EC: TwinCAT 3.1
As a continuation of the company’s next generation PC-based control software, Beckhoff Automation has announced the release of TwinCAT 3.1 with new features for eXtended Automation. One of the core concepts of eXtended Automation involves the convergence of automation with the domain of IT and computer science. A key update with TwinCAT 3.1 is support of 64-bit operating systems and the Microsoft Windows 8 operating system. Support of IEC 61131-3 programming languages, object-oriented programming (OOP), C/C++ and Matlab/Simulink is continued and provides numerous optional tools to the TwinCAT programmer.
Another highlight in TwinCAT 3.1 is the possibility to reserve individual CPU cores of a multi-core processor exclusively for TwinCAT. This feature, known as CPU Isolation, gives the full performance of the reserved cores solely to TwinCAT.
A step toward simplifying and advancing TwinCAT is the integration into Visual Studio, making use of the most widely used IDE in the world. TwinCAT 3.1 can be used with the current release of Visual Studio 2012 or Visual Studio 2010. TwinCAT 3.1 also provides a method to use C and C++ inside the TwinCAT real time kernel and provides deterministic cyclic access to field inputs and outputs as well as cyclic access to variables in the traditional IEC 61131-3 languages.
The integration of TwinCAT into Visual Studio also offers the option to use familiar source control techniques used by the IT world. In addition to saving and backing up source code, source control is increasingly used for revision control. Comparison tools are available in TwinCAT 3.1 for displaying the differences between the versions and it is possible to view which nodes have been modified. If a difference is detected, more details can be made visible by a double click. The comparisons are available in all IEC 61131-3 languages.