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Digitalization is a key enabler of the future development of smart cities

More than 50 % of the world’s population currently lives in cities with over a million inhabitants, with forecasts suggesting that this figure is set to rise to 75 % by 2050. But with cities already accounting for three quarters of our global energy consumption, new urban planning concepts are essential for reducing CO2 emissions and ensuring sustainable coexistence in urban areas. This is where the smart city concept comes into play, with its many benefits including an environmentally friendly and stable energy supply, intelligent building automation, new mobility concepts, efficient traffic flows and enhanced public safety.

In this context, technology should not be seen as a driver of urban development, but as a means of making cities sustainable, improving both the quality of life and sense of community of their inhabitants. This requires carefully considered approaches to solutions, ranging from smart mobility concepts that combine public transport with motorized and non-motorized private transport, to the sustainable operation of buildings and even an efficient water and wastewater supply. Digital networking also supports the integration of energy generation and storage systems, which in turn makes a major contribution to grid stability. Another step toward bringing a smart city to life is the digitalization of local administrations, which – based on real data for factors such as air quality, energy and water quality – allows those responsible to maintain an overview and make quick decisions.

Our PC control technology is based on open standards and provides the ideal basis for digitizing buildings, infrastructure projects, water supply and disposal facilities and energy supplies. Continuous data recording and evaluation can generate valuable information to promote the intelligent operation of urban space, which includes factors such as operating buildings efficiently and reliably (by means of concepts such as energy monitoring and predictive maintenance), establishing a reliable energy supply (via smart grid) and optimizing traffic flows.

Your head start with PC-based control:

  • uniform hardware and software platform for all technical systems
  • open communication system to support all common protocols such as BACnet and OPC UA
  • support of standards for edge and cloud concepts
  • exceptional energy saving potential
  • integration of measurement technology into the automation system
  • reduced hardware, software, and operating costs
  • lower engineering costs due to predefined software blocks
  • potential for flexible system adaptations and expansions at any time
  • network of our partner companies supports you in the realization of your solution

Intelligent automation increases energy efficiency and quality of life in cities

PC-based control solutions from Beckhoff can be found in all types of buildings, including offices, administrative buildings, hospitals, hotels, theaters, cinemas, educational institutions, logistics, data, and shopping centers, sports facilities, airports, and train stations.
PC-based control solutions from Beckhoff can be found in all types of buildings, including offices, administrative buildings, hospitals, hotels, theaters, cinemas, educational institutions, logistics, data, and shopping centers, sports facilities, airports, and train stations.
PC-based control technology from Beckhoff links all building systems on a single automation platform.
PC-based control technology from Beckhoff links all building systems on a single automation platform.

Sustainable and intelligent automation of buildings

According to a UN report, emissions from the operation of buildings, together with those from the construction industry, account for 38 % of global energy-related CO2 emissions (2020 Gobal Status Report for Buildings and Construction). If we hope to stand a chance of meeting the agreed climate targets in the future, then it is vital for us to look at how we can drastically reduce this figure. This is precisely why intelligent building automation and digital networking are among the key factors in smart city concepts, with huge potential for reducing energy consumption to be found in office and industrial buildings, hotels, shopping centers, public facilities such as schools, universities and administrative buildings, cultural and sports venues, hospitals and care facilities and even train stations and airports.

As a pioneer of PC-based control technology, we have been a partner to the real estate industry for many years and have amassed vital expertise from hundreds of projects in the field of intelligent automation for buildings and properties. The type of system integrated building automation that we offer with our IT- and PC-based control platform is all part of what brings a sustainable, energy-efficient smart building to life. From HVAC to lighting and facade control, and from room automation and AV/media technology to remote maintenance and cloud connectivity, all building systems are bundled into a single technology platform and run via the PC controller. Data analysis for optimization purposes can be performed both locally in the on-site control system or in the cloud. Edge and cloud concepts can be combined as desired.

