PC-based control, the PC- and EtherCAT-based control and drive technology from Beckhoff, offers great potential for making machines and systems for the plastics processing industry work more sustainably. The software is based on the TwinCAT 3 Plastic Framework, the TwinCAT Analytics data analysis solution, and TwinCAT OPC UA for communication according to the Euromap standard. On the hardware side, for example, EtherCAT Terminals for energy data acquisition and servomotor drives play a crucial role as an alternative to hydraulic solutions.
The TwinCAT 3 Plastic Framework enables seamless integration of hydraulic and electric drive technology, providing a modular and powerful control system for plastics machinery that minimizes development work while retaining the tried-and-tested openness of the Beckhoff architecture. This means that all prerequisites are in place to process plastics in a way that is as efficient and sustainable as possible, as the high-precision process control and end-to-end digitalization help to save on resources. The Plastic Framework brings together Beckhoff’s many years of expertise in plastics, seamlessly integrating important industry-specific control functions. These are complemented by a collection of industry-typical framework controls that can be seamlessly integrated into the overall solution. What’s more, Euromap/OPC UA can also be integrated with ease. The sample code included as standard for various plastics applications, such as injection molding, blow molding, and extrusion, simplifies project planning and programming.
Data transparency for greater production and energy efficiency
Since all common Euromap interfaces are supported, users are able to adopt a standardized approach to exchanging data both between individual machines and to the higher-level MES. In addition, process data can be aggregated synchronously with the machine cycle using the TwinCAT Analytics data analysis tool. All necessary information on the processing procedure and the machine state can be derived from this data to optimize production efficiency and energy consumption.
With an extensive portfolio of I/O terminals, Beckhoff also integrates the measurement technology required for energy monitoring into its standard control technology. Modular measuring terminals are available for applications ranging from the measurement of temperature, power, current, and voltage up to sophisticated mains or condition monitoring. The signals are sent to the control as raw data for further processing, meaning only one control is required for automation and energy data acquisition. PC-based control simplifies the implementation process considerably, while retrofitting requires minimal effort.
Dynamic and high-precision servo drive technology from Beckhoff opens up further possibilities for saving energy and conserving resources in plastics processing. It also offers a number of crucial advantages over previous hydraulic solutions, including excellent controllability and an increase in energy efficiency, along with the complete elimination of a hydraulic infrastructure in the machine or system. This is made possible by the AM8000 rotary servomotors, the AL8000 linear servomotors, and the new AA3000 electric cylinders.