With Scalability+, B&R says it is establishing a new philosophy for scalability, creating opportunities for machine builders by making it possible to tailor an automation system directly to the needs of a specific machine, while reducing the need for engineering time. Engineers can select the hardware and software that best fits the project's automation needs - all without being forced to enter into any kind of commitment. If it becomes obvious during development that the components or systems need to be scaled up or down, this can be done at any time without losing any of the work that has already been done. All of this makes it possible for machine manufacturers to adapt automation systems directly to the needs of the machine without having to make compromises.
Many European machine builders face the problem of being squeezed into a middle ground of production batch sizes (typically 5-100), which offer the lowest level of productivity returns. Their customers demand a tailor-made system to boost their own competitiveness but require either a single machine or low quantities. In order to meet the end user needs, the machine builder needs to re-engineer the 'standard machine' in the shortest time, and with the minimum investment. With Scalability+ B&R can offer the machine builder the returns of a high-volume producer, with the individualisation of a special-purpose machine builder.
Scalable hardware systems have been discussed for many years and by many automation companies. What makes B&R Scalability+ more interesting is the engineered combination of hardware ranges with a single advanced software tool, Automation Studio 4.
Starting with hardware, B&R's already large range of controllers is now expanded with new ranges of Compact CPUs with onboard I/O. As with all X20 CPUs, additional I/O modules can be connected either locally or remotely using cables. These new compact controllers are being offered in a wide range of variants with different levels of performance and features. Each of these systems comes equipped with 32 built-in digital and analogue I/O channels and an x86 processor as standard features. Integrated Ethernet Powerlink, standard Ethernet, CAN, RS232 and USB interfaces are also available.
The compact X20 controllers are available with two different CPU frequencies: 200MHz and 400MHz. Depending on the variant, there is up to 256MB RAM and 16kB nonvolatile onboard RAM. All CPUs are equipped with Ethernet, USB and one RS232 interface. In both performance classes, integrated Powerlink and CAN interfaces are also available. If additional fieldbus connections are needed, all CPUs can be upgraded with an interface module from the standard X20 product portfolio. The CPUs do not require fans or batteries and are therefore maintenance-free.
Thirty different digital inputs and outputs and two analogue inputs are integrated in the devices. The new CPU product range is complemented by two variants with innovative, ultrafast reACTION technology. With this, the integrated I/O channels can be controlled with response times down to 1us using a function block library. Programming using the standard FBD editor in the B&R Automation Studio development environment is fully compliant with IEC 61131.
With regard to visualisation, B&R has further extended its range with a major new launch of two new additions to its successful Power Panel HMI family: Power Panel T-Series terminals and Power Panel C-Series controllers, both featuring touch screens. Equipped with an embedded browser, the Power Panel T30 terminal is web-compatible and can even be used as a VNC client. The terminal series is being offered with four TFT display sizes ranging from 4.3inch to 10.1inch and comes with two Ethernet interfaces, two USB ports and an extensive array of configuration options.
The Power Panel C70 controller is equipped with a 333MHz Intel Atom CPU, 256MB DDRAM, 16kB FRAM and 2GB onboard flash EEPROM memory. This controller provides a built-in touch screen and is being offered in three display sizes ranging from 5.7inch to 10.1inch. In addition to achieving cycle times as low as 1ms, the Power Panel C70 also features Powerlink and standard Ethernet, two USB 2.0 and X2X Link technology as well as optional RS232, RS485 and CAN connections to offer a wide range of possibilities for peripheral devices.
Both of these product ranges add to an already large range of controllers and visualisation products which would more than meet the needs of the most advanced machine builder. These, in conjunction with scalable ranges of motion control and safety systems, would be impressive enough; however, with a single software tool for all products - Automation Studio 4 - the Scalability+ concept opens up new possibilities. B&R says it has elevated software design efficiency to a new level, enabling engineering processes to be implemented efficiently and effectively.
The B&R Scalability+ approach provides optimal support for creating modular machines with all of their variants and options. Machine builders can develop reusable function modules that can be simply pulled in and out of machines at the design stage. Depending on the performance demands of the end customer, hardware can be selected from a wide range of components to produce cost-effective matched systems. This is enhanced by using open standards for real-time communication between modules to produce matched control systems to minimise development time and maximise machine builder's profitability.
For further information about Scalability+ please go to www.br-automation.com.