Drive programming software is an integrated programming environment
The most significant improvement to drive programming is the move to centralized programming platforms, such as TwinCAT 3 from Beckhoff Automation, which allows users to program an entire automated system rather than having to learn separate programming software only for drive programming. One-cable motors and drives further simplify installation.
Using a comprehensive PC-based software platform such as TwinCAT from Beckhoff, users can program drives as one part of the overall automation system instead of having to program them individually with a separate software platform.
TwinCAT (latest version is TwinCAT 3; CAT stands for control automation technology) automatically identifies devices on digital fieldbuses such as EtherCAT, including servo drives from multiple vendors. This adds another layer of time savings for engineers, which then translates into faster design times, more efficient commissioning, and faster time to market for machine builders and their customers. The all-in-one TwinCAT software platform permits the tuning of drives and other automation devices in the same system manager. TwinCAT also includes the possibility to program advanced motion functionality with specific libraries devoted to NC I, CNC, drive safety, and so on. Significant drive programming efficiencies can be created for any kind of drive application from simple to complex. Another cost- and time-saving benefit of TwinCAT is that once purchased, upgrades to the software platform are free from the Beckhoff website; there are no yearly contract renewals.
For more contextual details, also read Integrated programming environment includes drive programming software, which includes a photo of some Beckhoff Automation drives.
- Matt Lecheler is motion specialist at Beckhoff Automation; edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager CFE Media, Control Engineering, Plant Engineering, and Consulting-Specifying Engineer, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.