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.


TwinCAT software from Beckhoff Automation is an integrated programming environment for drive programming and other industrial devices. It works with multiple vendors’ hardware. Courtesy: Beckhoff AutomationUsing 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,  

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

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.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.