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Open automation technology with fieldbus diversity: Ideally suited for extrusion lines

Depending on the material and end product being processed, the requirements for extrusion processes vary a great deal, from precise temperature control with a short settling time to process control for melt throughput, wall thickness or film thickness. Detailed energy recording is absolutely necessary for sustainable production.

With its open, precisely scalable and modular control technology, Beckhoff meets the requirements for extrusion technology – be it recycling, tube and profile extrusion or blow film extruder - for performance-oriented and cost-effective solutions. An extensive portfolio of industrial PCs, EtherCAT as a fast communication system, the decentralized I/O modules, drive technology components and the TwinCAT automation software make up the universal hardware and software platform for the automation of extrusion plants. As if from a construction kit, the user can assemble a suitable control solution for the system or plant type. Depending on the system execution and size, Beckhoff offers control panels in different form factors and if necessary in a customer-specific execution.

Beckhoff technologies and components optimize the extrusion process

Open automation technology with fieldbus diversity: Ideally suited for extrusion lines
Open automation technology with fieldbus diversity: Ideally suited for extrusion lines

Technology modules and components for extrusion machines

For the efficient automation of extruders, machine manufacturers have an extensive range of software and hardware components at their disposal:

  • Control panels in different form factors – if required in a customer-specific execution
  • The industry-specific software function blocks for temperature control are suitable for extrusion barrels and nozzles with a high heat capacity.
  • The energy measurement by means of the sequential switching on and off of heating zones takes place without loss of control quality.
  • Common interfaces used for extrusion applications, such as Ethernet, CANopen, IO-Link or PROFINET, are available.
  • The upcoming Euromap standards based on OPC UA have been prepared.
  • Special measuring terminals are available for measurement applications such as gravimetry or layer thickness measurement, as well as condition monitoring.
  • TwinSAFE-SC technology for redundant sensor data acquisition

The TwinCAT 3 Plastic Framework brings together Beckhoff’s many years of expertise in plastics, seamlessly integrating important industry-specific control functions into the TwinCAT environment.
The TwinCAT 3 Plastic Framework brings together Beckhoff’s many years of expertise in plastics, seamlessly integrating important industry-specific control functions into the TwinCAT environment.

Modular software solution for the plastics industry

With the TwinCAT 3 Plastic Framework, we offer a modular software solution for the control of plastics machines that minimizes development effort and maintains the open nature of Beckhoff architecture. The TwinCAT 3 Plastic Framework brings together our many years of expertise in plastics, seamlessly integrating important industry-specific functions into the established TwinCAT environment. As a result, plastics machines can be programmed, visualized, and controlled on a single platform.

The TwinCAT 3 Plastic Framework contains three software libraries: TF8540 enables comprehensive software-based temperature control in plastics processing. TF8560 is a technology package that provides all the components for controlling motion functions in plastics machines. TF8550 is an HMI package specially developed for the plastics industry that enables the visualization of typical processes with minimal engineering effort and integrates seamlessly into the other technology packages.

Integrated, application-specific templates and sample code for various plastics applications facilitate project planning and programming, and are made available free of charge via the TwinCAT 3 Plastic Application. Of course, existing templates can also be used and your own process expertise can be integrated.

TF8540: Plastic Processing Framework

  • software temperature control supports almost any number of controlled systems
  • optimal process adaptation through auto-tuning for thermally coupled heating zones
  • intelligent band heater monitoring by current or power measurement with minimized number of sensors

TF8560: Plastic Technology Functions

  • software system structures can be adapted to machine concept
  • reduction of development and commissioning times through pre-developed standard blocks
  • field-proven typical motion functions for plastics machines
  • software solution independent of the selected drive concept (hydraulic/electric/hybrid)
  • intelligent commissioning support for hydraulic axes
  • prepared for integrated safety solution with TwinSAFE
  • support of virtual commissioning through integrated simulations

TF8550: Plastic HMI Framework

  • fully comprehensive HMI application with minimal development effort
  • intuitive user interface for the HMI
  • wide range of user-friendly functions for specific plastics processes
  • interactions and HMI layout based on the requirements of the plastics market
  • configurable look and feel for customer-specific HMI brand design

User interfaces for extrusion plants

An innovative and sustainable tool for creating user interfaces for extrusion machines is available to the user in TwinCAT HMI. In addition to the display on the machine panel, the HTML5-based architecture also enables the presentation of machine data in the same design on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. The TwinCAT Plastic Application Components for extrusion include process-specific technology modules and the corresponding HMI objects, for example for temperature control. This allows machine manufacturers to put together their own solution or, for example, to use a turnkey solution for retrofit projects.

