The power of three
Beijer Electronics made a clear technology choice in basing its new automation products on three key technologies – the automation software CODESYS, the Ethernet-based fieldbus EtherCAT and the self-developed iX HMI software. So why was this decision made? And what power does it give customers in the short and long terms?
Per Kronvall, Senior Product Specialist at Beijer Electronics, points out several clear advantages with this selection of technology. There’s the individual strength of each technology and the concept of combining technologies in the same product wherever possible and thereby creating the opportunity to provide a range of products that defines new market standards and fully suit customer requirements.
One advantage, /strength/ you can combine several technologies in one hardware…. is the individual strength of the technology and other advantages results of the combination of the technology.
And then there’s the favorable price, reduced number of hardware components and the saving of time during commissioning of the systems.
“By using CODESYS, we now have the ability to integrate a software-based control in our iX HMI panels at a very reasonable cost” he explains.Freedom and flexibility
Wanting advanced technologies that are easy to use is a clear trend in today’s automation market, according to Per Kronvall.
“With open, well established softwares that work well together, you can constantly add and combine new functionality. When many users contribute to the development, the technology enjoys a fast rate of progress. The products become sharper, quicker” Per Kronvall assures.
It is precisely this freedom and flexibility in the development process that’s so appealing. It is in line with the philosophy Beijer Electronics have had regarding the development of their own iX HMI software based on Microsoft’s .NET technology. The openness of the software means that in addition to standard functionality, iX also enables standard C# scripting and the use of third-party components among other things.
Both CODESYS and EtherCAT are well-established and proven solutions that are constantly evolving and that combine favorable price with high performance.
When it comes to communication, the open Ethernet-based fieldbus EtherCAT is able to support a wide range of applications. It lives up to the high performance requirements demanded, for example, by multi-axis interpolating real-time CNC applications. And at the same time, the price range makes it justifiable to use EtherCAT even in non-time-critical applications.
Technology without limitations
The hardware- independent automation software CODESYS, conforms to the the IEC 61131-3 standard, provides a modern programming interface that many engineers feel comfortable with. It is modern and there’s a significant knowledge-base on the market. In addition, the software has few limitations.
“You can take advantage of third-party development and utilize ideas from other CODESYS-based projects” explains Per Kronvall, who believes that those who come from a more proprietary world will be impressed by the freedom.
“In proprietary solutions for example, you often need to install additional software to get the systems to work. With CODESYS, you can develop everything from simple to advanced applications with one and the same programming tool, at the same time as having several different hardware platforms to choose from.”
Choosing open technologies gives customers freedom. Beijer Electronics develops and chooses hardware to create optimal applications that are both flexible and scalable. And by being close to suppliers, as well as being able to combine multiple technologies in the same product, it’s possible to cut prices and take a wider responsibility towards customers
A powerful trinity
Beijer Electronics has deliberately chosen three cutting-edge technologies which are well proven with a widely expanding use around the world. This assures a place at the forefront of global development and avoids finding oneself in the wake of others.
“We have chosen three very competent technologies without limitations. We make sure that they work well together” concludes Per Kronvall, pledging that customers that choose CODESYS, EtherCAT and iX are making the right choice on so many levels.