Virtual camshaft reduces automation costs and synchronises drives

Assembly Automation

ISSN: 0144-5154

Article publication date: 1 September 2000




(2000), "Virtual camshaft reduces automation costs and synchronises drives", Assembly Automation, Vol. 20 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Virtual camshaft reduces automation costs and synchronises drives

Virtual camshaft reduces automation costs and synchronises drives

Keywords: Cost-effectiveness, Automation, Control systems

Hayes Control Systems is launching a new version of the proven Beckhoff TwinCAT PC software system for PLC and NC motion control, which incorporates a new virtual camshaft facility. Designed to replace mechanical mainshafts or external drive regulators with a single software module, TwinCAT is suitable for a wide range of automation applications, such as the control of machining centres, transfer lines, presses and packing machines.

TwinCAT NC PTP incorporates the virtual camshaft facility as part of an integrated process control package for industrial PCs running Windows NT. The software provides significant cost and performance benefits by eliminating the need for external hardware, communication and data transfer components and simplifying project management and implementation.

In practice, the latest TwinCAT software allows up to 255 axes to be co-ordinated and synchronised via a computer using a single leading axis, whether this takes the form of a real axis, an extended position encoder or is represented virtually within the PC.

To ensure each application will reach optimal performance, each TwinCAT NC PTP system is supplied with freely scalable tables, which have been designed specifically to meet the individual process requirements and provide the connecting link between the leading axis and all of the other performance parameters that are to be co-ordinated. The values in these tables, together with the movement of the leading axis, describe the velocity, acceleration and deceleration of the drives to be controlled, which enables them to be synchronised with a high degree of precision.

For further flexibility, the new TwinCAT Camshaft Software also features a simulation facility, which enables operators to investigate the performance of each automated process using a highly realistic model and to modify system parameters online, where required.

A free 30-day trial of the latest TwinCAT software can be obtained on our Web site or on CD from Lucie Thaxter, Hayes Control Systems Ltd, The Boat House, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. RG9 1AZ. Tel: +44 (0) 1491 410539; Fax: +44 (0) 1491 577267; E-mail: Web site:

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