The analysis of big data and secure communication between the machine controller and the cloud take place via TwinCAT IoT, either integrated into the standard controller or via an IoT coupler.

Beckhoff technology highlights for extrusion lines

Our scalable product portfolio facilitates the development of cost- and performance-optimized automation solutions for plastics machines.
Our scalable product portfolio facilitates the development of cost- and performance-optimized automation solutions for plastics machines.

The PC-based control principle

With PC-based control technology, we offer comprehensive system solutions in various performance classes for the automation of all types of plastics machines. The basic principle is based on a powerful industrial PC, a high-performance fieldbus connection with the connected peripheral devices for sensors and actuators, and the software for engineering and real-time control. The control platform is supplemented by an extensive portfolio of drive components. TwinCAT automation software bundles all necessary functionalities such as PLC, motion control, robotics, measurement technology, image processing, and HMI. Our technology is based on IT standards and has the necessary openness to implement intelligent production concepts according to Industrie 4.0.

Due to the high performance of modern processors, which we install in all of our PC series, computationally intensive applications can easily be integrated into the control platform. Plastics machine manufacturers benefit from the continuous increase in the performance of PC processors: Shorter sampling times are already increasing the quality of the end product today and will be the requirement for the realization of self-learning machines in the future. The possibility, for example, to completely simulate an injection molding machine in the virtual design process saves time during development and commissioning.

Due to its excellent real-time characteristics and high bandwidth, EtherCAT is ideally suited for controlling the complex processes encountered in plastics machines and serves as a backbone for linking production equipment.
Due to its excellent real-time characteristics and high bandwidth, EtherCAT is ideally suited for controlling the complex processes encountered in plastics machines and serves as a backbone for linking production equipment.

EtherCAT: World standard for plastics machines

The EtherCAT technology was launched on the market by us in 2003 and made available as an open standard for automation technology. With outstanding performance, flexible choice of topology, comprehensive diagnostics and simple configuration, EtherCAT is ideally suited for use in plastics machines. We offer the largest number of EtherCAT-compatible automation modules for I/Os and for drive technology.

EtherCAT is one of the most widely used standards in plastics technology. A large number of EtherCAT-compatible sensors and actuators are available on the market, which guarantees a high level of investment security. Particularly interesting for electrically driven injection molding machines is the problem-free connection of drives from third-party suppliers. Other fieldbus systems can also be integrated as communication layers via EtherCAT.

The fast and high-precision Beckhoff control solution eXtreme Fast Control (XFC) is based on EtherCAT and special I/O modules optimized for XFC that record signals or trigger actions with high accuracy. With I/O response times under 100 μs, XFC enables very fast and extremely deterministic reactions and thus contributes to process optimization.

All safety functions can be integrated into any conceivable machine architecture with TwinSAFE: from the stand-alone solution to the distributed and the software controller, which meets even the most complex requirements. End customers thus get exactly the complete safety package that they need. Unnecessary costs for incorrectly dimensioned safety solutions are avoided.
All safety functions can be integrated into any conceivable machine architecture with TwinSAFE: from the stand-alone solution to the distributed and the software controller, which meets even the most complex requirements. End customers thus get exactly the complete safety package that they need. Unnecessary costs for incorrectly dimensioned safety solutions are avoided.

TwinSAFE: The open and scalable safety technology

With TwinSAFE, we have implemented a consistent safety concept that integrates safe functionalities into the non-safety-related control architecture. Separate safety controllers are thus superfluous. The typical safety functions can be programmed and configured on the EL6910 TwinSAFE Logic or the compact EK1960 safety controller, based on standard safety function blocks according to the safety requirements. The Beckhoff safety solution accelerates the engineering process, as the safety-related requirements of different machine configurations can be realized by software. All our safety controllers are suitable for applications up to SIL 3 according to IEC 61508 or PLe of ISO 13849-1 and meet the EN 201 standard for injection molding machines.

