The Right Fit: C60xx IPCs Meet Compact Form Factor Requirements
From adding IIoT gateways in an existing cabinet to robust control mounted on the machine, Beckhoff fills the gaps with our scalable, customizable Industrial PC portfolio
If you talk about Industrial PCs (IPCs) with people as often as I do, then you know there are wildly different expectations for what they should look like. Some expect the controllers to appear just like traditional hardware PLCs with all of the same form factor constraints, but better processors, memory and OS options. Others picture the massive rack-mount IPCs that started to appear in the ’90s. No matter where folks fell on that continuum, many never envisioned hardware like the ultra-compact C60xx IPC series from Beckhoff.
Introduced in 2016, this family of scalable PC-based controllers today offers extreme flexibility in form factor and mounting options. As with all other Beckhoff IPCs, we carefully crafted these controllers in-house to guarantee every consideration – scalable chip sets, many customization options and even the BIOS – would provide an industrial-hardened solution for customers. Once you add the competitive price points, the C60xx series is not only a unique design concept, but also indispensable tool set.
The series began with the C6015, which measures just 82 x 82 x 40 mm. This IPC features a fanless design with a heat sink, and it can be oriented in any direction on three different mounting bracket types, including standard against the back of the panel, flat mount or DIN rail options. Along with a ruggedized, industrial housing, the C6015 has proven itself as an ideal machine controller or IIoT gateway in wide-ranging applications around the world. And its success led Beckhoff to grow the C60xx line.
The C6030 came next. This IPC increased interface options to four Ethernet adapters, four USB 3.0 ports and two DisplayPort interfaces, and it added a fan for active cooling of the expanded computing hardware. Like the C6015, C6030 provides flexible mounting to the rear of the cabinet in any orientation while still cutting space requirements by up to 90% compared to controllers with similar power.
While the C6015 and C6030 meet the needs of many applications, our IPC product team at Beckhoff still noticed some gaps and continued to add more options to meet these needs. Often this included adding more interfaces, so we released the C6017 and C6032, which essentially take the C6015 and C6030, respectively, and provide additional Ethernet or other ports.
Then we created an additional performance level with the C6025 as well as its counterpart C6027, which offers the option of either six additional Ethernet ports or a 1-second UPS. These deliver the fanless design, slimmer profile and three mounting options of the C6015/17 with a height similar to the C6030/32. Because the C6025/27 fall in between those two performance levels, they can serve as main controllers for more advanced machines or as higher-end gateways, especially with the greater number of Ethernet ports on the C6027.
So far, we have filled one more gap – mounting directly on the machine outside of cabinets. Beckhoff has already increased machine builders’ options for cabinetless design with solutions like EtherCAT P, machine-mountable EtherCAT Box modules, distributed servo drive systems and Control Panel and Panel PCs rated for harsh environments. The need to add a machine controller that could reach this protection level led us beyond the C60xx series entirely. We designed and built the C7015 IPC, which is similar in terms of performance and mounting flexibility but with the necessary IP65/67 rating to ditch the cabinet completely.
All of these developments focused on real-world needs of customers, and we plan to continue evolving our offerings with even more granularity to meet requirements from the field. However, the C60xx series and C7015 have already greatly changed how many people view IPC hardware today. With each component’s high degree of mounting flexibility, they offer the right fit for your machines.
Want to learn more about the flexible mounting options of the C60xx IPC series and C7015? Contact your local Beckhoff sales engineer today.
Eric Reiner is the IPC Product Manager for Beckhoff Automation LLC.