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Industry 4.0: PC-based control solutions become the core technology of intelligent factories

日期: 2017-06-08
浏览次数: 107


Beckhoff's PC-based control technology provides an ideal toolbox for the Industrial 4.0 concept. It opens up a new way to achieve visionary ideas from cloud computing to social automation. In this interview, Dr. Ursula Frank and Dr. Josef Papenfort set out which basic technologies, functions and services are currently available, and where there is still a need for further development.


The German initiative "Industrial 4.0" aims to enhance the flexibility, efficiency and sustainability of manufacturing through communication and intelligent control to enhance the competitiveness of German industry. What is the contribution of PC-based control technology to this goal?


Dr. Josef Papenfort: The core of Industry 4.0 is the integration of information technology (IT) and automation technology (AT), and as early as 25 years ago, Beckhoff introduced its PC-based control technology, which continues to provide for future The ideal control architecture. By adopting global IT standards, we have further refined our automation technology with the best solution from the IT arena. This also applies to our TwinCAT 3 automation software, which has the modularity and object-oriented features needed to implement the industry 4.0 concept. In addition, integrating TwinCAT 3 into Microsoft Visual Studio® provides the ideal foundation for a consistent engineering environment throughout the product lifecycle, using the latest software engineering tools in the IT world. With the PC as a recognized technology platform, plus the Automated Device Specification (ADS), EtherCAT Automation Protocol (EAP) and OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA), Beckhoff has the user's ability to achieve vertical and horizontal integration required by Industry 4.0 All the resources.


Dr. Ursula Frank: On the one hand, Beckhoff is the basic technology needed to implement intelligent production facilities and intelligent factories based on the Industrial 4.0 strategy. On the other hand, it is becoming increasingly important - especially with the concept of industry 4.0 - the operation of the system is not only efficient, but also safe and reliable. This is also the great potential of the "technology automation" concept, which integrates measurement technology and status monitoring capabilities, and even monitors complex production systems. To explain, technology automation integrates the latest research results of various disciplines into automation technology, enabling us to build more reliable and more energy-efficient, inherently intelligent production systems. This will also require a new, intuitive interface that will allow humans to more easily complete their day-to-day work and be able to interact more effectively with intelligent devices. After all, Industrial 4.0 is not meant to put the human factor aside. Our multi-touch industrial panels make these new operational ideas possible.


Industrial 4.0 has been applied in real life? Do you need any additional development, if any?


Dr. Ursula Frank: There are already many end users, such as large kitchen manufacturers, who use Beckhoff technology to automate the entire system from receipt to delivery, including integrating them into ERP systems. Some of the initial solutions were developed in accordance with the concept of industry 4.0, for example, by providing a continuous communication environment across all layers to achieve an intelligent production environment. Needless to say, in the next few years, we will continue to develop our products and solutions in this direction.


Dr. Josef Papenfort: As part of TwinCAT 3, we are working to improve engineering functions, such as simpler communication capabilities and configuration, by providing additional functionality. In this case, it is also important to continue to develop common communication standards, such as those defined by the OPC Foundation and the PLCopen Association. Beckhoff is actively involved in these two standardization efforts. One of the goals is not only through the OPC UA or ADS and ERP system communication, but also directly in the PLC call and implement these methods. This will be the next step in the development of communication technology.


What is the significance of the openness of PC control technology to "Internet of Things"?






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