EC: TwinCAT 3
Software - Control design: Next generation PC-based control software that integrates standard IEC 61131-3 programming languages, C/C++, Visual Studio, Matlab/Simulink technologies and more. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice finalist.
With TwinCAT 3 and eXtended Automation Technology (XAT) from Beckhoff, dynamic PC-based control software is available that expands the potential of the standard automation world considerably. In addition to the object-oriented IEC 61131-3 extensions, the programming languages of the IT world are available in TwinCAT 3 via C and C++. Additionally, the integration of Matlab/Simulink facilitates a connection to scientific fields. All of this is possible in one flexible engineering environment.
The software modules can run in different languages within a common runtime. The advantage of this modularity is the improved reuse of modules once they have been written and tested. The runtime operates under demanding real-time conditions with the use of multi-core technology and the support of 32-bit or, in the near future, 64-bit operating systems.
eXtended Automation Architecture, the familiar features of TwinCAT 2, are continued in TwinCAT 3, with the eXtended Automation Architecture (XAA). In addition, all widely used fieldbuses will continue to be supported in the future. Motion control, from point-to-point movements to CNC, is still possible using XAA, of course.
Automation technology is also significantly expanded with the "Scientific Automation" themes already presented in TwinCAT, such as robotics, measurement technology and condition monitoring. New features include the possibility to use additional programming languages such as C/C++ and Matlab/Simulink.
eXtended Automation Engineering, the eXtended Automation Engineering environment (XAE) in TwinCAT 3 is essentially the widely used Microsoft Visual Studio platform. Alongside the already existing C/C++ languages, Beckhoff has also integrated the IEC 61131-3 programming standard into this globally-recognized development environment. As a result, the benefits and convenience of the IT framework are made available for automation.
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.