By integrating various building controls into our central, PC-based automation platform, it is possible for buildings and neighborhoods to be networked with each other and integrated into sustainable smart city concepts. And since all of the functions are software based, it couldn’t be easier to accommodate future expansions. The scalability and modularity of the Beckhoff control means the I/O system can be expanded as required, and software parts can be reused if the time comes to add a new building function. This flexible expandability is particularly beneficial when it comes to renovating or refurbishing existing buildings and creates the basis for an economical and future-proof solution. Our control also offers extensive connectivity, which facilitates communication with existing structures and devices, in addition to the integration of buildings into future concepts.

We offer the perfect technology to suit every type of building, from powerful Industrial PCs or Embedded PCs as the main building computers through to local room controllers. Our Bus Terminal system for connecting the data points supports all common sensors and actuators, as well as all communication protocols established in the building automation market, such as BACnet or OPC UA. All systems are programmed with TwinCAT automation software in accordance with the international IEC 61131-3 standard.

Intelligent automation technology from Beckhoff is implemented in the Kaisermühlentunnel in Vienna.
Intelligent automation technology from Beckhoff is implemented in the Kaisermühlentunnel in Vienna.
PC-based control fulfills all parking management requirements: from the registration of free parking space, through to guidance to the parking space, to fee billing, error management and various building control functions.
PC-based control fulfills all parking management requirements: from the registration of free parking space, through to guidance to the parking space, to fee billing, error management and various building control functions.

Achieving sustainability goals with innovative mobility solutions

Mobility plays a crucial role in the economic strength of cities and the quality of life they offer. But in view of ongoing urbanization and climate change, the expansion of transport infrastructure has long since reached its limits. With this in mind, what we need are intelligent concepts for implementing needs-based, sustainable mobility solutions that focus not only on reducing CO2 emissions, but also on the quality of life of city dwellers and road safety.

These solutions include the switch to e-mobility, which encompasses the corresponding infrastructure, autonomous driving, expansion and networking of public and non-motorized transport, intelligent traffic control to avoid congestion, efficient management of parking spaces, new mobility concepts such as car sharing and mobility as a service, and their integration into local public transport. Our control technology is already in use in many of these concepts – for example, when it comes to collecting real-time data to control variable message signs or parking guidance systems. These situations call for fast and precise control systems that can communicate with a whole host of different services. Tunnel automation represents yet another example of intelligent traffic management, from traffic signal control, ventilation and lighting control, and performance monitoring through to the integration of surveillance cameras and sensor technology that provide an optimal view of congestion in real time. The ability to collate all available sensor and camera data via the automation system creates an accurate picture of traffic levels – not only for individual tunnels or road sections, but across the entire city.

Our technology is also used in electric car production, as well as in cross-site monitoring and control of the charging process for electric cars, including the billing system. One of the many available features includes a prioritization system, which is implemented to prevent the power grid from becoming overloaded when all charging stations in a parking garage are in operation at the same time. This would mean an electric car belonging to an employee who only uses it after work has a lower priority than a service vehicle that is in use all day. PC-based control is also ideal here for networking with mobile devices, as well as for collecting and analyzing large amounts of data in the cloud.

Beckhoff provides efficient automation solutions for warehouse and distribution logistics.
Beckhoff provides efficient automation solutions for warehouse and distribution logistics.

Digital transformation of logistics processes increases profitability and energy efficiency

Modern goods logistics processes are subject to high demands: Driven largely by online trade, logistics and distribution centers have to be reliable when it comes to guaranteeing the availability of goods with maximum customization and speed. For this reason, the industry has relied on digital networking and automation from a very early stage.

The openness of our PC-based control system makes it ideal for optimizing logistics processes by networking production, intralogistics and retail. We have been active in various areas of logistics for many years now – including as a partner to large supermarket chains and their logistics centers. Standardized interfaces in hardware and software facilitate the smooth integration of control technology into new or existing plant structures and form the basis for efficient and reliable order processing. The high performance of multi-core and many-core processors allows intelligent warehouse management to be operated on a centralized or decentralized basis, in addition to the core machines and plant functions.

Environmentally friendly delivery traffic helps relieve the strain on urban infrastructure.
Environmentally friendly delivery traffic helps relieve the strain on urban infrastructure.

