Software extends motion control application into robots

Beckhoff Automation’s TwinCAT Robotic Control platform allows motion control and PLC functions on one PC platform. Video: Dr. Josef Papenfort explains the concept of TwinCAT, its initial development, plus some recent improvements.


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TwinCAT extends its standard machine sequencing and motion control capability to Delta- and SCARA-type robot mechanisms.In order to integrate robot control more deeply into its dyanamic PC-based software platform, Beckhoff Automation uses TwinCAT Kinematic Transformation software. With its current release, TwinCAT extends its standard machine sequencing and motion control capability to Delta- and SCARA-type robot mechanisms with a Kinematic Transformation option.  

This eliminates the need for a dedicated robot controller, with the associated software and handshaking routines, in applications that require a robot to handle part loading and unloading tasks. Since the robot control is in the same device that controls the larger manufacturing cell environment, the robot movements can be tightly coordinated with non-robotic motion such as conveyors and other moving mechanisms. The PC-based control platform from Beckhoff unites PLC, motion control, and robotics all on one multi-tasking hardware and software platform.

Beckhoff’s TwinCAT Kinematic Transformation software provides several key advantages:

• Eliminates need for a separate CPU for robot control
• Reduces engineering costs for configuration, parameterization, and diagnostics, and
• Provides higher performance and accuracy because of direct interfaces. Complex communication between separate CPUs is eliminated.

Edited by Peter Welander,

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