At the SPS/IPC/Drives event in Nuremberg, Germany, last fall, I received my first full explanation of Beckhoff Automation’s “many-core machine control” approach as described by Beckhoff Automation's Stefan Hoppe. The concept involves the use of Beckhoff’s TwinCAT software to leverage multiple processors in one server to power various automation tasks simultaneously.
Beckhoff Automation has now released its C6670 industrial server for use as the central server for the TwinCAT software. The company notes that this is the first industrial server it has ever offered. The C6670 is a PC-based server that can be equipped with 12, 24, or 36 processor cores, and its memory can be expanded from 64 GB up to 2 TB.
Using the TwinCAT 3.1 software, Beckhoff says it is possible to use all available processor cores in the C6670 server by intelligently distributing individual control tasks among them, such as PLC logic, motion control, CNC, advanced measurement, condition monitoring, and visualization as well as powering multiple fieldbus systems. In addition to computationally intensive control applications, Beckhoff says the C6670 can also be used in complex applications such as highly articulated robotics and advanced image processing.
Designed for control cabinet installation, the C6670 server incorporates two Intel Xeon processors—each with 6, 12, or 18 cores—working together on a motherboard with two Gigabit Ethernet controllers and a graphics card. In addition to the available 2 TB DDR4 RAM, the server has four PCIe x16 Gen III slots, one PCIe Gen III x 8 slot and one PCIe Gen II x 4 slot for multiple interface cards.
The video below features Beckhoff Automation’s Stefan Hoppe explaining the company’s multi-core, centralized approach to automation.