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Universal platform for both industrial and process automation tasks

22 October 2017

PC-based control from Beckhoff is now able to provide a universal platform that covers both industrial automation and process automation, through the integration of process-specific protocols and interfaces, and by offering an extended range of products for hazardous areas.

For example, full implementation of HART communication functionality has been integrated into its I/O system and into the TwinCAT engineering environment.

TwinCAT automation software can now help reduce development efforts in process technology because it facilitates the application of HART functions directly from the engineering interface. In this way, the TwinCAT FDT (Field Device Tool) container enables implementation of any field device drivers (Device Type Manager, DTM). An entire HART configuration can be implemented efficiently using a single tool.

The Beckhoff CommDTM integrates the TwinCAT platform into existing process control systems. With its help, the DTMs can be implemented in any FDT container. This applies to all field devices connected to the HART-capable EtherCAT Terminals. These devices can be configured and parameterised remotely without requiring direct PLC access. As a result, system operation is simplified. In addition, the Beckhoff OPC UA Server and Client enable secure global distribution of process data, as well as convenient system control and remote maintenance capabilities.

The new EtherCAT Terminals in the ELX series are also HART-capable. With intrinsically safe inputs/outputs, they enable the direct integration of field devices installed in hazardous areas, Zones 0, 1 or 2, into the automation system. The reduced wiring effort and associated space savings is said to result in an integrated, cost-effective solution for process applications.


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