Safety technology seamlessly integrates into the terminal segment via the TwinSAFE I/O modules, whereby safe signals can be mixed with standard signals as required. This benefits, for example, blow molding machines or production cells with control cabinets in different installation locations. Due to its scalability, the Beckhoff safety solution is suitable for expansive, complex systems with distributed I/Os as well as for small injection molding and blow molding machines. One safety logic is sufficient here to realize the complete safety technology. The compact EK1960 safety controller is particularly suitable for injection molding machines with hydraulic and/or electric drives. It allows the direct control of digital switching valves with a load of 2 A, such as those used in core pullers. With the help of the TwinSAFE SC technology, signals with a low safety level can be used redundantly for safety tasks.

TwinCAT Vision is directly integrated into the engineering environment of TwinCAT. All control functions derived from image processing, such as the exact determination of the position of the workpiece as well as the triggering of the camera and the light source, are synchronized in real time with TwinCAT Vision.
TwinCAT Vision is directly integrated into the engineering environment of TwinCAT. All control functions derived from image processing, such as the exact determination of the position of the workpiece as well as the triggering of the camera and the light source, are synchronized in real time with TwinCAT Vision.

Image processing integrated into the controller ensures the quality of the parts in plastics processing

Optical quality monitoring has long been known in plastics technology. However, due to integration costs and the lack of complete solutions, it has not yet established itself as a standard. The approach of PC-based control technology offers the ideal solution here: with TwinCAT Vision, Beckhoff integrates the image processing functionalities completely into the familiar engineering environment of the machine programmer, which makes programming and testing much simpler. All control functions derived from image processing, such as the exact determination of the position of the workpiece as well as the triggering of the camera and the light source, are synchronized in real time. This is a key advantage of the integrated image processing solution over separate systems.

The vision solution from Beckhoff is ideally suited in the plastics industry for process monitoring, e.g., for the ejector, for determining the part geometry and for position orientation.

Advantage through TwinCAT Vision

  • Improvement in quality: Precise measurement and exact optical inspection ensure compliance with the process parameters.
  • Increase in efficiency: The synchronous inline measurement of parts without a separate measuring station improves efficiency.
  • Quality assurance: Applications such as Track & Trace enable the traceability of product quality for each individual part, such as is required for safety-critical applications in the medical technology sector or for special automotive parts.
  • Temperature measurement: The surface temperature of plastic parts can be determined with the help of thermal imaging cameras.
  • Machine Learning: Inferences between machine settings and part geometries are a prerequisite for the development of learning algorithms as a milestone towards intelligent, self-learning machines.

Beckhoff product highlights for extrusion lines

Industry and customer-specific Control Panels and Panel PCs as a unique selling point for your machine

The ergonomic operation and the unmistakable appearance of a machine play a significant role in its success on the market. In addition to design and color, the Control Panel is of great importance as the front end of a machine. More and more mechanical engineering customers therefore want an industry or customer-specific user interface as a unique selling point. Based on an extensive portfolio of standard Control Panels and Panel PCs, Beckhoff offers a wide range of solutions with regard to technical form and design. A panel design that matches the appearance of the machine in color and dimensions underlines its innovative character. There are no limits to the implementation of the customer's wishes: from the customer-specific company logo inserted in the factory and the color scheme matching the machine design, to the completely individually designed panel on the basis of an individual device construction.

In order to meet the needs of the plastics industry for ergonomic operation, Beckhoff offers Control Panels and Panel PCs that are optimally suited to the various processes. The needs-based design of the standard panels through the integration of manually operated push buttons and switches makes machine operation more comfortable. Based on in-depth knowledge of the individual process steps in plastics processing, an industry-specific panel is created from a Beckhoff standard panel without a great deal of development work and expenditure.

With the CX series of Embedded PCs, Beckhoff combines PC technology with the modular I/O level on the DIN rail in the control cabinet. Due to the fine scalability of the different device classes, the user can select exactly the right performance category for his application. Even smaller than the compact design of the Embedded PC devices is the series of ultra-compact Industrial PCs, which is therefore suitable as an alternative, especially when it comes to minimizing mounting space.
With the CX series of Embedded PCs, Beckhoff combines PC technology with the modular I/O level on the DIN rail in the control cabinet. Due to the fine scalability of the different device classes, the user can select exactly the right performance category for his application. Even smaller than the compact design of the Embedded PC devices is the series of ultra-compact Industrial PCs, which is therefore suitable as an alternative, especially when it comes to minimizing mounting space.

