Report from Hannover: New Beckhoff automation hardware, software

At Hannover Fair (April 20-24, 2009), Beckhoff introduced several new products, including an expansion to its AX5000 servo drive series; software that integrates robotics, motion control, and PLC; and a condition monitoring terminal. The company also previewed the upcoming release of a PC-based safety PLC.


Hannover, Germany– At Hannover Fair (April 20-24, 2009), Beckhoff introduced several new products, including an expansion to its AX5000 servo drive series; software that integrates robotics, motion control, and PLC; and a condition monitoring terminal. The company also previewed the upcoming release of a PC-basedsafety PLC.
Drive series expansion Beckhoff AX5000 servo drive series
The AX5000 servo drive series from Beckhoff has been expanded to include six new servo drives with higher rated currents for dynamic positioning tasks.
The AX5000 series from Beckhoff integrates high-end control technology while supporting fast and highly dynamic positioning tasks. The drives use EtherCAT to interface with PC-based control technology. This new introduction supplements the AX51xx series with servo drives rated from 60 to 170 A. The AX5000 drives are designed in three sizes with rated currents of 60 A, 72 A, 90 A, 110 A, 143 A and 170 A. Motors of different sizes and types, including synchronous, linear, torque, and asynchronous motors, can be connected to these drives. The multi-feedback interface supports all common standards.

Robotics, motion control and PLC on one platform

Beckhoff also showcased the TwinCAT Kinematic Transformation software, designed for the integration of robots (delta kinematics, SCARA) as well as their interaction and synchronization with existing motion control functions. This means, according to Beckhoff, that additional robot CPUs are no longer necessary. The PC-based controller is said to unite PLC, motion control, and robotics all on one hardware and software platform.
Other benefits to this software cited by Beckhoff includes:

  • Reduction in engineering costs via configuration, parameterization, and diagnostics in one system;

  • No friction losses due to the interaction of various CPUs for PLC, motion and robotics; and

  • Higher performance and accuracy due to direct interfaces, meaning that complex communication between CPUs is no longer required.

The software is based on TwinCAT NC I and G-Code (DIN 66025). The target coordinates are programmed in the Cartesian coordinate system. The Kinematic module handles conversion to the associated motor position (reverse transformation). In addition, the dynamic model for torque pre-control can be calculated.

Condition monitoring

Beckhoff L3632 EtherCAT Terminal

The EL3632 EtherCAT Terminal is said to enable the direct connection of various accelerometers via an integrated electronics piezoelectric or integrated circuit piezoelectric interface. These sensors are used to record vibrations in a machine, bearing or motor so that, by means of analysis, wear and damage can be detected before a breakdown occurs, avoiding unplanned downtime or prolonged maintenance intervals.

On location at Hannover Fair

Control Engineering editorial director David Greenfield, Consulting-Specifying Engineer editor Michael Ivanovich, and Plant Engineering editor Bob Vavra will be reporting from Hannover Messe this week on the new ideas and new technologies from the 2009 event.
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The data is recorded by the standard I/O system and made available to the PC controller. The measurement signals are evaluated on the PC using a TwinCAT library or user software. Adjustable filters and supply currents for matching various sensors enable user-specific adaptation of the condition monitoring terminal.
PC-based safety preview
Beckhoff also announced the coming availability of a PC-based safety PLC. Since 2003, the safety solution TwinSAFE has been supporting the integration of safety related functions into the automation system via flexible bus terminals. The company will now integrate the Safety PLC function into the PC. The launch of this new technology is scheduled for the end of 2009.
The new product will consist of software, which allows safe processing of safety functions, to be integrated into the TwinCAT system. For safe communication between the Industrial PC with the Safety PLC and TwinSAFE components (safety inputs/outputs, safety-related drives, safety sensors), the Safety over EtherCAT protocol is used.
- David Greenfield , editorial director, Control Engineering ; edited by Mark T. Hoske , editor in chief, News Desk,

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