With its emphasis on mechanical engineering and research, the PVSEC, which takes place this year for the 26th time, ranks among the most important global events for the photovoltaic industry. “As an automation company we aim to encounter our partners from the mechanical engineering industry here,” says Andreas Schulze, Photovoltaic Branch Manager at Beckhoff. At the PVSEC, Beckhoff will present its range of solutions based on robust and high-performance Industrial PCs, fieldbus components, Drive Technology and TwinCAT automation software, as well as EtherCAT, the real-time Ethernet system and XFC (eXtreme Fast Control), the high-speed machine control solution.
Renewable energy markets and associated industries are presently among the biggest growth drivers and constitute around 15 % of the total turnover of Beckhoff – with an upward trend. “Due to its high speed and precision, Beckhoff XFC technology is optimally suited to the photovoltaic production process, which is based on a multiplicity of machine modules. For example, not only do the solar cells have to be transported very rapidly in a classification station, but at the same time the classification must take place locally and be system-synchronous,” explains Andreas Schulze.
TwinCAT 3 extends the standard world of automation
TwinCAT 3, the new software generation from Beckhoff for PC-based control technology, will expand the world of automation through many functions. The use of Microsoft Visual Studio® as a framework now places the world-famous programming languages C/C++ at the programmer’s disposal alongside those of the IEC 61131-3 standard. In addition, the integration of Matlab®/Simulink® enables use in scientific fields, such as measurement technology or for the simulation of machines and plants. The runtime runs under harsh real-time conditions with the use of multi-core technology and the support of 32 or 64 bit operating systems.
Robots can also be mapped in software and integrated seamlessly into the PC controller with the “TwinCAT Kinematic Transformation” library. TwinCAT supports various parallel and serial kinematics, such as those used for pick-and-place tasks and for loading and unloading in automatic solar cell production lines.
Scalable servo milestone
With the new EL7201 EtherCAT servo terminal, Beckhoff presents a complete Servo Drive in the miniature format of a 12 mm terminal housing. The EL7201 is precisely tailored to the required performance for applications that require only low power, such as the transport of cells between the individual process steps. For the middle and upper performance range, the AX5000 Servo Drive series with outputs up to 118 KW provides a wide range of products, including the servomotors, for the most diverse application processes in the photovoltaic industry.
TwinCAT 3 for the photovoltaic industry: The new software generation from Beckhoff offers active multi-core support. Apart from control, visualisation, Motion Control, robotics, high-end measurement technology and safety technology, further functions can be integrated into the dynamic automation platform.