HVAC, HMI and integration platform for building automation based on Beckhoff PLC

Beckhoff Embedded-PC CX

Modular DIN rail Industrial PCs

With the Embedded PCs of the CX series, Beckhoff has combined PC technology and modular I/O level on a DIN rail unit in the control cabinet. The CX device series combines the worlds of Industrial PC and hardware PLC and is suitable for all performance control tasks. The modular system of the CX series can be configured to match the task in hand: by adding or omitting units and interfaces, only those components that the system actually requires are installed on the DIN rail in the control cabinet or terminal box. Installation space and costs are reduced.

The CX family covers the whole range of Beckhoff control technology in terms of both price and performance. This product range is designed for tasks requiring the characteristics and computing capacity of Industrial PCs, but whose budget does not stretch to full-blown Industrial PCs.

Scalable performance classes

The CX family includes several basic CPU modules with different processors for optimum adaptation to the respective control task. The following list gives an overview, sorted by CPU type and, within the group, in descending order of computing performance:

Devices with x86 CPU:

Devices with ARM CPU:

Apart from various CPUs, the individual CX types also have different system interfaces and power supply units. Via the associated I/O interfaces the Embedded PCs support Beckhoff Bus Terminals and also EtherCAT Terminals as I/O system.

A suitable CX controller is selected on the basis of the expected complexity and scope of the automation program. Decisive here is not just the clock frequency of the CPU, but a combination of many criteria. The main criteria apart from the clock frequency are the CPU architecture, the cache sizes, the type and size of the RAM, graphic controller etc. Changing from one CX CPU to another with a higher performance is, however, still possible even at a very late stage in the course of the project and can usually take place without any program modification.

The components

The individual system components of the CX series come as modules in standard widths of 19 mm or 22 mm, that can be connected in series. The basic unit for the CX2000 and CX10x0 series consists of a CPU module and a separate power supply module. The CX8000, CX9000, CX9010, CX9020, CX5000 and CX5100 devices integrate CPU and power supply in a single unit. Depending on the CX type, the controllers can be expanded through further system interfaces. The range of optional modules is complemented by fieldbus connections for PROFIBUS, CANopen, DeviceNet, SERCOS interface and Lightbus, both as master or slave versions.

In contrast to the other CX device families, the CX8000, CX9020, CX5100 and CX5000 series have a fixed, non-expandable number of system interfaces. The devices from the CX8000 series are mainly used as programmable fieldbus slaves, while both the CX9020 and CX5000/CX5100 offer an optional fieldbus master or slave interface in the multi-option interface.

The multi-option interface, a common feature of all second-generation CX devices (CX9020, CX5010, CX5020, CX5120, CX5130, CX5140, CX2020, CX2030 and CX2040), is an interface that can be configured ex factory with various signal types. These devices are also characterised by a further important feature: the automatic K-bus/E-bus detection enables the use of both types of I/O terminals without additional expenditure. EtherCAT integration offers a wide range of expansion capability. Further master/slave fieldbus connections or communication interfaces and all other signal types accessible via EtherCAT can be directly connected as EtherCAT Terminals.

The software

In combination with the TwinCAT 2 or TwinCAT 3 automation software, the CX Embedded PC becomes a powerful IEC 61131-3 PLC. Additionally, Motion Control tasks can also be executed. Depending on the required cycle time, it may be used to control several servo axes. With the CX1010, CX5000, CX5100, CX1020, CX1030 and CX2000 even special functions such as “flying saw”, “electronic gearbox” or “cam plate” can be realised. The CX thus becomes a controller that covers PLC, Motion Control and visualisation tasks with a single hardware. Under Windows CE, thanks to the real-time capability of the operating system, user tasks written in high-level languages can be processed in real-time in parallel with TwinCAT.

Wide range of applications

Due to the design and the features of an industrial PC control, the Embedded PCs can be used in a wide range of applications. Existing applications include mechanical engineering (automatic sawing machines, automatic assembly machines, paper cutting machines, screwdriver control, packing machines, sheet metal processing, handling equipment), process technology (water treatment, power generation, consumption logging), building services (room control, access control) and many more.