February 4, 2021 – During MODEX 2020, Beckhoff Automation will present automation technologies for material handling and intralogistics applications from March 9 – 12 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The smart distribution center solutions will include the North American debuts of the EP7402 controller for motor-driven roller (MDR) conveyors, TwinCAT/BSD alternative operating system (OS) for Beckhoff PC-based controllers and C6025 ultra-compact Industrial PC (IPC). The eXtended Transport System (XTS) will also make its MODEX debut at the Beckhoff booth (4026).
Beckhoff will launch a motion control solution for intralogistics: the EP7402 MDR controller. The IP67-rated EtherCAT Box module controls motors on roller conveying systems with multiple zones. Measuring 174 mm x 60 mm x 36.5 mm, the MDR controller will work to reduce equipment footprint and help minimize warehouse space requirements.
The EP7402 also uses the EtherCAT P standard: a B23 hybrid connection combines EtherCAT communication with 24 V DC at 30A to support up to 16 MDR controllers before refreshing power. The solution supports the integration of TwinSAFE, the Safety over EtherCAT (FSoE) solution from Beckhoff, in the same architecture.
For flexibility, the XTS, a linear transport solution from Beckhoff, moves products individually. The modular system works to optimize high-speed material handling applications that require clamping and moving products, integration with robotics in real-time via EtherCAT and gapping and synchronization of product flows. XTS movers ensure traceability from pick to drop. Changeovers occur via TwinCAT..
An update for the PC-based automation platform is the introduction of TwinCAT/BSD as an alternative OS for Beckhoff controllers. For intralogistics, TwinCAT/BSD combines the TwinCAT realtime with FreeBSD — an open-source, secure, Unix-based operating system used by industrial and consumer technology vendors. Many Linux applications used in intralogistics can be ported to this OS, including execution of native Linux binaries. Engineering in Visual Studio still occurs on standard Windows PCs or via web browsers using TwinCAT Cloud Engineering, and support of Windows-based systems will continue.
Also on display will be TwinCAT Vision software, an integrated image processing solution that enables Industrie 4.0 concepts, real-time synchronization, track-and-trace and quality optimization. TwinCAT Vision leverages GigE cameras on diverse machines and lines without requiring separate, third-party vision systems or programming by outside experts. The universal TwinCAT engineering environment and runtime permit vision system programming and implementation using languages familiar to controls engineers.
Increasing its IoT and smart distribution center offerings, Beckhoff will display TwinCAT Analytics and HTML5-enabled TwinCAT HMI for industrial displays and mobile devices. In addition, Beckhoff will showcase how TwinCAT Speech can streamline order picking with fulfilment systems and AGVs. With these fully integrated solutions, TwinCAT offers an end-to-end software platform complete with PLC, motion control, robotics, high-end measurement technology and machine learning that is suited to material handling.
For PC-based control hardware, the C60xx IPC line will return with the C6025. This fanless machine controller has Intel Core i U processors and measures 82 x 127 x 40 mm. C6025 extends the Microsoft Azure-certified family of Beckhoff IPCs that encompasses the C6015 to C6032, which are all suited for mid-range to complex machine control, vision applications and as edge computing or IoT gateway devices to all major cloud platforms, including Amazon Web Services (AWS).
To boost data throughput in distribution centers, Beckhoff has combined the fundamental principles of EtherCAT with Gigabit speeds. EtherCAT G and EtherCAT G10 extend standard EtherCAT to communication rates of 1 Gbit/s and 10 Gbit/s, respectively, while conforming with the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard. A branch controller model enables parallel operation of standard 100 Mbit/s segments with Gigabit branches. This expands the system that includes I/O modules, including IP67 and IP69K form factors, and integrated functional safety.