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Flexible automation solutions for the marine industry

On board of ships, automation requirements vary greatly, depending on the type and the purpose of the vessel, and ranging from the control of operational facilities and engines to cargo handling systems. Passenger and cruise ships, on the other hand, also require traditional building automation functions such as individual room control for passenger cabins. The challenge for suppliers in shipbuilding is to implement all these different automation applications without having to integrate different dedicated control systems. Due to its scalability, modularity, open interfaces and use of communication standards, the PC-based automation platform from Beckhoff can be flexibly adapted to the respective application. In addition to the PLC, it integrates visualization, measurement technology, motor monitoring and condition monitoring, and can be used for central or local control.

Beckhoff technology highlights for the marine industry

Due to its modularity and open interfaces, PC-based control from Beckhoff is ideally suited as a universal automation platform for the various control, optimization and monitoring tasks on ships.
Due to its modularity and open interfaces, PC-based control from Beckhoff is ideally suited as a universal automation platform for the various control, optimization and monitoring tasks on ships.
For modern room automation in ship cabins and suites, comfort, ease of operation, safety and energy efficiency must go hand in hand. Thanks to the wide range of Bus Terminals and the comprehensive protocol support of the PC-based control system, all automation tasks, from temperature control to lighting control and the monitoring of cabin doors, windows, presence and temperature, can be implemented in one system.
For modern room automation in ship cabins and suites, comfort, ease of operation, safety and energy efficiency must go hand in hand. Thanks to the wide range of Bus Terminals and the comprehensive protocol support of the PC-based control system, all automation tasks, from temperature control to lighting control and the monitoring of cabin doors, windows, presence and temperature, can be implemented in one system.

PC-based control as a universal automation solution for shipbuilding

With their growing dimensions and elaborate infrastructure, modern cruise ships have become “floating cities” with high demands on HVAC and lighting control tasks in restaurants, stores, theaters and, last but not least, the passenger cabins and suites. Regardless of the ship’s type or purpose, automation comes into play for maneuvering, motion control, power generation and optimization, water and wastewater as well as waste treatment, and vacuum collection. Additionally, the status of these various tasks must be monitored constantly.

Due to its modularity and open interfaces, our PC-based control system is ideally suited as a universal automation platform for the various control, optimization and monitoring tasks. A selection of Industrial PCs, Embedded Controllers and I/O modules is available for every requirement, scalable in terms of performance, design and price. The visualization of processes can be easily realized using TwinCAT HMI; based on HTML5, it supports all up-to-date web browsers. For monitoring and analysis tasks, our product portfolio offers appropriate software to transmit data via IoT protocols, e. g. to cloud-based data storage, and to analyze it with the TwinCAT Analytics Workbench.

Beckhoff automation technology harmonizes comfort and energy efficiency

Modern automation systems for ship suites and cabins play a key role when it comes to reconciling energy savings with maximum comfort for guests. Next to a perfect room atmosphere in terms of temperature, air quality and lighting, guests expect intuitive interaction with the suite or cabin. Here, with PC-based control, we offer the appropriate platform for integrating the control of the various systems involved: from energy-efficient fan control, through adjustable lighting control to audio and video integration. In addition to that, Pc-based control offers synergy possibilities of cabin control with housekeeping and hotel booking systems to achieve high guest satisfaction.

With Beckhoff technology, temperature control in the ship's cabin can be achieved in various ways: for example, the cabin controller can communicate directly with the air conditioning system; alternatively, our modular I/O system is used to control the fans and valves. Regardless of which solution you choose, our intelligent suite and cabin automation solution ensures precise, demand-based temperature control. At the same time, it monitors and optimizes energy consumption. Intelligent valve drives provide status information to the cabin control system and generate alarm and service functions for the crew, if necessary.

Lighting control on a cruise ship is of great importance for passenger safety but also for creating a feel-good atmosphere. Personalized lighting conditions in cabins and suites in terms of light intensity and color are qualities that passengers expect as a matter of course. With PC-based control, you always have the right lighting control: either the LED luminaires are controlled directly via the digital output terminals; alternatively, fieldbus interfaces for DALI-2 or DMX are available. As an experienced partner in building automation, we have the right interfaces in our portfolio to control any lighting fixture!

The integration of third-party devices and systems is important for both crew and guests. The crew needs all the data about cabin operations and occupancy to provide passengers with a smooth stay. Here, too, intelligent suite and cabin automation from Beckhoff presents its advantages: it supports the latest standardized IT and IoT technologies like MQTT and RESTApi for integration and interaction with other cruise operator software. This allows guests to interact with the cabin control system with their smartphone or tablet to receive optimal service. Via cruise apps, the tour operator can provide all the latest information about the ship, ongoing events and offers for excursions.

