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Automation platform integrates motion with an industrial PC

23 November, 2014

Bosch Rexroth has combined a PLC-based motion logic system with a Windows PC, allowing machine-builders to run PC software on the same platform as real-time motion control. It says that the new IndraMotion MLC controller will open up new applications by integrating Web-based technologies, high-level languages, Ethernet-based communications and Windows applications.

The development also extends Rexroth’s software-based Open Core Engineering portfolio by adding an extra building block which bridges the gap between PLC and IT automation.

Until now, complex applications have usually been split between a PC which is used to capture and process data, and a separate automation controller. This increases system costs, while the data exchange between the two elements extends cycle times.

Bosch Rexroth says that the IndraMotion MLC ends this separation. It allows users to combine an IEC 61131-3 motion logic system, real-time motion functions and robotics, with applications running under the Windows 7 operating system. The two operating systems work independently of each other and exchange information rapidly. Depending on the application, the platform is claimed to increase computing speeds by up to 100% and can connect up to 99 servodrives via the Ethernet-based Sercos bus.

The control system opens up new possibilities for implementing Connected Industry architectures. The user can use both motion logic and Windows-based functions at the same time.

Rexroth's IndraMotion MLC combines an industrial PC with a real-time motion controller

Like other Rexroth IndraMotion controls, the PC-based version allows access to all key functions of the control system via high-level languages, through its Open Core Interface. So, for example, manufacturers of measuring machines can use NI’s LabView software to program their processes and to control motion using more than 550 Virtual Instruments, without needing to write any PLC code.

The system includes scalable firmware for motion logic applications. Predefined function toolkits, such as condition monitoring, can replace complicated programming with simple parameterisation.

Rexroth says that PLC-based engineering will be accelerated by using the IndraWorks integrated engineering environment which is based on open standards. The control system automatically takes into account the special characteristics of fluid technology and simplifies the implementation of electro-hydraulic drives.

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