TwinCAT 3 Connectivity
Extension of communication scenarios and protocol functions
Beckhoff Automation GmbH & Co. KG
Extension of communication scenarios and protocol functions
The following already available TwinCAT 3 Connectivity Functions have received additional extensions to their functional scope or are available as new version:
OPC UA is a platform-independent, service-oriented communication architecture offering reliable, secure, and universal data transport from the production level to the production planning and ERP system – or even to the cloud. The TF6100 TwinCAT 3 OPC UA enables access to TwinCAT according to OPC UA with UA server (DA/HA/AC) and UA client (DA). The following functions have now been added:
Extension of the TwinCAT 3 OPC UA I/O Client to include automatic code generation: The TwinCAT 3 OPC UA I/O Client enables easy integration of OPC UA servers – for example, to read or write variables and provide these as part of the TwinCAT I/O process image. This functionality has now been extended to include automatic PLC code generation. The variables added to the process image can therefore be converted into PLC code at the push of a button and are automatically linked, which further simplifies the engineering process.
Extension of the Tc3_PLCopen_OpcUa PLC library to include the UA_Browse function block: The TwinCAT 3 Tc3_PLCopen_OpcUa PLC library and the associated TwinCAT OPC UA Client have been extended with the UA_Browse function block, which is standardized by PLCopen. This functionality can be used to search the namespace of a connected OPC UA server within the PLC context.
Extension of the TwinCAT 3 OPC UA Configurator for connection to a Global Discovery Server: The TwinCAT 3 OPC UA Configurator enables graphic configuration of the TwinCAT 3 OPC UA Server. A new extension now also enables simple, graphic parameterization of the server for registration with a Global Discovery Server (GDS). Furthermore, the OPC UA Client integrated in the TwinCAT 3 OPC UA Configurator can also be connected to the GDS.
Extension of the Historical Access function of the server to include the TwinCAT Analytics format: The TwinCAT 3 OPC UA Server enables secure and data-consistent access to TwinCAT real-time symbols via OPC UA. OPC UA Historical Access can be used to store variable values for longer periods of time – for example, in a SQL database. The TwinCAT Analytics file format can now also be used as an additional storage format. This enables cross-product reuse of historical data – for example, within TwinCAT 3 Analytics or TwinCAT 3 Scope.
Release of the TwinCAT 3 OPC UA Server for TwinCAT/BSD: The TwinCAT 3 OPC UA Server enables secure and data-consistent access to TwinCAT real-time symbols via OPC UA and is now also released for the TwinCAT/BSD operating system platform.
The TwinCAT 3 FTP Client can be used to transfer files from the PLC to and from an FTP or SFTP server. This version is a new development and extends the product to include the SFTP protocol. It offers several improvements including TwinCAT/BSD support, detailed transfer progress monitoring, and file-based connection profiles.
What’s more, this new version is also backward-compatible with the previous version’s PLC library, meaning existing PLC applications developed for the previous version of the FTP Client are also compatible; however, they must contain the new PLC library to use new features.
The TF6310 TwinCAT 3 TCP/IP is used to implement one or more TCP/IP servers and/or TCP/IP clients in the TwinCAT 3 PLC. Corresponding function blocks exist for the PLC for establishing/terminating communication, as well as for pure data exchange (sending and receiving).
The corresponding TwinCAT 3 PLC library and the associated TwinCAT TCP/IP client/server have now been extended with function blocks for integrating Transport Layer Security (TLS). TLS can be used to secure client/server communication connections at transport level – for example, by using client/server certificates or pre-shared secrets.
The TwinCAT IoT real-time driver and the associated Tc3_IotBase PLC library have now been extended to include MQTTv5. MQTTv5 is the latest version of the MQTT protocol standard and enriches the MQTT stack with additional functions to optimize communication – for example, with an integrated request/response mechanism.
This function is available from TwinCAT 3.1 Build 4026.
The Tc3_IotCommunicator (TF6730) PLC library and the associated TF6735 smartphone app (for Android and iOS) have been extended to include the following functions:
Availability for the CX7000: TF6730 and TF6735 are now also available for the CX7000 Embedded PC. As a low-cost, extremely compact TwinCAT 3 platform, the CX7000 is perfect for Building Automation applications and benefits directly from the use of the newly introduced building automation widgets for the Communicator app.
Extension to include widgets for the Building Automation area: In TF6730 and TF6735, widgets for Building Automation applications are implemented for all versions released after TwinCAT version 3.1.4024.32. The following widgets can then be used in the app: lighting, blinds, power outlet, HVAC system, ventilation, and timer. Customer-specific widget requirements can be implemented via a generically configurable widget. Configuration of the widgets is performed entirely on the PLC side, meaning the app simply needs to be opened by an end user.
The new functions of TF6730 and TF6735 are available in all versions released after TwinCAT version 3.1.4024.32. The PLC library can also be installed in older TwinCAT versions from Build 4024. The app must be updated to at least version 1.4.0 to use the widgets.
OPC UA is a platform-independent, service-oriented communication architecture for reliable, secure and multisupplier data transport from the production level to the production planning and ERP system or to the cloud.
TwinCAT FTP enables easy access from the PLC to one or several FTP servers with the aid of various function blocks. Files can be loaded to or from a server after the establishment of a connection (optional with authentication). Additional function blocks allow files or directories to be searched for, created, deleted and renamed.
TwinCAT TCP/IP enables the implementation and realization of one or several TCP/IP servers and/or TCP/IP clients within the TwinCAT 3 PLC. Corresponding function blocks exist for the establishment/disconnection of communication as well as for the pure exchange of data (send and receive). The function blocks also support the use of multicast addresses. In addition, Transport Layer Security (TLS) is used to secure the transport channel.
TwinCAT 3 IoT Communication provides basic functionalities in the form of PLC libraries for sending and receiving data via the so-called MQ Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol.
The TwinCAT 3 IoT Communicator makes it possible to easily transmit process data to multiple end devices, monitor status changes, and send information back to the machine. The IoT Communicator is also ideal for use in building automation. Widgets can be used to display values for lamps, fans, air conditioning systems and other components.
The TwinCAT 3 IoT Communicator App provides a simple solution for monitoring and analyzing TwinCAT process data on mobile end devices. In addition, widgets for lamps, fans, air conditioners and other components enable specific data from building automation to be displayed. To receive, send and display selected TwinCAT messages, apps can be downloaded from the app stores free of charge.