The Beckhoff I/O system supports around 1000 Bus Terminals and is thus probably the most comprehensive system on the market. The components enable users to operate mixed signal configurations without restriction at each station. This means that a single non-central input/output node can map all of the necessary signals. Numerous terminals from our extensive Bus Terminal portfolio are DNV GL certified and therefore suitable for installation on ships.
The Beckhoff I/O system supports around 1000 Bus Terminals and is thus probably the most comprehensive system on the market. The components enable users to operate mixed signal configurations without restriction at each station. This means that a single non-central input/output node can map all of the necessary signals. Numerous terminals from our extensive Bus Terminal portfolio are DNV GL certified and therefore suitable for installation on ships.

Scalable and modular automation components

The modular Beckhoff I/O system consists of electronic terminal blocks for direct sensor/actuator wiring and a Bus Coupler, Bus Terminal Controller or Embedded PC to connect with bus systems commonly found in shipbuilding – including EtherCAT, CANope, DeviceNet, EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP/RTU, PROFIBUS, PROFINET, OPC UA and RS232/ RS422/RS485. With over 100 signal types, all common sensors and actuators can be seamlessly integrated into the controller. All areas of application, from drive control to measuring equipment, are also covered. The finely granular design with 1 to 16 channels per terminal enables users to tailor the system exactly to their application needs. The use of standard components ensures economical, yet complete solutions, as well as seamless integration into existing systems.

PC-based control integrates extensive measurement and control technology on a universal platform, enabling decentralized acquisition and storage of all process data. These data, such as fill levels, temperatures, pressure, volume flow, voltage, performance, position, velocity, acceleration, speed, torque and direction of rotation, are recorded by the Bus Terminals and processed in the Embedded PC or the higher-level process control system. Not only does the integrated Beckhoff control solution have the advantage of a compact design, it also impresses through lower system costs, simplified engineering and flexibility. Decentralized I/O stations can be connected via Ethernet, fieldbus or radio to enable remote access.

Numerous terminals from our extensive EtherCAT Terminal portfolio are DNV GL certified and therefore suitable for installation on ships.
Numerous terminals from our extensive EtherCAT Terminal portfolio are DNV GL certified and therefore suitable for installation on ships.

EtherCAT I/O Terminals automate any functionality

In 1995, Beckhoff launched the Bus Terminal, which has since become one of the most important technology standards in automation technology. This was followed by the development of the fast EtherCAT communication system in 2003. Launched by Beckhoff as an open system, it became a global standard in automation within a few years. With around 100 signal types, an extensive EtherCAT I/O Terminal portfolio is available to users that is extremely well suited for automating every functionality in marine applications in terms of both its performance and variance. The Bus Terminals enable a variety of bus systems such as KNX/EIB, DALI-2, DMX, M-Bus, BACnet MSTP and others to be integrated into the controller. This ensures compatibility and continuity with the established system. Existing and future investments are protected.

In contrast to the Bus Terminals, in which the fieldbus signal is converted in the Bus Coupler to the internal, fieldbus-neutral terminal bus, the EtherCAT protocol is completely preserved up to the individual terminal with EtherCAT Terminals. The EtherCAT I/Os enable further industrial protocols, such as PROFIBUS, CANopen and DeviceNet, but also protocols like DMX and SMPTE-Timecode to be integrated into the controller.

Beckhoff product highlights for the marine industry

The CP6606 Panel PC enables the control and visualization of all building functions.
The CP6606 Panel PC enables the control and visualization of all building functions.

Inexpensive and powerful: the Panel PC for the control and visualization in ship cabins

The CP6606 Panel PC enables the control and visualization of all control and monitoring functions. As a cost-saving but high-performance built-in Panel PC from the "Economy" series, the CP6606 takes over both the control and visualization of systems like HVAC, waste treatment and energy production The display size of 7 and 10.1 inches is large enough for the local operation and monitoring of the systems. EtherCAT support can be used to connect the required I/O terminals and subsidiary bus systems to the Panel PC. The second Ethernet port can be used to connect the Panel PC to other systems and the BMS, such as BACnet/IP or the OPC UA protocol.

Fanless Intel®-Core™-i-power for the ultra-compact Industrial PC generation.
Fanless Intel®-Core™-i-power for the ultra-compact Industrial PC generation.

Extremely space-saving, flexibly expandable and sturdy: the new generation of ultra-compact Industrial PCs

Launched with the C6015, the series of ultra-compact Industrial PCs has positioned itself extremely successfully on the market due to its flexible application possibilities. As a sturdy control cabinet IPC with an Intel® Atom™ CPU with up to four cores and a clock speed of 1.91 GHz, the C6015 is suitable for automation, visualization and communication tasks. Its small dimensions of 82 x 82 x 40 mm and the flexible mounting options make the fanless multi-core PC the ideal controller for applications with high performance requirements and minimal mounting space in almost all areas of building automation. The C6015 is certified for BACNet/IP, Microsoft Azure™ and AWS and is a powerful controller for any control task on board and is at the same time ideal for use as an edge device for compressing and collecting data.