Modular Industrial PCs for the DIN rail

With the CX series of Embedded PCs, Beckhoff combines PC technology with the modular I/O level on the DIN rail in the control cabinet. By adding or eliminating modules and interfaces, only the components that the user needs for the respective application are installed. In this way, Embedded PCs open up a wide range of applications – for example in the field of plastics machines and production cells.

Due to its sturdiness, the CX is suitable for use as a powerful and reliable controller under harsh industrial conditions, such as vibration or heat. The fine scalability in different device classes allows users to select exactly the right performance category for their applications. The devices from the lower performance class are suitable, for example, for controlling temperature control devices, for dosing applications and for conveyor belts. Powerful control PCs are available for injection molding and blow molding machines in the CX5100 and CX5200. The devices from the CX20x0 and CX20x2 series are high-end controllers that allow for complex user interfaces, the integration of image processing, the realization of machine learning or the aggregation of large quantities of data.

Even smaller than the compact Embedded PC devices is the series of ultra-compact Industrial PCs, which is therefore suitable as an alternative, especially when it comes to minimizing mounting space. While the C6015 is suitable for control tasks in the lower performance category, the C6030 meets the requirements for a standard controller. Another advantage is the flexible mounting: while the CX can only be installed horizontally, the devices from the C60xx series can be installed in any position. Another advantage of the Embedded PCs – as for Beckhoff's entire Industrial PC portfolio – is the long-term availability of spare parts, which offers the customer a high level of investment security.

Suitable EtherCAT Terminals are available for all common digital and analog signal types encountered in the world of automation. Fieldbus devices, e.g., for PROFIBUS, PROFINET, CANopen, DeviceNet, Interbus, IO-Link or Lightbus, are integrated via decentralized fieldbus master/slave terminals.
Suitable EtherCAT Terminals are available for all common digital and analog signal types encountered in the world of automation. Fieldbus devices, e.g., for PROFIBUS, PROFINET, CANopen, DeviceNet, Interbus, IO-Link or Lightbus, are integrated via decentralized fieldbus master/slave terminals.
With a wide range of TwinSAFE logic-capable components, Beckhoff offers complete freedom in the design of the safety architecture.
With a wide range of TwinSAFE logic-capable components, Beckhoff offers complete freedom in the design of the safety architecture.

EtherCAT I/O modules integrate temperature control, energy measurement and safety technology into the control platform

In 1995, Beckhoff launched the Bus Terminal, which has since become one of the most important technology standards in automation technology. This was followed in 2003 by the development of the EtherCAT fast communication system. Launched by Beckhoff as an open system, it became a global standard in automation within a few years. An extensive EtherCAT I/O Terminal portfolio is available to users that is extremely well suited for automating every functionality in plastics machines and their peripherals in terms of both its performance and variance.

  • EL3318 for temperature measurement
    The EL3318 EtherCAT Terminal is ideal for temperature measurement via thermocouples. The 8-channel input terminal with integrated cold junction compensation is very compact in its design and measures temperatures with high accuracy and high signal-to-noise ratio.
  • EL3403 and EL3446 for power measurement
    The EL3403 three-phase power measurement terminal can be used to measure and optimize the power consumption of a plastics machine. In conjunction with the TwinCAT Plastic Processing Framework, the EL3403 is used for the cost-effective Condition Monitoring of the heating tapes through sequentially alternating testing in operation. In traditional control structures, the power measurement terminal can also be used for current measurement. The EL3446 is available for simple monitoring of the heating tape function. In combination with the voltage measurement in just one power measurement terminal, the power consumption of individual machine components can be recorded cost-effectively by means of current measurement. The Beckhoff SCT current transformers (SCT2xxx, SCT1xxxx) enable assembly of the appropriate combination of sensor and power measuring terminal without requiring detailed knowledge.
  • EL3255 for position detection
    The EL3255 EtherCAT Terminal allows potentiometric position detection. Due to its integrated power supply, the terminal delivers precise results (voltage values) even in environments with high interference fields. The EL3255 is particularly suitable for injection molding and blow molding machines with hydraulic drive technology.
  • EL6224 IO-Link terminal
    IO-Link is an inexpensive fieldbus for the reading of sensors with low real-time requirements. A preferred application, for example in extrusion, is the reading of melt pressure and melt temperature via the EL6224.
  • Thermocouple Fieldbus Modules FM33xx
    The fieldbus modules with EtherCAT fieldbus connection allow the safe and accurate reading of thermocouples on injection molds, for example in injection mold making. The fieldbus modules have back-voltage protection circuitry to protect against external voltages applied to the thermocouple inputs. The cabling costs are reduced by eliminating compensation cables.
  • TwinSAFE terminals for integrating safety technology into the controller
    Due to its scalability, the Beckhoff safety solution is suitable for expansive, complex systems with distributed I/Os as well as for small injection molding and blow molding machines. One safety logic is sufficient here to realize the complete safety technology. The compact EK1960 safety controller is particularly suitable for injection molding machines with hydraulic and/or electric drives. It allows the direct control of digital switching valves with a load of 2 A, such as those used in core pullers.

