At the 2021 Hannover Messe virtual event, representatives of automation provider Beckhoff hosted a press conference in which they highlighted updates and new functionalities that have been added to several of Beckhoff’s products, including its Extended Transport System (XTS), XPlanar contactless mover system, and TwinCAT unified automation platform.
As a linear product transport system made up of individual movers distributed along configurable tracks, the XTS can accommodate many different types of products which may vary in shape and size and separate them into batches of one on the same line. Because each mover has its own motion profile, the XTS can decouple the overall product stream from individual processing stations to increase throughput. In other words, if one process station is running slowly, other items in the line do not need to stop to accommodate it as they would if they were sharing a single belt conveyor.
Software updates to the XTS allow a visual control layout to be generated from an existing XTS configuration for access via a human machine interface (HMI), said Uwe Prüßmeier, senior product manager of drive technology at Beckhoff. The visual display is automatically linked with parameters from the end-user’s application and can display the current position of all movers within a system to simplify diagnostics.
|Read more about Beckhoff's XTS and its use in hygienic applications.|
Like the XTS, the XPlanar system consists of separate movers that allow individual products to be transported as batches of one. However, rather than using motor modules to move along a track, the system employs planar movers that magnetically levitate above a tiled surface. By allowing for entirely free-form movement unimpeded by the limitations of a set track, the XPlanar system can facilitate more precise and flexible positioning of products, while also reducing wear and tear on the system itself.
Recent updates to the XPlanar system allow for 360 degree rotation of planar movers. This new functionality can be used to mix liquids via centrifugal force, rotate work pieces for additional processing, and engage in more precise inspection of products from various angles.
Because these new capabilities are software-based, they can be applied to existing systems without making any mechanical changes, according to Felix Schulte, product manager for XPlanar at Beckhoff.
|Learn more about the levitating action of the XPlanar material handling system.|
The TwinCAT Vision software, which allows Beckhoff’s TwinCAT 3 automation platform to engage in image processing applications, now features a control package that allows end-users to integrate its functionality into an HMI user-interface. The new image control capabilities enable an assortment of features, including: freezing of images for more detailed analysis of still captures; scaling and moving of images for more precise viewing; and displaying of graphics and image overlays to aid in positioning cameras and workpieces.
According to Josef Papenfort, Beckhoff senior product manager for TwinCAT, these new image control capabilities allow end-users to eliminate the process of coding such capabilities on their own, which would require extensive programming.
|Access more information about TwinCAT's integration of vision and processing capabilities.|