City logistics optimizes traffic flows and reduces emissions

City logistics is a collective term for various concepts that relieve the burden on urban infrastructure without compromising on supply quality. The aim is to bundle flows of goods at the recipient’s location in a freight transport hub close to the city. Optimal organization and capacity utilization reduce the number of delivery trips in the urban area, while all-electric vehicles or cargo bikes that transport the goods to the recipients in the city center serve to reduce emissions and relieve the burden on the urban infrastructure further still.

For city logistics to function efficiently, they need all of the companies and processes involved in transport to be networked effectively and the required information to be digitized. Beckhoff automation technology not only ensures that packages find their way to the vehicle and that cold chains are not interrupted, it also has a role to play in ensuring goods take up less transport space by intelligently cutting the packages to an optimum size to save on emissions and resources.

Intelligent waste disposal concepts reduce CO2 emissions and ease inner-city traffic.
Intelligent waste disposal concepts reduce CO2 emissions and ease inner-city traffic.

Intelligent and environmentally friendly disposal logistic

With the volume of waste we produce rising steadily around the world, so too is the importance of sustainable disposal logistics. It’s a concept that encompasses the entire process chain, from the separation of recyclables and route-optimized collection to the sorting and processing or recycling of waste. In essence, the aims are to optimize all processes through digitization and networking, conserve resources, and reduce CO2 emissions.

To look at one example, using sensors to monitor the fill level of public waste containers makes it possible to optimize the routes taken by refuse collection vehicles in real time, as the waste containers are only approached when they are almost full. But smart waste solutions are also increasingly being integrated into building management: from sensor-monitored waste containers to dynamic and automatic control of cleaning processes based on when meeting rooms, lecture halls, or classrooms are actually in use. The data from the individual devices is collected and processed either locally or in the cloud. This is where the ultra-compact C6015 Industrial PC makes for the ideal edge device or data broker, retrieving data from the cloud, for example, and making it available to the individual devices. The TwinCAT Analytics software analysis tool supports the creation of a dashboard, while underground pipe systems for waste collection, compaction, and disposal, as used in numerous pilot projects, also offer high potential for reducing disposal logistics.

Both the decentralized and irregular supply of energy from sustainable sources and bidirectional energy flows require intelligent networking of energy generation and storage systems with consumers in what are known as smart grids.
Both the decentralized and irregular supply of energy from sustainable sources and bidirectional energy flows require intelligent networking of energy generation and storage systems with consumers in what are known as smart grids.
When it comes to power monitoring, Beckhoff combines high-performance Industrial PCs, energy measurement technology, current sensors, and PLC libraries to provide customers with the maximum level of detail for their power measurement projects.
When it comes to power monitoring, Beckhoff combines high-performance Industrial PCs, energy measurement technology, current sensors, and PLC libraries to provide customers with the maximum level of detail for their power measurement projects.

Digital networking ensures efficient energy supply

Optimizing energy efficiency through future-proof control solutions is one of the key criteria for the sustainable development of urban living environments. Efficient solutions based on intelligent networking are in demand everywhere we look – from the generation of sustainable energy in decentralized wind, photovoltaic, or biogas plants and hydroelectric power stations to intelligent energy storage systems and the control of district heating systems.

Both the decentralized and irregular supply of energy from sustainable sources and bidirectional energy flows require intelligent networking of energy generation and storage systems with consumers in what are known as smart grids. This is the only way to ensure security of supply and use energy efficiently. Feeding in energy information makes it is possible to react quickly to changes in the grid and, what’s more, smart grids also offer the possibility of coordinating generation and demand. In addition to the transmission of information to the consumer, this requires consumption information to be recorded in a timely manner and transmitted promptly to the energy network via a smart metering system. This allows energy consumption to be controlled according to availability, and any energy guzzlers can thus be identified in no time.

As a long-standing automation partner to the wind industry and the photovoltaic sector, we have experience in fast wind farm networking, FLISR, decentralized fault location, localization and supply restoration, voltage and reactive power compensation, and power quality monitoring. Our powerful Industrial PCs, along with the high-speed EtherCAT fieldbus and an extensive I/O signal spectrum, provide the optimal basis for measuring energy and ensuring network stability.

