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IPC can act like two Profinet devices

02 July, 2013

The German controls manufacturer Beckhoff has announced an embedded PC equipped with a Profinet RT device interface that is designed to act as a two-port switch for daisy-chain cabling.

The CX8093 PC incorporates a virtual device (slave interface) that can be used to double the process data size or to connect a second controller. When this device is activated, the PC behaves like two Profinet devices, allowing twice the maximum input/output data volume to be processed – about 1,000 bytes.

The network name of the “two” devices can be set via an address switch or the TwinCat System Manager. The IP settings are allocated by the Profinet controller.

A further claimed benefit of the virtual device is its ability to communicate simply with a second Profinet controller, thus increasing system availability.

On the one hand, the PC (acting as a local controller) can verify the two incoming master signals using a plausibility check to monitor the function of the cabling, for example. On the other hand, failure of one of the masters can be detected and the second master can respond accordingly.

The space-saving PC measures 65 x 100 x 80mm. It runs Windows CE 6.0 and is based on a 400MHz ARM9 CPU, with 64MB of RAM and a MicroSD card with up to 4GB of storage capacity.

Bus or EtherCat terminals can be connected directly to the CX8093. During start-up, the PC detects automatically which of these I/O systems is connected. In the event of a power supply failure, a capacitive 1-second UPS can save persistent data.

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