With the optimally scalable EtherCAT Terminals for energy management, a wide range of tasks can be solved in the areas of power monitoring and process control as well as mains monitoring and maintenance.
With the optimally scalable EtherCAT Terminals for energy management, a wide range of tasks can be solved in the areas of power monitoring and process control as well as mains monitoring and maintenance.

Efficient energy monitoring

Energy consumption in plastics processing varies depending on the specific process. As a rule, however, it is very high and represents a major cost driver. Therefore, energy efficiency improvements are essential to achieve sustainability in production. Beckhoff provides suitable technology for a continuous monitoring of the energy consumption and a detailed consumption analysis for new system developments.

For this purpose, Beckhoff offers efficiency and cost-optimised software and hardware components:

  • The EL3443 and EL3453 EtherCAT Terminals enable the measurement of all relevant electrical data of a supply network within the EtherCAT I/O system. In this way, the system-integrated monitoring of a plant’s energy efficiency can be easily implemented.
  • The EL3773 and EL3783 mains monitoring terminals are designed for the detailed state monitoring of 3-phase AC or DC voltage systems.
  • The software library TwinCAT 3 Power Monitoring is a PLC library for the evaluation of voltage and current raw data that are provided by the above EtherCAT Terminals. Specific functions blocks are available for determining the RMS values of current, voltage and power

Requirements in injection molding technology prompted the development of the Fieldbus Modules from the FM33xx series. The multi-thermocouple connector is accommodated in a compact, splash-proof housing.
Requirements in injection molding technology prompted the development of the Fieldbus Modules from the FM33xx series. The multi-thermocouple connector is accommodated in a compact, splash-proof housing.

Safe and accurate reading of thermocouples

Requirements in the injection molding technology prompted the development of the Fieldbus Modules from the FM33xx series. The 12- and 32-channel input modules allow the safe and accurate reading of thermocouples on injection molds or on plasticizing cylinders via fieldbus. The multi-thermocouple connector is accommodated in a compact, splash-proof housing. The circuit of the Fieldbus Modules can operate thermocouple sensors in 2-wire technology. Linearization over the entire temperature range and cold junction compensation is carried out in the module. The temperature range can be selected freely. The error LEDs indicate a broken wire. In order to increase operational reliability, the thermocouple inputs provide protection against accidental connection of the power supply for the heating elements. The cabling costs are reduced by eliminating compensation cables.

The FM33xx-B110 thermocouple Fieldbus Modules with EtherCAT interface are supplied with voltage via separate M8 connectors and are daisy-chain-capable on both the power supply and EtherCAT side, i.e. several modules can be wired in series in a line topology. The FM33xx-B310 Fieldbus Modules have a PROFIBUS DP interface with a data transfer rate of 12 Mbaud. Data is mainly exchanged cyclically, although acyclic services (DP-V1) are also available for parameterization and diagnosis.

The robust design of the EtherCAT Box modules enables their use directly at the machine. Control cabinets and terminal boxes are now no longer required.
The robust design of the EtherCAT Box modules enables their use directly at the machine. Control cabinets and terminal boxes are now no longer required.