Complex requirements are also posed by the automation of intelligent storage systems, which have to not only compensate for frequency fluctuations when sustainable energy sources are fed into the grid, but also support the grid during production bottlenecks. This requires optimal energy storage management based on continuous acquisition and monitoring of energy data, in addition to rapid communication via telecontrol protocols. To meet these challenges, Beckhoff control technology supports all commercially available communication standards with regard to fieldbus systems and the software integration of all common communication protocols.

A comprehensive range of reliable measurement modules makes it possible to record elements such as the temperature, pressure, and flow rate, to name just a few examples. Condition monitoring and power monitoring are also integrated into the automation platform via corresponding interfaces, forming the basis for predictive maintenance and the evaluation of raw current and voltage data. Secure cloud connectivity and data analysis in the cloud are supported by means of software and hardware tools and the OPC UA communication standard.

In view of the growing global population and demographic change – particularly in urban areas – the focus is increasingly on issues such as sustainability and efficiency in the use of water as a resource.
In view of the growing global population and demographic change – particularly in urban areas – the focus is increasingly on issues such as sustainability and efficiency in the use of water as a resource.
With the KL6781 M-Bus Master Terminal, Beckhoff is launching a compact solution for energy data acquisition: Heat meters, water meters or gas meters with M-Bus interfaces are simply integrated into the fieldbus-independent Bus Terminal system, making external M-Bus gateways superfluous. Based on the exact recording of data, the energy consumption can be significantly optimized.
With the KL6781 M-Bus Master Terminal, Beckhoff is launching a compact solution for energy data acquisition: Heat meters, water meters or gas meters with M-Bus interfaces are simply integrated into the fieldbus-independent Bus Terminal system, making external M-Bus gateways superfluous. Based on the exact recording of data, the energy consumption can be significantly optimized.

Efficient and sustainable water supply

Today, planners and engineers in the field of water management are faced with more than just the challenge of ensuring the supply of clean drinking water and reliable wastewater disposal. In view of the growing global population and demographic change – particularly in urban areas – the focus is increasingly on issues such as sustainability and efficiency in the use of water as a resource. This is where existing infrastructures often reach their limits, meaning partially outdated systems have to be retrofitted and new approaches tested. With regard to water management, there is a particular complexity when it comes to adapting to different communication channels, control systems, and devices, as a wide variety of the most diverse devices for solving special problems has generally developed over the years. That’s not forgetting, of course, the necessary adaptations to various software packages, such as local visualization, on-site data loggers, and central control and operation management systems.

This is where PC-based control technology from Beckhoff offers the ideal solution: It is suitable as a universal control platform for both the central control of a wastewater treatment plant and the decentralized control of the various external stations, such as wells, pumping stations, rain overflow basins, water towers, grit chambers, pre-treatment, mechanical and biological treatment, sludge treatment and secondary treatment. By using the latest processors, PC-based control provides a powerful automation platform for the acquisition and processing of all process data. The variety of software and hardware interfaces allows to support all common communication media and standards to the higher process level. Communication over long distances takes place via cloud, analog modem, radio, PC networks, or mobile networks, providing plant operators with a high-availability, high-performance network for transmitting, storing, and processing all data based on standard technologies. The openness of PC-based automation also facilitates adaptation to existing systems, meaning a plant retrofit to improve energy efficiency can be implemented without any problems.

PC-based control technology for water and wastewater management:

  • uniform hardware and software platform
  • support for common communication standards and interfaces from process to field level:
    • to the process control level via OPC UA and the telecontrol protocols of IEC-60870-5-10x
    • to the field level via Ethernet, PROFINET, PROFIBUS, and EtherNet/IP, as well as via radio, GPRS, or UMTS
    • communication to the cloud via OPC UA, MQTT, and HTTPS
  • TwinCAT IoT for cloud connection
  • TwinCAT Analytics for real-time data analysis
  • TwinCAT Database Server for connecting database systems
  • TwinCAT HMI for the development of a platform-independent user interface
  • measurement terminals for process parameter acquisition

Intelligent building automation with PC-based control from Beckhoff is used in many hotels.
Intelligent building automation with PC-based control from Beckhoff is used in many hotels.
Intelligent energy management can also improve the carbon footprint of energy-intensive entertainment events such as concerts and festivals through a variety of measures: from the arrival of visitors on special trains to sustainable energy generation and waste disposal.
Intelligent energy management can also improve the carbon footprint of energy-intensive entertainment events such as concerts and festivals through a variety of measures: from the arrival of visitors on special trains to sustainable energy generation and waste disposal.

