process engineering plants

With a universal component construction kit and profound, cross-industry know-how, Beckhoff realizes open automation systems on the basis of PC-based control technology. Through the consistent bundling of control intelligence in the software and the use of established standard technologies from the worlds of IT and automation, PC-based control combines all functions such as PLC, measurement technology and motion control in a single system. For the process industry, a comprehensive portfolio of explosion-proof components is available for implementing integrated solution concepts for barrier-free communication from Zone 0/20 to the cloud. These include the EtherCAT Terminals of the ELX series with intrinsically safe interfaces, the Control Panels and Panel PCs of the CPX series with high-quality finish, the TwinCAT control software with specific process technology interfaces, hardware and software modules for simple IoT communication, and the application of cloud-based services and system networking. In the case of new plants, the explosion protection can be integrated directly into the overall controller; in the case of existing plants the Beckhoff PC-based controller can be simply extended.

Automation, process engineering and IoT communication in one system:

  • integrated hardware and software platform
  • barrier-free process technology integration from Zone 0/20 to the cloud
  • EtherCAT Terminals with intrinsically safe interfaces, explosion-proof Control Panels and Panel PCs and process-specific interfaces
  • PC-based control technology is established worldwide and across all industries

With the principle of PC-based control technology, Beckhoff enables a wide range of I/O components to be combined in one system. EtherCAT Terminals for measurement technology tasks, functional safety or explosion protection can be combined freely and integrated into a holistic control system.
With the principle of PC-based control technology, Beckhoff enables a wide range of I/O components to be combined in one system. EtherCAT Terminals for measurement technology tasks, functional safety or explosion protection can be combined freely and integrated into a holistic control system.

One platform, one CPU, one bus

One control platform and one high-performance fieldbus for all control tasks. With its PC-based control technology, Beckhoff makes it possible to combine the widest range of I/O components in a single system. With only a single CPU and a single fieldbus, all EtherCAT Terminals for measurement tasks, functional safety and explosion protection can be easily integrated into a comprehensive control system for real-time applications. Users no longer need to rely on multiple standalone solutions but can benefit from the efficiencies of an integrated solution.

The comprehensive integration of the HART protocol in TwinCAT enables the functions from the engineering interface to be used.
The comprehensive integration of the HART protocol in TwinCAT enables the functions from the engineering interface to be used.

Simplifies the commissioning of field devices: TwinCAT

The full integration of the HART functionality into both the I/O system and the TwinCAT engineering environment ensures simple project planning and commissioning. The HART integration allows users to integrate HART field devices directly into the controller. In addition, TwinCAT reduces engineering effort: The TwinCAT FDT container enables the integration of field device DTMs directly into TwinCAT Engineering and thus offers programming and field device configuration in one environment.

Beckhoff ComDTM enables seamless integration of TwinCAT controllers into existing process control systems. DTMs from the field devices connected to the HART-capable EtherCAT Terminals can be integrated in any desired FDT containers with the help of the ComDTM. This allows field devices to be configured and parameterized remotely in the containers without the need for access to the PLC. Thanks to the comprehensive integration of the HART protocol in TwinCAT, the functions from the Engineering interface can be used.

 As a universally usable and open high-speed fieldbus for PLC, Motion, I/O sensors, measurement technology and safety technology, EtherCAT is also suitable for explosion-proof connection.
As a universally usable and open high-speed fieldbus for PLC, Motion, I/O sensors, measurement technology and safety technology, EtherCAT is also suitable for explosion-proof connection.

Established across all industries: the high-speed EtherCAT fieldbus

The EtherCAT fieldbus system developed by Beckhoff has been in use around the world since 2003 and is now regarded as the communication standard in many industries. As a universally usable and open high-speed fieldbus for PLC, Motion, I/O sensors, measurement technology and safety technology, EtherCAT is also suitable for explosion-proof connection. In other words, users only need one single communication technology. They can put their trust in the profound know-how of the EtherCAT pioneer Beckhoff and benefit from the safety and flexibility of the universal EtherCAT architecture. EtherCAT-based control systems are flexible and open, permitting the integration of third-party EtherCAT devices as well as many other fieldbus systems. With this openness, EtherCAT optimizes existing and new systems alike and ensures investment protection. This is aided by the fact that there is no need to worry about revision control: EtherCAT exists in one version only, which means that new developments based on EtherCAT are always compatible with older device generations.

