TwinCAT (The Windows Control and Automation Technology) is a suite of automation tools and components for use in industrial control systems, developed by Beckhoff Automation. The TwinCAT solution provides instruments to turn almost any PC-based system into fully-fledged SCADA, supporting real-time control and integrations with various types of controllers and robotics runtime systems.
Thanks to our flexible input APIs, Clarify can be easily connected to TwinCAT-based systems, providing a cost-efficient and simple way of getting value from the time series data collected by your industrial automation platform.
Clarify makes it easy to visualize time series data from your IoT network, access it on web and mobile devices, as well as sharing data to other people. With Clarify, your organization can focus on key business goals instead of configuring dashboards or developing expensive custom solutions.
Beckhoff Automation traces its history back to 1953, which is when Arnold and Elisabeth Beckhoff founded Elektro Beckhoff, a small electrician business and retail store with goods related to consumer electronics, in Verl, a town in Germany. By 1980, the business had grown to roughly 25 employees and became the largest electrical retail business in Verl. That same year Arnold Beckhoff, the founder of the company, got ill and died at the age of 56. His widow Elisabeth Beckhoff turned the business over to their children—Hans, Arno, Marlies and Michael—who managed it together as Elektro Beckhoff GmbH.
During this time the Beckhoff company started to develop and manufacture products and solutions based on innovative PC-based control technologies. Initially, the company specialized in control systems for window manufacturing and woodworking machines. Its first controllers were released in 1985; Beckhoff bus terminals were launched in 1995.
Over the years, the company has expanded into other geographical regions and became Beckhoff Automation Group, with Beckhoff Automation GmbH & Co. KG, based in Verl, as the main parent company. In total, all businesses that are part of Beckhoff Automation Group employ over 4,500 people in more than 40 companies around the globe.
Besides the parent company, Beckhoff Automation Group also includes six main business entities: Beckhoff Automation (manages Beckhoff international sales and distribution), Smyczek GmbH (provides electronics manufacturing services), Fertig Motors GmbH (manufactures motors for Beckhoff and third-party clients), Schirmer Maschinen GmbH (develops and manufactures machining centers for plastic and aluminum profiles), ADL Embedded Solutions GmbH (produces custom-made embedded computer systems for various applications), f&t Software GmbH (develops ERP systems and services for Beckhoff and external customers).
Additionally, there are two more operating companies that are part of Beckhoff Family Group. They are original Elektro Beckhoff GmbH (implements electrical systems for manufacturing companies, housing, hospitals, hotels, and public facilities) and Beckhoff Technik und Design GmbH (a high-end consumer electronics retailer that specializes in high-quality TVs, home audio and cinema systems, lamps, home accessories, and various household appliances).
The TwinCAT automation software suite was originally released by Beckhoff Automation in 1996, offering a modular approach and flexibility that allowed organizations to use almost any PC-based system for industrial control. Windows and TwinCAT/BSD (both 32-bit and 64-bit versions) can be used as host operating systems for TwinCAT-based control systems.
TwinCAT consists of runtime systems for real-time execution of control programs and development environments for programming, configuration and diagnostics. The solution is also integrated with Microsoft Visual Studio, which allows users to program automation objects with the assistance of the C/C++ languages. C-Compiler (a part of Microsoft Visual Studio) is used for the code generation. New automation objects, when created, are used as system modules that are able to exchange data and call each other even if they were written in different programming languages.
The TwinCAT System Manager services, integrated into the development environment, is utilized as a central software instrument used to configure, parameterize, program and diagnose automation devices of all types.
eXtended Motion Control module allows the use of TwinCAT for various motion control applications, including basic point-to-point movements, robotic control and CNC.
TwinCAT’s Safety Editor allows the creation of safety applications in a graphical environment by letting users to program the desired logic directly with function blocks. The editor is also able to automatically generate documentation for the new application.