Tourism industry increasingly promoting sustainability

The tourism sector is the third largest socio-economic sector in the EU and plays a crucial role in growth and employment. Nevertheless, the sector is facing up to criticism as an environmental offender and is now involved in massively promoting the topics of sustainability and digitalization. Since 2019, the EU Commission has awarded two European cities a year the title of "EU Capital of Smart Tourism". This award is presented to European cities that excel in the areas of sustainable, digital, innovative, and inclusive solutions in tourism.

When it comes to sustainability, aspects that are evaluated include recycling and waste recovery, the environmental certification of hotels and restaurants, greenhouse gas emissions, the accessibility of public transportation, and the availability of facilities such as rental bicycles and electric scooters. Another important criterion to consider is access to tourist services and products through new technologies, such as an app that guides visitors to attractions around the city and provides information about hotels and restaurants. Digital hotel check-in facilities can also store additional information so that the hotel is aware of the guest’s preferences before they arrive and can therefore offer them a more personalized service.

Smartphone-based interaction has become a popular addition to festivals, amusement parks, and cruise ships to keep guests informed about on-site attractions. Awareness of sustainability, energy efficiency, and environmental compatibility is increasingly taking hold in these market segments, which are characterized by a high level of energy consumption. This can be seen, for example, in alternative festival concepts that rely on regenerative energy, and even intelligent cabin control on cruise ships.

Beckhoff technology highlights for smart cities

With PC-based control, the system integrator has an extensive modular system for automating the different application areas in a smart city: from building automation, mobility, logistics, intelligent energy networks, and the water supply to culture and tourism. Examples from around the world have shown that PC-based control technology is ideal for implementing smart city projects.
With PC-based control, the system integrator has an extensive modular system for automating the different application areas in a smart city: from building automation, mobility, logistics, intelligent energy networks, and the water supply to culture and tourism. Examples from around the world have shown that PC-based control technology is ideal for implementing smart city projects.
PC-based control from Beckhoff is ideal for implementing efficient smart city concepts.
PC-based control from Beckhoff is ideal for implementing efficient smart city concepts.

The PC-based control principle: ideal for digitalizing smart cities

IT- and PC-based control technology from Beckhoff has proven itself worldwide since 1980 in the widest variety of industries and applications, from machine controllers and the automation of wind turbines to building automation. What was regarded 40 years ago as an outsider position has developed very quickly into a standard in the automation industry. Innovative product developments followed continuously and are regarded today as milestones in automation technology, such as the modular Bus Terminal system, the high-speed fieldbus EtherCAT, or the Embedded PC. The basis for the universal usability of the Beckhoff technology is its scalability in terms of power, its open interfaces to other systems, and the modularity of the hardware and software.

The basic principle of IT- and PC-based control technology is incredibly simple: It is based on a powerful Industrial PC, flexible and high-performance fieldbus connections with the connected peripheral devices for sensors and actuators, as well as TwinCAT, the real-time capable automation software. The consistent use of technologies from the world of IT and their convergence to principles of automation technology have led to a continuous increase in performance and function as well as a considerable reduction in the costs of PC-based control technology. With PC-based control, all automation functions can be mapped centrally in a single piece of software. These include:

  • programming and configuration (PLC)
  • motion control
  • individual visualization of data (HMI)
  • measurement technology and analysis functions
  • diagnostics and condition monitoring
  • connection to various cloud services and web servers
  • machine learning and artificial intelligence

Your advantage with PC-based control:

  • High performance for energy-optimized control of processes through:
    • Industrial PCs with powerful processors of the latest generation
    • TwinCAT, the software for engineering and real-time control
    • EtherCAT, the high-speed fieldbus
  • Integration: one controller for all technical systems in smart cities
  • Modularity: extension and modification of control functions at any time
  • Scalability: components in all performance categories and designs
  • Openness: connection of all standardized fieldbuses
  • Connectivity: simple and secure communication from the sensor to the cloud
  • High availability: due to advanced diagnostics and predictive maintenance functions
  • Interfaces to all common databases for historization
  • Beckhoff as a full system supplier with a deep understanding of technology and a qualified partner network

TwinCAT 3 integrates all engineering and control functions on one central software platform.
TwinCAT 3 integrates all engineering and control functions on one central software platform.