Users in hazardous areas also benefit from EtherCAT’s time stamp functionality, which guarantees high measuring quality and highly precise synchronization – even in extensive systems. Moreover, the EtherCAT concept with a 100 Mbit data rate and complete diagnostics integrated, enables fast error identification in systems and plants: downtime is minimized, while maintenance is simplified and uptime is increased. Via the ELX modules, the full performance of EtherCAT communication is supported right into each I/O terminal.

With its Extended Distance technology, EtherCAT simplifies data acquisition in large and distributed areas.
With its Extended Distance technology, EtherCAT simplifies data acquisition in large and distributed areas.

Ideal for large and distributed installations

With its Extended Distance technology, EtherCAT simplifies the capturing of data in large and distributed installations such as refineries, water treatment or chemical plants. It does this, for example, with two EK1101-0010 EtherCAT Couplers, whose ports support extended distances. They can communicate over distances of up to 300 m without the need for intermediate infrastructure components. The Couplers accept standard EtherCAT Terminal blocks. With the EK1121-0010 terminal module users can also integrate an Extended Distance branch directly into the terminal segment and connect a remote 300 m I/O station. Due to its compatibility with standard EtherCAT devices, the Extended Distance technology does not place any extra demands on the system topology, which makes it possible to configure the EtherCAT network simply based on individual requirements.

Beckhoff product highlights for the food industry

The ELX EtherCAT terminal series: highly compact and intrinsically safe according to ATEX, IECEx and NEC/CEC
The ELX EtherCAT terminal series: highly compact and intrinsically safe according to ATEX, IECEx and NEC/CEC

The ELX series: intrinsically safe according to IECEx, ATEX and NEC/CEC

With the ELX terminals Beckhoff combines highly compact remote I/O modules with isolating barriers for the direct connection of intrinsically safe field devices. The result: very slim EtherCAT Terminals for direct connection of intrinsically safe sensors and actuators. The high resolution and accuracy of the Beckhoff ELX terminals guarantee the same measuring quality that is familiar from the non-hazardous areas. The compact design of the I/O terminals provides a further advantage: there are up to eight intrinsically safe digital inputs available in the 12 mm housing and up to eight intrinsically safe analog inputs the 24 mm housing. Dispensing with interconnected external barriers leads to a significant reduction in the space requirements inside the control cabinet and thus to cost advantages. With ATEX, IECEx and NEC/CEC certification, the ELX terminals comply with all industry-specific guidelines for explosion protection and can be used in nearly all markets worldwide, which reduces the user’s dependence on different suppliers for different regions. The wide range of uses is also supported by the enormous variety of signals handled by the Beckhoff I/O range: there is a suitable I/O module for every application. Using the ELX terminals, users can realize extremely compact and economical control architectures where the outstanding diagnostic function of EtherCAT helps to minimize system downtimes.

The ELX terminals optimize virtually all process technology applications:

  • highly compact design
  • safety barrier and signal terminal combined
  • direct connection of intrinsically safe field devices
  • EtherCAT right up to the terminal
  • wide variety of signals
  • fulfils a comprehensive range of certificates
  • considerable cost advantages

In combination with the ELX terminals, TwinSAFE SC technology offers a highly compact solution for applications with requirements for intrinsically safe signal transmission and functional safety.
In combination with the ELX terminals, TwinSAFE SC technology offers a highly compact solution for applications with requirements for intrinsically safe signal transmission and functional safety.

ELX terminals: intrinsically safe signal transmission and functional safety

Beckhoff meets the requirements for process control technology regarding functional safety with the full integration of safety technology into the automation system. Compact and with a modular structure, the TwinSAFE safety solution fits seamlessly into the control platform. PC-based control thus offers a single platform that meets the requirements of both functional safety and explosion protection. The ELX terminals extended with TwinSAFE SC thus enable the direct connection of intrinsically safe field devices up to Zone 0/20 and the attainability of a safety level compliant with PLd/Cat. 3 according to EN ISO 13849-1 or SIL 2 according to EN 62061.