Universal EtherCAT for the IP67 world

With the EtherCAT Box, EtherCAT technology is used without a control cabinet. The modules from the IP67 series have an integrated direct EtherCAT interface, so that the high performance is retained right down to each module. In the IP67 world, this enables fast process data communication with XFC, high-precision measurement technology and integrated drive technology functions directly in the field. The robust design of the EtherCAT Box modules enables them to be used directly at the machine. Control cabinets and terminal boxes are now no longer required. In addition to the sturdy M12 screw connectors, D-Sub connectors, which are perfectly suited for handling applications, are also available for cost-sensitive applications.

  • With the EP3744 EtherCAT Box, pneumatic pressure monitoring for the gripper elements can be implemented in handling applications; at the same time, six digital inputs can be read in.
  • In the EP1816, the acquisition of 16 digital inputs is combined with the measurement of acceleration forces in three axes.
  • The EP3752 enables the measurement of acceleration forces without additional inputs. The measured values of the accelerometers can be used for the acquisition of the mass forces, e.g., on machine bodies or for innovative control concepts with jerk compensation on handling devices.
  • The EP3314 EtherCAT Box is suitable for the acquisition of process temperatures directly at the point where they arise. It increases measuring accuracy and saves having to use compensating cables for the thermocouples.
  • The FM3312 or FM3332 Fieldbus Modules in a sturdy metal housing are particularly suitable for temperature measurement on injection molds or nozzles in extrusion lines. Up to 32 temperature channels can be contained in one industrial connector. Operational reliability is additionally ensured by reverse polarity protection against phase voltage.
  • With the EP3356, the high-precision evaluation of load cells is possible, which is required in extruder applications for dosing and melt throughput measurement.

Electrical servo technology replaces hydraulic systems and increases the energy efficiency of plastic machines.
Electrical servo technology replaces hydraulic systems and increases the energy efficiency of plastic machines.

Electrical servo technology replaces hydraulic systems

The TwinCAT technology modules for plastic machines support hydraulic drive technology and servo-electric drives, therefore offering a wide selection of drive technology components. The integrated, fast control technology of the AX5000 EtherCAT Servo Drive series enables the realization of fast and highly dynamic motion processes. The flexible drive design, with 1- and 2-channel units as well as the variable distribution of motor output allocation, allows cost-optimized solutions, in particular for handling systems. The comprehensive range of Beckhoff servomotors is optimized for the AX5000 Servo Drives. The One Cable Technology, which combines the power and feedback cables into one standard motor cable, reduces cable runs, mounting space and commissioning costs. With integrated TwinSAFE technology, the Beckhoff Servo Drives meet the stringent safety requirements for plastic machines and simplify the configuration of production cells.

PC-based control technology in combination with EtherCAT Servo Drives is ideally suited for replacing hydraulic axes with electrical drive solutions, which helps reduce the energy consumption of machines. When it comes to energy-efficient machines, a distinction is made between all-electric machines, where each axis is equipped with an electric motor and a spindle, and so-called servo hydraulics, where the hydraulic pump is operated with a servomotor. For both drive concepts solutions exist that include the AX5000 and TwinCAT technology software modules. In this way it is possible to effectively trigger crucial mold protection procedures that quickly stop the machine movement if a plastic part is detected in the mold. For the design of new machines, Beckhoff can offer support for the configuration of motors and gear units.

TwinCAT integrates all engineering and runtime processes on a central software platform.
TwinCAT integrates all engineering and runtime processes on a central software platform.

TwinCAT: the integrated engineering and control platform

TwinCAT integrates all engineering and runtime processes on a central software platform. This applies to programming, configuration, real-time environment and all runtime modules. By programming in the common IEC PLC dialects and integrating C/C++ algorithms, machine manufacturers can freely choose the most suitable programming method depending on the qualifications of the programmers, the service strategy and the need to protect expertise. With the integration of MATLAB®/Simulink®, controller concepts are developed based on models, thus contributing to virtual machine design. By using Microsoft Visual Studio® as integrated programmer workbench, different version control systems are supported and teamwork is simplified. For series production, TwinCAT offers open interfaces for the integration of commercial IT systems for machine program generation.