TwinCAT: the integrated engineering and control platform

As an integrated tool for engineering, run-time, and modeling, TwinCAT simplifies the automation of complex processes: with TwinCAT, you only need one piece of software for programming and configuring your controller. TwinCAT offers an extensive package of functions and preconfigured modules for controlling all of the technical systems in a smart city. With its modular and scalable design, the software can be customized to meet the precise requirements of your application. The Integration of TwinCAT into Visual Studio® allows automation objects to be programmed in parallel using IEC 61131-3 and the C or C++ languages, simplifying project handling and the process of working in teams. As for the objects that are generated (modules), these are able to call and exchange data with each other regardless of the language they were written in.

TwinCAT 3 Highlights:

  • programming and configuration in a single software
  • Visual Studio® integration
  • support with the object-oriented extension of IEC 61131-3
  • use of C/C++ as a programming language for real-time applications
  • link to MATLAB®/Simulink®
  • integrated motion control solution – including NC PTP, robotics, and CNC
  • open interfaces for expandability and adaptation to existing tool landscape
  • flexible run-time environment with active support for multi-core CPUs
  • support for 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems (Windows, TwinCAT/BSD)
  • automatic code generation and project creation with the TwinCAT Automation Interface
  • connection to all common fieldbuses
  • PC interfaces (network, PCI, USB, hard disk) supported
  • data connection to user interfaces and other programs using open standards
    (OPC UA, MQTT, ModBus, BacNet, ADS, etc.)

Beckhoff supplies a complete range of fieldbus components for all common I/Os and bus systems. Thanks to the extensive connectivity, all typical communication standards in the industry can be integrated.
Beckhoff supplies a complete range of fieldbus components for all common I/Os and bus systems. Thanks to the extensive connectivity, all typical communication standards in the industry can be integrated.

Beckhoff supports all communication standards

The powerful, PC-based automation platform takes care of control, data processing, connectivity, visualization, remote maintenance, and cloud connection. Due to the open interfaces in software and hardware, it is optimally suited to the central or decentralized control of technical infrastructure in a smart city. Our control technology opens up the degree of freedom required for the flexible use of various IT architectures – edge and cloud concepts can be used individually. The different application areas in a smart city interact with one another on a technical level and share data. Beckhoff technology enables these individual components in the city to be networked so that synergy effects can be utilized to optimal effect. PC-based control can therefore be used to integrate the different industry-specific communication standards in one system. For example, the following protocols can be integrated:

  • Building: KNX, LON, Dali, BACnet, DMX, SMI, MP-Bus, M-Bus, EnOcean, RS232/RS485, Modbus, Ethernet TCP/IP, FIAS, etc.
  • A/V and media technology: sACN, SMPTE timecode, Art-Net™, AES 70 (OCA), PosiStageNet and PJLink, etc.
  • Infrastructure and energy: IEC 61850, IEC 61400-XX, GOOSE, IEC 60870-5-10X, MQTT, OPC UA, IEEE 1588, etc.

The TwinCAT automation software integrates analysis functions and machine learning functions into the control platform.
The TwinCAT automation software integrates analysis functions and machine learning functions into the control platform.

From big data to smart data: intelligent use of data as basis for new business models

Data acquisition:
Each application and each form of IT infrastructure places different demands on the method of collecting data: SQL or noSQL, file-based, local or remote, or cloud-based data lake. For all these scenarios, there are a large number of established TwinCAT products available.

Data analysis:
TwinCAT Analytics enables comprehensive data analysis: from data acquisition, communication, and historization of data to evaluation. The collected data can also be displayed in web-based dashboards. All of the information for predictive maintenance can be derived from the data with the appropriate analysis tools.

Machine learning:
TwinCAT Machine Learning is the solution for machine learning (ML) that is integrated into TwinCAT. Building on standards, it brings the advantages of system openness familiar from PC-based control to ML applications. In addition, the execution of ML models is implemented in real time. The idea behind machine learning is to no longer follow the classic engineering route of designing solutions for specific tasks and then turning these solutions into algorithms, but rather to enable the algorithm to be learned from model data instead. We offer a closed workflow for the entire cycle from data collection through model training to deployment of the trained model.

