top of page

Integrated Test and Measurement Technology

Implement an end-to-end approach for everything from data acquisition to analysis using PC Control and EtherCAT technologies from Beckhoff

Measurement TwinCAT CX5120 ELM3xxx

Beckhoff enables the direct integration of high-quality measurement technology in new and existing automation systems whether in production machines, plants, test benches or anywhere else with controllers. Among many advantages, this approach reduces commissioning times and plant complexity. Engineers can now implement measurement technology and associated software in the same stations and eliminate previously required cross-communications.

The Beckhoff approach, unlike traditional methods, ensures that the entire measurement chain is covered, from the sensor to the data processing:

  • Sensors at the lowest hardware level connect to I/O modules in IP20 and IP67 form factors.

  • High-performance fieldbus systems such as EtherCAT and EtherCAT G transmit large amounts of data to the controller in synchronization.

  • TwinCAT software integrates an engineering environment, PLC, motion control, safety, visualization, communication and measurement technology in one platform. It supports local operation, on-premises or distributed to remote stations.

  • Modern cloud connectivity is already integrated in Beckhoff controllers, in the same way that any communication technology that has been implemented on PCs worldwide can be implemented on an Industrial PC.

EtherCAT: the network and I/O for measurement

The wide variety of Beckhoff I/O modules can connect with a wide range of sensors, including devices for force, pressure, temperature, speed, frequency, torque, measuring bridges, vibrations, current, voltage or other measurements. And we offer a range of form factors to fit all applications, from IP20-rated I/O terminals for control-cabinet installation to machine-mounted, IP67 EtherCAT Box modules. ELM3xxx EtherCAT measuring terminals, for example, provide plug-in-compatible metal housings that mount in a standard I/O segment on DIN rail.

With EtherCAT and EtherCAT G, Beckhoff delivers the optimal fieldbus for measurement technology. With 100-Mbit/s communication rates, EtherCAT meets the requirements for hundreds of channels with 24-bit resolution and oversampling, synchronous sampling, timestamp with nanosecond resolution and cable redundancy. EtherCAT G powers more data-intensive applications with a throughput of up to 10 Gbit/s. As a proponent of open technologies with gateways to more than 30 prominent communication protocols, Beckhoff also supports acquisition of measurement data through other fieldbus systems, such as EtherNet, DeviceNet, PROFINET, PROFIBUS and others.

TwinCAT: the automation software for measurement

Beckhoff measurement technology software is integrated into our standard TwinCAT 3 automation software. This functionality supports use on a local control PC or software for use in the cloud. As such, the same controls engineers that program machine control logic now have access to more advanced test and measurement capabilities in a familiar engineering and runtime environment. They also have the ability to then use the data in simulations to optimize efficiencies or new machine designs.

The TwinCAT software consists of the following modules:

  • TwinCAT 3 for engineering, PLC, motion control, safety, visualization, communication and measurement technology

  • TwinCAT Analytics: platform for in-process and post-process analysis

  • TwinCAT Power Monitoring for grid analysis

  • TwinCAT Condition Monitoring for signal evaluation

  • TwinCAT MATLAB®/Simulink®: integration of MATLAB®/Simulink® models and algorithms for standard automation technology

  • TwinCAT Connectivity the possibility to use cloud systems, data memories and third-party measurement software, such as LabView, based on open interfaces in TwinCAT

The measurement technology software in the cloud includes:

  • TwinCAT IoT for communication to various cloud systems via communication protocols such as OPC UA Pub/Sub, AMQP or MQTT

  • TwinCAT Analytics for the analysis of the complete process image of multiple machines in one central system for perfect data aggregation

  • TwinCAT Analytics Cloud Storage Provider for the simple connection of cloud storage services of various public cloud platforms

Getting started with Beckhoff measurement technology

For more information on how to implement fully integrated measurement in the Beckhoff platform, the following resources provide a great starting point:

Are you interested in optimizing your measurement capabilities with a comprehensive automation solution? Contact your local Beckhoff sales engineer today.

bottom of page