Distributed processing cuts I/O cycle times to 1µs
At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, the Austrian automation manufacturer B&R unveiled a technology which, it claims, can reduce industrial automation cycle times down to 1µs. It says that, until now, the fastest response times achieved in the field – from receiving an input signal to sending an output signal – have rarely been less than 100µs.
B&R suggests that its new reAction technology will allow extremely time-critical sub-processes to be managed using standard hardware – while meeting the requirements of IEC 61131. It will cut costs by reducing the load on the controller and optimising performance to match the demand. The result will be a significant improvement in performance at no extra cost.
Using the patent-pending technology, programs created in function block editors are executed directly on I/O modules, eliminating internal data transmission and allowing response times to be as quick as 1µs. The company’s Automation Studio 4 development environment is used to allocate software modules to the distributed hardware, where surplus logic capacity is harnessed.
Function block libraries can be stored locally on the modules and updated dynamically. These libraries can be executed on the I/O module like the command set for a microcontroller, allowing time-critical sub-processes to be implemented on standard hardware and eliminating the need for specialised modules – as well as reducing the load on both the network and the controller.
The technology will be available initially in IP20-protected digital I/O modules from B&R’s X20 series with four 24V DC inputs, and four 0.1A I/O. Another version will add two 12-bit analogue inputs.
There will also be an IP67-protected Powerlink bus controller (part of B&R’s X67 series) with two 24V DC digital inputs, three 5V DC digital inputs, two 0.4A digital I/O, two 12-bit analogue inputs and a 12-bit analogue output.