EtherCAT is the fastest Industrial Ethernet technology. Added to this is the outstanding synchronization precision in the order of nanoseconds.
EtherCAT is the fastest Industrial Ethernet technology. Added to this is the outstanding synchronization precision in the order of nanoseconds.

High-speed communication with EtherCAT

The EtherCAT high-speed fieldbus has all the necessary and desired features for networking the control and measurement data in smart cities and for communicating with cloud services. On account of its high bandwidth, EtherCAT is suitable for processing not just all standard signals, but also highly precise measurement technology signals. The large number of EtherCAT interfaces enables standard fieldbuses such as PROFINET, DeviceNet, and others to be seamlessly integrated in the field. The system can also be set up with cable redundancy.

The general advantages of EtherCAT are:

  • high speed
  • simple diagnostics
  • flexible topology
  • control of up to 65,000 devices
  • EtherCAT allows the transmission of up to 64 kbit per slave
  • perfect synchronization

Beckhoff product highlights for smart cities

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

Ideal as a controller or edge device in smart cities: the C60xx series

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 Industrial PC 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. The 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 installation space in almost all areas of a smart city. In addition to being used for a wide range of automation tasks, the C6015 is suitable for use as an IoT gateway or edge device, particularly in Industrie 4.0 applications.

  • The C6017 multi-core computer, which measures just 82 x 82 x 66 mm, adds a variant to the family with additional optional interfaces.
  • Due to its high computing power, the C6025 is particularly suitable for demanding control applications that also take into account the aspect of green IT. The basis for this is the Intel® Core™ i U processor, which consumes significantly less power.
  • The C6030 offers advantages such as low space requirements and flexible mounting, even for complex applications with the highest performance requirements.
  • The C6032 has a further board level for modular interface and function extensions. The use of compact PCIe modules allows it to be perfectly adapted to the respective application and requirement profile.

The Beckhoff I/O system supports around 1000 Bus Terminals and is thus probably the most comprehensive system on the market.
The Beckhoff I/O system supports around 1000 Bus Terminals and is thus probably the most comprehensive system on the market.

The universal basic function block for automation

The I/O signals are wired decentralized to fieldbus devices or centrally to the controller. The available vendor-specific fieldbus devices with fixed input/output configurations and design often make it necessary to use an entire group of devices with similar functions. This complex signal acquisition results in high material, installation, design, and documentation expenditures as well as high costs for later changes or extensions. With our communication terminals, fieldbus functionalities are also available in the form of a standard Bus Terminal. This is particularly advantageous for bus systems that are integrated into a higher-level system, as it means that only one system is required for the subsystem and for the higher-level bus interface.

PC-based control makes it possible to implement the acquisition of energy data and measured values, as well as a secure and standardized connection to cloud systems.
PC-based control makes it possible to implement the acquisition of energy data and measured values, as well as a secure and standardized connection to cloud systems.

Integrated energy consumption measurement in smart buildings

Energy efficiency plays an important role in building automation. In order to save costs, energy consumption must be reduced and processes optimized. For the energy management of buildings and plants, it is necessary to record the consumption of water, electricity, and heat at the shortest possible intervals.

For the support of cost-optimizing energy management systems, our PC-based control offers the possibility to monitor, measure, and analyze energy data via a monitoring system that is completely integrated in the standard controller. Specific I/O components allow the highly precise and transparent acquisition of all energy data in a building. The data are processed and analyzed by the TwinCAT control software. Saving potential can be fully exploited, thereby creating the basis for DIN EN ISO 50001 compliance. With a broad portfolio of Bus Terminals and EtherCAT Terminals for energy metering, Beckhoff provides suitable technology for the ongoing monitoring of energy consumption as well as for the detailed consumption analysis.

