Beckhoff to Present Adaptive Automation for Intelligent Warehouses at ProMat 2023

Breakthrough solutions in software, EtherCAT, mechatronics and machine control will be key highlights, alongside a preview of the MX-System, a cabinet-less, pluggable control platform ideal for intralogistics

Beckhoff will be showcasing the latest adaptive automation technologies for the intralogistics industry at ProMat 2023. Top highlights at Beckhoff booth S1541 include the intelligent mechatronic systems, XPlanar and the eXtended Transport System (XTS) now with No Cable Technology (NCT), and the TwinCAT /BSD alternative operating system (OS) for Beckhoff controllers. A preview of the MX-System, the emerging hardware platform for completely caseless machine design, will also be on display at the March 20-23 show at the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago.

A variety of hands-on demos will allow visitors to the Beckhoff stand to learn about the latest in machine control, IoT and analytics, EtherCAT networking and integrated safety. Beckhoff’s fully integrated and flexible automation and IoT portfolio helps engineers address a variety of intralogistics applications to build the data-driven warehouses of tomorrow today.

Intelligent transport systems enable adaptive automation

Proven in thousands of applications worldwide, XTS helps equipment manufacturers rethink how to solve complex material handling challenges. XTS delivers high dynamics, software-based switching and dramatic footprint reductions. On its ProMat debut, the new NCT extension provides contactless, continuous power and synchronous real-time data transfer to XTS movers. The system can now integrate a variety of end effectors and driven devices for processing, material handling or inspection tasks directly on the wireless mover during operation. NCT retains the compact design of XTS, uses ultra-fast EtherCAT communication and is fully integrated into TwinCAT 3 automation software.

The XPlanar “flying motion” system delivers unbeatable competitive advantages with magnetically levitating movers. With an adaptive automation approach, XPlanar can fundamentally change the way equipment manufacturers approach material handling and robotic tasks to disrupt their industry segments. The system increases throughput and flexibility and features zero friction, automatic collision avoidance, path planning, anti-sloshing, 360-degree rotation and zero system wear, among other features. The base tiles can also be covered with stainless steel, glass or plastic for hygienic distribution and fulfillment environments, such as meal kits, health product subscriptions or pharmaceuticals, to name a few.

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PC-based control benefits, now without Windows

The TwinCAT/BSD OS continues to achieve great success in intralogistics applications. TwinCAT/BSD not only offers an alternative to Windows, but also offers the security of a modern UNIX-like operating system, a choice of a wide range of powerful CPUs and all the benefits of Beckhoff machine control technologies. The solution runs seamlessly on Beckhoff controllers as a non-Windows operating system in combination with TwinCAT’s universal engineering environment and deterministic runtime.

Building on the existing advantages of the Beckhoff operating architecture, the TwinCAT/BSD environment supports the execution of third-party software from the large FreeBSD repository. The new Hypervisor extends this capability further by enabling virtual machines to run third-party software in Linux, Windows, or other OS environments on the same controller. Continuing the existing benefits of the TwinCAT automation platform, individual tasks can be performed in separate cores of a multi-core processor.

The future of intralogistics is cabinetless with MX-System

In another ProMat first, Beckhoff highlights an emerging technology for comprehensive, IP67-certified machine control: MX-System. Every square foot is valuable in a distribution business, but electrical boxes eat up limited floor space, increase installation effort, increase costs, and eliminate system flexibility. Freeing up this wasted space has long been a priority for Beckhoff, with innovations such as EtherCAT P, the AMP8000 distributed servo system and the C7015 ultra-compact industrial PC (IPC), an IP65/67 machine controller. MX-System now brings into view a truly cabinet-less solution for complete machine control and system engineering. The ProMat sneak peek shows how the MX system can handle all the tasks and requirements of a machine’s control cabinet in a space-saving design.

Automation solutions for the smart warehouse of tomorrow

Visitors to the Beckhoff booth can explore the extensive, feature-rich New Automation Technology portfolio. From servo solutions of all sizes to MDR controllers to comprehensive EtherCAT I/O and inherently scalable machine control hardware, Beckhoff delivers a fully integrated, flexible automation platform to optimize intralogistics equipment and operations.

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