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At Pack Expo, Running the Gamut from Automation to HMI to IIoT

Sept. 22, 2017
Beckhoff Automation promotes control-hardware consolidation by advancing powerful PC-based control technology.

The Beckhoff Automation booth (S-6302) will be the center of automation technology (AT) and IT convergence at Pack Expo 2017 in Las Vegas. The comprehensive Beckhoff system architecture for packaging machine automation promotes control hardware consolidation by advancing powerful PC-based control technology.

This approach takes the best from AT and IT, making the most powerful tools available to engineering teams in one universal environment. All the benefits from the early days of this effort remain from the integration of PLC, motion control and HMI, while adding other high value functions for robotics, safety, high-end measurement, condition monititoring, and of course, cloud connectivity and IoT.

North America’s premier packaging industry event, Pack Expo takes place Sept. 25-27 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Visitors to the Beckhoff booth will again be able to “BYOD,” using their own smartphones and tablets to connect with PC-based control demos—including a wall of IoT-enabled devices, plus articulated robot arms from Stäubli—using any mobile device with a web browser. Cloud connectivity will be a connecting thread throughout the Beckhoff booth and in machine builder booths, such as groninger USA (N-107).

Additional Smart Factory solutions will factor heavily throughout the Beckhoff booth, such as One Cable Automation via EtherCAT P, which integrates the previously separate power and signal lines into a single, standard 4-wire Ethernet cable. The latest motor and drive solutions with One Cable Technology (OCT) will also be shown in the form of demos and test stands for hands-on evaluation.

HMI Software in the Spotlight

A key highlight at PACK EXPO 2017 will be TwinCAT HMI, a new HMI software platform from Beckhoff for visualizations that can dynamically scale to suit the screen formats of industrial displays and any mobile device with a web browser. Based on leading web technologies such as HTML5 and JavaScript, TwinCAT HMI allows the user to develop platform-independent user interfaces that are “responsive,” meaning they automatically adapt to the screen resolution, size, and orientation of the device at hand. With the graphical WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) editor, controls can be easily arranged via drag-and-drop and linked with real-time variables. TwinCAT HMI is extensible on all levels. Mixing standard controls with custom design elements makes designing your own dynamic, mobile-ready HMI easy.

Cloud Connectivity Optimizes Packaging Operations

Beckhoff has machine builders and manufacturers covered whether they need to gather and store process data, integrate condition monitoring, or implement track-and-trace functions in packaging machinery. With TwinCAT IoT and TwinCAT Analytics, packaging machines directly benefit from Industrie 4.0 and IoT applications. Engineering efficiency is greatly increased because the software packages share the same universal platform as all other packaging machine programming tools from Beckhoff, including PLC, motion control, safety, HMI, robotics/kinematics and much more.

High-End Measurement Technology

The new ELM series EtherCAT I/O modules feature metal housings that optimize shielding and cooling in measurement technology applications. At the same time, the durable housings provide enhanced flexibility at the interface level, such as for LEMO or BNC plug connectors or for the well-established cage clamps, as a quickly customizable and standard solution. Measurement accuracy of 100 ppm at 23°C, precise sub-1 μs synchronization, 24-bit resolution, and a high sampling rate of up to 50,000 samples per second guarantee high-quality data acquisition.

The Smallest Industrial PC

The new C6015 Industrial PC (IPC) opens up application areas for PC-based control technology, especially those with pronounced cost or space restraints. Fully suited to industrial applications, this IPC measures just 82 x 82 x 40 mm, demonstrating the extensive scalability of PC-based control technology from Beckhoff. The Microsoft Azure Certified C6015 is ideal for machine control and IIoT applications. Powerful Intel Atom processors are available, including those with multi-core technology up to 4 Cores. Price savings of approximately 25% also place the device well below the previously least expensive x86 IPCs from Beckhoff. These features facilitate highly cost-effective implementation of automation, visualization and system-wide communication in small- and mid-size applications with a minimal device footprint. As a result, the space-saving device opens up areas of use where PC-based control technology has not been used thus far, or where motherboards must be integrated as expensive, custom solutions.

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