Functional safety and intrinsic safety in one system:

  • highly compact solution with up to four channels across only 12 mm
  • large analog signal diversity
  • ELX terminals with TwinSAFE SC function enable direct connection of intrinsically safe field devices up to Zone 0/20
  • safety level up to PL d/SIL 2 achievable
  • considerable cost advantages

Available as integrated or standalone models, the explosion-proof Control Panel solutions in the CPX series combine high-quality build and elegant design with advanced, capacitive multi-touch technology.
Available as integrated or standalone models, the explosion-proof Control Panel solutions in the CPX series combine high-quality build and elegant design with advanced, capacitive multi-touch technology.

Explosion-proof panel solution: the elegant CPX series with aluminium enclosures

With the CPX Panel series models, the proven multi-touch technology of Beckhoff Control Panels and Panel PCs is available in even more robust versions, complying with the requirements for use in hazardous areas classified Zone 2/22. The high level of functionality and excellent build quality ensure the reliability of CPX panels even under harsh environmental conditions. The capacitive touch technology provides the typical ease of operation found on all Beckhoff multi-touch panels. The aesthetically pleasing appearance of the Beckhoff panels, and the look and feel of the aluminium housing are maintained, making them visual highlights in explosion-proof environments. The comprehensive CPX Panel range includes a large selection of display formats, sizes, installation options and features. Depending on the area of application, both the panels for control cabinet installation and stand-alone panels for flexible installation nearly anywhere in a room are available in the CPX29xx and CPX39xx series. Moreover, the fanless Panel PCs from the CPX27xx and CPX37xx series can be used for highly reliable system control.

Multi-touch panels for process technology:

  • capacitive touch technology optimizes operation
  • high-end design
  • robust and reliable
  • large selection of Control Panels and Panel PCs
  • flexible installation options
  • distances of up to 100 m between the explosion-proof Panel and Industrial PC with CP-Link 4: transmission of video signal, USB 2.0 and power supply in one standard Cat. 6A cable

The Beckhoff components support various communication protocols such as EtherCAT, PROFINET, PROFIBUS, Modbus, EtherNet/IP, OPC UA and more. These standardized interfaces enable the integration of Beckhoff hardware into all industrial process control systems. The connection can be established either via appropriate fieldbus couplers or via embedded controllers from the CX series.
The Beckhoff components support various communication protocols such as EtherCAT, PROFINET, PROFIBUS, Modbus, EtherNet/IP, OPC UA and more. These standardized interfaces enable the integration of Beckhoff hardware into all industrial process control systems. The connection can be established either via appropriate fieldbus couplers or via embedded controllers from the CX series.

Controllers and remote I/Os allow flexible topologies

Powerful Industrial PCs form the basis for a central control station for the management and monitoring of the processes of the entire plant. Sensors and actuators are connected via remote I/Os, which transmit the data from the field to the control station via a fieldbus coupler.

Conversely, with the CX series of Embedded-PC, which are certified according to ATEX and IECEx for use in Zone 2/22, the control of a plant part can run locally in the control cabinet, which opens up potential for more efficient process automation, especially with regard to modularization. In addition, the various functions of TwinCAT automation software are usable directly in the field.

In both cases, the appropriate selection of the controller or coupler can ensure communication to the higher-level system via the required protocol.

Full HART integration and comprehensive  libraries: the TwinCAT control platform.
Full HART integration and comprehensive libraries: the TwinCAT control platform.

TwinCAT: the control platform for process engineering

In the TwinCAT control software Beckhoff provides a central platform for the control of even highly complex systems. Apart from classic PLC sequences, algorithms written in C++ or MATLAB®/Simulink® can also be executed in real time. Moreover, TwinCAT includes the HMI, the secure cloud connection via TwinCAT IoT and the use of cloud-based analytical functions via TwinCAT Analytics. The field of application of PC based Control is expanded with the extensive integration of specific process technology protocols and interfaces. TwinCAT supports all common protocols such as NAMUR, HART and FDT/DTM, covering all application areas.

Automation and process technology on a single platform:

  • one tool for engineering and runtime
  • control system-integrated Industrie 4.0 and IoT functionality
  • comprehensive HART integration
  • TwinCAT FDT/DTM
  • Beckhoff ComDTM

TwinCAT MTP increases the flexibility of the plant, since the reduced engineering effort enables rapid changes to the module arrangement.
TwinCAT MTP increases the flexibility of the plant, since the reduced engineering effort enables rapid changes to the module arrangement.

