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Faster, easier and platform-independent: TwinCAT HMI

What does the HMI solution of the future look like? How can the all-important user interface be given an industry-spanning design in the future so that maximum operator efficiency and optimum user comfort are ensured? Today, Beckhoff is pioneering the way to the next generation of HMI solutions with TwinCAT HMI: TwinCAT now integrates the Human Machine Interface directly into the familiar environment of Microsoft Visual Studio®. Programming is unnecessary as configuration is handled with ease using the TwinCAT HMI graphical editor. As simple as the configuration is, the handling is equally adaptable: this web-based solution, which is based on HTML5 and JavaScript, acts “responsively”, irrespective of the operating system, browser and device. The powerful basic architecture makes numerous application scenarios possible: from the local panel display solution to multi-client, multi-server and multi-runtime concepts. Individual extensions can be implemented quickly via defined interfaces; the mix of standard controls and custom design elements facilitates individualization and differentiation.



The TwinCAT 3 HMI (human-machine interface) integrates itself into the well-known Visual Studio® development environment. Based on the latest web technologies (HTML5, JavaScript), it allows the user to develop platform-independent user interfaces that are “responsive”, i.e. they automatically adapt to the screen resolution, size and orientation at hand. With the graphical WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) editor, controls can be easily arranged via drag-and-drop and linked with real-time variables.


The TC3 HMI Server is a modular web server that provides the human-machine interface (HMI). It supports all CPU classes from ARM to multi-core. The powerful architecture enables a wide range of application scenarios from local panel solutions to multi-client, multi-server and multi-runtime concepts.


The TC3 HMI Server includes a connection to one client (browser) as standard. Optional client packages are available for establishing further connections at the same time, e.g. to a mobile device or panel. Optional packets are available for 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, 25 or 100 clients. The number of supported clients is not tied to the devices employed, the HMI Server only counts simultaneous (browser) connections.


OPC Unified Architecture is a vendor-independent communication interface for linking TwinCAT or other controllers. The extension includes the OPC UA client, which enables integration of an OPC UA server.


The TwinCAT HMI Server can be expanded modularly and flexibly via extensions. The software development kit (.NET) can be used for programming application-specific solutions (e.g. business logics, proprietary protocols). In addition, user IP (intellectual property) is protected, and existing functions can be accessed by the server (e.g. ADS, logging).


The TwinCAT Scope software oscilloscope can be used to display time sequences with high resolution. The extension enables integration of the software oscilloscope into the TwinCAT HMI and provides ready-made scope control.