The CX9020 Embedded PC is an extremely compact PC controller. Equipped with a fanless ARM Cortex™ A8 processor with a clock speed of 1 GHz, the CX9020 is suitable for universal use as a zone and floor controller. An ex factory configurable multi-option interface enables a variety of optional extensions: from the audio interface to the fieldbus master or slave.
The CX9020 Embedded PC is an extremely compact PC controller. Equipped with a fanless ARM Cortex™ A8 processor with a clock speed of 1 GHz, the CX9020 is suitable for universal use as a zone and floor controller. An ex factory configurable multi-option interface enables a variety of optional extensions: from the audio interface to the fieldbus master or slave.

The compact, high-performance controller for automation and visualization tasks on ships

The CX9020 Embedded PC is ideal for small to medium-sized projects in the field of ship automation. With its wide range of communication options, it is ideally suited for use in the HVAC and energy production, automating several cabins or conference rooms and connecting to media technology systems. The CX9020 can be used in many areas of ship automation due to its support for BACnet, OPC UA, MQTT and Modbus TCP/IP as well as the connection of a wide range of subsystems at the Bus Terminal level, such as BACnet MSTP, KNX/EIB, LON, DALI/DALI-2, DMX, MP-Bus, M-Bus, SMI, EnOcean and Modbus. In combination with the TF8050 lighting solution software, the high-performance small controller can be used for house lighting.

With the CX51xx Embedded PCs, Beckhoff has launched a series of devices that also makes multi-core technology available for controllers in the mid-range performance class.
With the CX51xx Embedded PCs, Beckhoff has launched a series of devices that also makes multi-core technology available for controllers in the mid-range performance class.

CX51xx as a high-performance building controller

The high-performance CX51xx Embedded PC – in conjunction with the TwinCAT 3 Building Automation software (TF8040) – is the optimal control platform for the automation of buildings with many data points. With the CX51xx series, the user obtains a very high-performance BACnet controller, which can easily process more than 2000 BACnet objects. Of course, the CX also provides all other connection options, such as OPC UA, MQTT and Modbus TCP at the IP level, as well as a wide range of interfaces for the integration of subsystems such as BACnet MSTP, KNX/EIB, LON, DALI/DALI-2, DMX, MP-Bus, M-Bus, SMI, EnOcean and Modbus at the Bus Terminal level.

A DVI-I interface allows the CX51xx to be connected to a Beckhoff panel for operation and monitoring. The performance class of the CX51xx allows an HMI to run in addition to the PLC. The media world can also be integrated superbly with the common protocols via TwinCAT 3. This gives the user a controller that covers the entire spectrum in the building, from the control of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning to room automation and from energy measurement to cloud connection.

The compact Room Controller can be expanded modularly by adding further Bus Terminals.
The compact Room Controller can be expanded modularly by adding further Bus Terminals.

BC9191 Room Controller covers all standard functions

The BC9191 Room Controller integrates various automation functions in a single module and thus represents a compact and efficient solution in the price-sensitive field of room control. Pre-installed standard functionalities cover all necessary functions for room control, thus simplifying commissioning. In addition to integrated I/O signals and a sub bus connection for room control units, the BC9191 has a K-bus interface and thus enables modular extension using Beckhoff Bus Terminals. Changes to room automation functions are possible in the TwinCAT development environment and save complex rewiring, as would be the case with wired controllers. As a freely programmable Ethernet controller, the BC9191 can also be used as decentralized intelligence and thus offers the user the greatest possible flexibility in the construction of system-spanning, energy-efficient room automation.

EtherCAT plug-in modules: the efficient and space-saving I/O solution

The EtherCAT plug-in modules (EJ series) are electronically based on the reliable EtherCAT I/O system from Beckhoff and are designed to plug directly into a PCB. The PCB serves as the application-specific signal distribution board, which then distributes the signals and power supply to individual plug connectors and links the controller with further modules. Complex manual wiring of individual wires between I/Os and the plug connector level, which is common in conventional control cabinet construction, is superseded by attaching industrial-grade, pre-assembled cable harnesses.

EJ modules enable efficient implementation of series production applications involving a large number of identical parts, while retaining customization options. The application-specific distribution board can be manufactured by the user or by Beckhoff. Thanks to the plug-in design, it is possible to offer options that are only used on-demand. In addition, the ultra-compact design of the EJ modules reduces the footprint required in the control cabinet and is therefore particularly suitable for space-constrained applications. A further advantage of distribution boards is increased process safety, since the risk of incorrect wiring is reduced to a minimum through the use of clearly coded components.