TwinCAT for the process industry: Module Type Package (MTP)

The modularization of process systems is standardized by the Module Type Package concept (MTP). MTP describes individual modules based on various aspects, including their interfaces and the executable services. The information about the module is stored in an MTP file, which is then imported into a higher-level controller (Process Orchestration Layer, POL). This enables the automated integration of the modules into the POL, so that modules from different manufacturers can be commissioned and linked together efficiently. In addition, MTP increases the flexibility of the system, as the reduced engineering effort allows for rapid changes to be made to the module arrangement.

The integration of the MTP concept into TwinCAT simplifies the guideline-compliant automation of a plant module through automatically generated source code and libraries for PLC programming. As a result, a prefabricated project structure is provided in which the user merely programs the process-specific functions of the service states. Subsequently, an MTP containing the module description can be exported directly from the TwinCAT project.

Benefits of TwinCAT MTP:

  • generates and exports MTP automatically
  • highly customizable for easy adaptation to existing processes
  • standard-compliant IEC 61131 function block library
  • simple MTP/P&ID import
  • seamless integration with TwinCAT Engineering
  • can be combined with TwinCAT XCAD Interface

By integrating comprehensive IoT and analytics functionality, PC-based control technology opens up a wealth of options to optimize production.
By integrating comprehensive IoT and analytics functionality, PC-based control technology opens up a wealth of options to optimize production.

From sensor to cloud – universal solutions for the process industry

In the process industries, forward-looking automation solutions are required to enable transparent digitization and cross-system connectivity. The traditional divide between discrete and process automation is no longer an obstacle. PC-based automation technology offers all the essential prerequisites for a convergence of technologies in both application areas. It also provides the capability to integrate decentralized systems and enable centralized process control and evaluation at the same time. With its consistency and openness, PC-based control is also the ideal basis for realizing networked production in accordance with Industrie 4.0 and IoT concepts: from horizontal integration – even across company boundaries – to vertical integration with production systems to end-to-end engineering throughout the entire product lifecycle.

Beckhoff developed the TwinCAT IoT software library for communication between the machine control system and cloud-based services. The library supports the standardized protocols OPC UA, AMQP and MQTT for communication with popular cloud systems such as Microsoft Azure™, Amazon Web Services, as well as private cloud systems in the local enterprise network.

For applications in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries, Beckhoff offers a complete control solution in stainless steel with hygienic design that meets the strictest sanitation and cleanroom requirements.
For applications in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries, Beckhoff offers a complete control solution in stainless steel with hygienic design that meets the strictest sanitation and cleanroom requirements.

Universal stainless steel: the complete control solution in hygienic design

For packaging applications in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries, Beckhoff offers a complete control solution in stainless steel with hygienic design that meets the strictest sanitation and cleanroom requirements.

Control Panels and Panel PC series in high-quality stainless steel housings are suitable for IP 65 conditions.

EtherCAT Box I/O modules are also available in stainless steel housings. They meet the requirements of the IP 69K protection class and are designed to be installed directly on the machine.

The AM8800 stainless steel servomotors feature protection class IP 67 (IP 69K optional) for use in extremely harsh or corrosive environments. The portfolio of stainless-steel products is complemented by the XTS Hygienic: With water-proof execution in IP 69K protection rating, hygienic design without sharp corners and angles, and resistance against aggressive cleaning agents it is ideal for use in primary packaging applications and the food industry.

The XTS Hygienic in stainless steel execution with IP 69K protection rating is ideal for use in  the food industry.
The XTS Hygienic in stainless steel execution with IP 69K protection rating is ideal for use in the food industry.

XTS enables completely new machine concepts for packaging

The linear transport system XTS (eXtended Transport System) unites the benefits of rotary and linear systems. XTS is a mechatronic system containing all functions necessary for operation: a modular, fully integrated linear motor with power electronics and position measurement in a single device, a mover as a moved part and a mechanical guide rail. The most diverse applications can be realized with these few coordinated components. The desired geometries, lengths and radii are formed by the number and choice of the components. XTS enables individual product transport with a continuous flow of material. XTS offers both the benefits of flexible routing and of direct drives, such as high dynamics, positioning accuracy, low oscillation, lack of wear, and low power consumption. Since both straight sections and curves are used for the material transport, there are no empty trips, making for a faster overall process. And the TwinCAT automation software makes the engineering process easy with its integrated standard features such as automatic accumulation, collision prevention and shock prevention.