Beckhoff terminals for direct current measurement:

  • 3-phase power measurement 500 V AC, EL3403, KL3403
  • 3-phase power measurement 690 V AC, EL3413
  • High-end network analysis EL3773

To simplify the engineering and reduce the time expenditure, Beckhoff has developed TwinCAT 3 Building Automation (TwinCAT BA).
To simplify the engineering and reduce the time expenditure, Beckhoff has developed TwinCAT 3 Building Automation (TwinCAT BA).
The C6015 ultra-compact Industrial PC collects data from HVAC, light, and facade and transfers them securely to the cloud, where they are available for analysis purposes.
The C6015 ultra-compact Industrial PC collects data from HVAC, light, and facade and transfers them securely to the cloud, where they are available for analysis purposes.

Software tools and libraries for building automation

In order to make the engineering of applications in building automation as efficient and simple as possible, we have developed an extensive construction kit of software tools, libraries, and application samples. This is based on the free programming environment TwinCAT Engineering (TE1000). It allows programming according to IEC 61131-3 and gives the system user maximum flexibility in solving tasks.

The basic functions for the automation of all technical systems of building automation – from simple logic blocks and PID controllers to lamella setpoint tracing in relation to the sun’s position – are included in the TwinCAT 3 Building Automation library (TF8040). With the function blocks from the Building Automation library, system integrators have an extensive portfolio of ready-to-use applications, or “templates,” at their disposal. These are tried-and-tested and well-documented program blocks, ranging from applications in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technology to the room automation functions of solar protection and lighting control. They simplify the system integrator’s familiarization with the system and ensure a high level of system functionality. This increases the quality of the execution as well as the reusability of the programs created.

For the integration of the Beckhoff automation stations into the higher management and control level, the communication via BACnet and OPC UA is integrated directly into the templates. Depending on the desired communication protocol, the TwinCAT functions TwinCAT 3 OPC UA (TF6100) and TwinCAT 3 BACnet/IP (TF8020) are available for this.

With the TwinCAT 3 IoT Data Agent (TF6720), the PC-based control platform is “ready for cloud.” It independently collects the process data configured for the purpose and transfers it to a communication or data service in the Microsoft Azure™ or Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud; alternatively, it sends the process data to an MQTT or AMQP message broker.

The system operation and parameterization can be carried out on site on the control cabinet via touch panel or remotely by means of an integrated HTML5 web visualization. For higher demands regarding operating functionality and for support for web technologies, such as a responsive design, the software library TwinCAT HMI (TF2000) is recommended. It supports all basic operating and monitoring functions, such as system graphics, alarm and event lists, scheduling, and trends.

TwinCAT integrates the Human Machine Interface directly in the familiar engineering environment.
TwinCAT integrates the Human Machine Interface directly in the familiar engineering environment.

TwinCAT HMI: the quick way to an individual user interface

TwinCAT HMI consistently relies on widely used IT standards such as HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS. The integration of a full graphic editor with an extensive toolbox into the familiar TwinCAT Engineering environment makes it possible to create extensive visualization pages with little effort. Customer-specific functions that are not part of the visualization toolbox can be implemented via the above-mentioned IT standards or higher-level programming languages. The visualizations created are independent of the client’s platform and are responsive. Numerous application scenarios are possible, from the local panel solution to multi-client, multi-server, and multi-run-time concepts.

Beckhoff relies on IT standards:

  • Visual Studio® for engineering
  • HTML5 for design
  • TLS for secure communication
  • Execution of the user interface on any HTML-capable browser, regardless of operating system, resolution, and display

Building Automation

PC-based control from Beckhoff integrates all building automation functions on one control platform.

Infrastructure

PC-based control for building automation in infrastructure

Warehouse and distribution logistics

Scalable with high performance: PC-based control for control and drive technology tasks in warehouse and distribution logistics

Water and wastewater treatment

Intelligent automation of water and wastewater treatment

Energy and power measurement

IoT-enabled solutions for consumption transparency in machines and power distribution systems

PC-based control provides a control solution for pitch systems.

Wind turbines

More than 85,000 wind turbines worldwide up to a size of 13 MW have already been automated with Beckhoff technology.

Beckhoff control components for AV and media technology

AV and media technology

Beckhoff control components for AV and media technology

PC-based control from Beckhoff offers automation solutions for all stationary performances.

Entertainment industry

Ultimate guest experience: PC-based control for the entertainment industry