EXCLUSIVE: Highly modular control system solves complex tasks

X20 compact block I/O system from Bernecker+Rainer Industrie-Elektronik (B&R Industrial Automation in the U.S.) is a highly modular control system that enables combining all components needed for an application’s requirements.


X20 compact block I/O system from B&R Industrial Automation Group provides a modular control system for complex tasks.

X20 compact block I/O system from Bernecker+Rainer Industrie-Elektronik (B&R Industrial Automation in the U.S.) is a highly modular control system that enables combining all components needed for an application’s requirements. X20 can be added to a standard fieldbus to expand an existing control system. When combined with the system’s CPUs, it is also a complete controller that offers high performance, flexibility, and ease of use. The system requires no change in a user's familiar programming environment. Applications for control, visualization, and drive technology are created easily and intuitively using B&R's Automation Studio software. Many applications do not require programming code. Project configuration and program creation and testing are possible even offline without a connected X20 System.

''The X20 System offers the highest level of flexibility and modularity for all industrial applications,'' said Anton Meindl, business manager for controllers, fieldbuses, and I/O systems, B&R Austria. ''The result of intensive research and development, X20 System is well suited for both remote as well as local control architectures, as intelligent controller and as I/O system.''

Every X20 System module comes with predesigned electronic descriptions of its own mechanical dimensions, electrical signals, and module functions. Design changes are immediately reflected at all levels for accelerated development, programming, maintenance, and documentation. High component density of up to 12 I/O channels for each module saves installation space. Each module consists of three parts: base or backplane, electronics, and terminal block to allow assembly variations on a basic platform. Remote X2X Link backplane lets components be placed exactly where space is available. Removable terminal blocks are prewired so that no tools are needed to detach the terminal blocks from the electronic module for maintenance.

Modules communicate over the standard remote backplane connection, whether next to each other on the mounting rail, networked in the same switching cabinet, 100 m from other switching cabinets, or directly connected to other components. Each module is uniquely identified with an outside label and an embedded parameter chip. Software identifies each module on distributed networks. All components receive a unique mechanical code during production so that only components with identical voltage levels, same safety class, or application environment can be combined. Terminal blocks and base modules are also coded using standard labeling elements to eliminate connection errors.

The system features high immunity to electrical disturbances (EMC). A special attachment for terminals ensures efficient shielding termination. Diagnostics are fully integrated. In continuous operation, data are transferred quickly and transparently over any network to the higher-level systems without affecting system operations.

X20 fits into existing automation environments and is reportedly easy to maintain. Hot-plugging allows exchange of components during operation. Separation of terminal block, electronic module, and base module allows replacement of the smallest faulty element. All modules are available for one-, two-, and three-line connections. Enhancements for safety-oriented applications or hazardous and explosive environments are under development.


B&R Industrial Automation Group

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