  • Extensive TwinCAT libraries for motion control save development time thanks to tested and optimized algorithms. The TwinCAT PTP and TwinCAT NC I supplements are ideally suited for handling applications with Cartesian robots. Ready-to-run solutions are available with TwinCAT Kinematic Transformation for other robot kinematics, such as SCARA, Delta and articulated arm.
  • Commissioning and service processes are accelerated and improved with TwinCAT Scope, a software oscilloscope fully integrated into the TwinCAT system architecture, and thus contribute to increasing machine quality.
  • TwinSAFE software-based safety technology simplifies the wiring of complex systems; variants can be mapped in software. This allows, for example, the modular development and commissioning of production cells. Documentation is also simplified and adaptations to additional customer requirements can be implemented quickly.
  • The integrated, browser-based TwinCAT HMI visualization solution enables convenient development and maintenance of visualization objects. The information is presented either on the machines and systems or via the internet using a web browser.
  • TwinCAT IoT provides the prerequisite for data aggregation in the cloud or locally in the production plant. TwinCAT also includes standardized communication protocols for cloud applications.
  • The collected data can be specifically evaluated using TwinCAT Analytics.
  • The TwinCAT interfaces to machine learning algorithms allow the use of AI methods in the traditional control environment.

Motion Control has been an important part of Beckhoff software engineering tools for many years. With TwinCAT PTP and TwinCAT NC I, the requirements of electric drive technology in plastics machines and their peripherals are perfectly covered.
Motion Control has been an important part of Beckhoff software engineering tools for many years. With TwinCAT PTP and TwinCAT NC I, the requirements of electric drive technology in plastics machines and their peripherals are perfectly covered.

TwinCAT Motion Control: perfectly suited for all drive tasks in plastics technology

Motion Control has been an important part of Beckhoff's software engineering tools for many years. With TwinCAT PTP and TwinCAT NC I, the requirements of electric drive technology in plastics machines and their peripherals are perfectly covered. A wide range of software modules for different tasks such as cam plates, synchronization and interpolating movements of several axes are available. NC PTP is perfectly suited for the widely used Cartesian removal systems; integration into the machine controller of the processing machine is easily feasible. The TwinCAT Plastic Application Components are available for stand-alone handling applications. As an industry-specific extension of the TwinCAT, they support the widely used Euromap interfaces between injection molding machine and robot, either as Euromap 67 or in the future as Euromap 79 (OPC 40079).

Fast removal processes, such as in-mold labeling with the help of side removal handling, are optimized with PC- and EtherCAT-based control technology: EtherCAT as a fieldbus with virtually delay-free synchronization leads to extremely short cycle times. Following the philosophy of open automation technology, TwinCAT Motion Control is a tool for the design of production cells that allows the integration of Beckhoff drive components as well as third-party components. TwinCAT NC-PTP is a suitable engineering tool for a variety of drive concepts: from simple switched axes and stepper motors or frequency converters to servo drives.

Different encoder technologies with fieldbus interfaces or direct connection via I/Os are supported. This makes it possible to design production cells modularly, flexibly and at an optimal cost according to market requirements. In particular, the linking possibilities of master and slave axes in almost any structure as well as the powerful and diverse motion functions of TwinCAT cover wide-ranging applications in outstanding fashion. With the Flying Saw software library, for example, trimming units in extrusion lines can be perfectly synchronized. Powerful tools such as the TwinCAT CAM Design Tool and the TwinCAT Scope support machine design and commissioning. PLC libraries with function blocks according to the PLCopen Motion Control standard facilitate programming and save engineering effort through the reusability of the modules.

Modular software solution for the plastics industry

With the TwinCAT 3 Plastic Framework, we offer a modular software solution for the control of plastics machines that minimizes development effort and maintains the open nature of Beckhoff architecture. The TwinCAT 3 Plastic Framework brings together our many years of expertise in plastics, seamlessly integrating important industry-specific functions into the established TwinCAT environment. As a result, plastics machines can be programmed, visualized, and controlled on a single platform.

The TwinCAT 3 Plastic Framework contains three software libraries: TF8540 enables comprehensive software-based temperature control in plastics processing. TF8560 is a technology package that provides all the components for controlling motion functions in plastics machines. TF8550 is an HMI package specially developed for the plastics industry that enables the visualization of typical processes with minimal engineering effort and integrates seamlessly into the other technology packages. Integrated, application-specific templates and sample code for various plastics applications facilitate project planning and programming, and are made available free of charge via the TwinCAT 3 Plastic Application. Of course, existing templates can also be used and your own process expertise can be integrated.