Products use mechatronic design for manufacturing systems

Beckhoff Automation XTS modular linear motion control system integrates with industrial PC, TwinCAT 3, and delta-robot doing pick and place.


Beckhoff's XTS drive system combines rotary and linear systems for mechanical engineers. Courtesy: BeckhoffTo condense the Beckhoff Automation architecture to its simplest form, we promote one controller, one network, and one software platform across one system architecture. We call this “The Power of One,” where Beckhoff can integrate high-performance PLC, motion control, safety, communications, and robotics on an IPC (industrial PC) or embedded PC. The XTS (eXtended Transport System) from Beckhoff Automation is the kind of mechatronic advancement that takes full advantage of more powerful PC-based controllers and one architecture. A machine equipped with XTS would leverage one standard controls architecture (PC-based control), one software platform (TwinCAT 3), and one network (EtherCAT).

XTS combines linear motor technology on a continuous motion track that consists of straight and curved track segments allowing the machine designer to configure topologies that suit numerous applications. The XTS track is like an inverse linear motor and is specially engineered for multiple carriers; each mover’s position is controlled individually and can be adjusted with great precision on the fly.

XTS is supplied by either a 24 V dc or 48 V dc bus. Forces of 30 N continuous and 100 N peak per mover are possible. The movers have positioning accuracies of +/-25 µm at 1.5 m/s and a positioning repeatability of less than 10 µm at mover standstill. Movers have a maximum speed of 4 m/s at 48 V dc supply voltage.

TwinCAT 3 from Beckhoff abstracts the complex underlying control principles in XTS, which enables the controls engineer to program against the movers’ absolute position. At Hannover Fair 2013, Beckhoff paired a delta-style pick-and-place robot system with the high-speed mechatronic XTS solution, running the automation software on one industrial PC.

- Matt Lecheler is motion specialist at Beckhoff Automation. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering,


Read "Mechatronics: Electromechanical manufacturing systems" to learn more application details below 

Beckhoff Automation YouTube video of the XTS at 2013 Hannover Fair (about 30 sec into the video)

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