Beckhoff Automation has announced greater integration of OPC UA communication technology into TwinCAT Scope software. In the context of Industrie 4.0 and big data applications, machine data acquisition via OPC UA and analytics tools are becoming increasingly important. The information must be presented in a clear and efficient manner, and the machine control system also has to cover a wide range of other smart components.
TwinCAT Scope software provides optimal support for integrated data acquisition across heterogeneous system environments. A standardized OPC UA communication channel enables this charting tool to analyze data from diverse sources such as TwinCAT controllers and third-party components.
TwinCAT 3 Scope consists of Scope View for the graphical display of signal curves and Scope Server for the actual data logging. The Scope Server can be installed on a target device for autonomous logging (without the View component if desired) or on the corresponding engineering system together with Scope View for remote logging. The latter solution offers the advantage that no additional software has to be installed on the target device. As a result, no updates to TwinCAT controllers are required, and devices without TwinCAT software do not require modification to display their data graphically in Scope View.
For logging measured signals, the Scope Server now not only features a TwinCAT-specific ADS channel, but it also offers support for another standardized communication channel in the form of an OPC UA client. The widespread use of OPC UA in automation technology enables TwinCAT Scope to acquire and display measured data in a vendor-independent way. With OPC UA, this can be achieved reliably and securely, especially if certificates are used.
The TwinCAT Target Browser ̶ which is used to manage connected data sources in TwinCAT Engineering ̶ has also been expanded with OPC UA support. It enables browsing in the namespaces of connected OPC UA servers. This feature can be used to select the desired variables for logging by the Scope Server with configuration options for certificate-protected access.
A TwinCAT 3 Engineering installation always includes a Scope View tool and a local Scope Server. Both software components are included free of charge in the basic version, which enables testing of the OPC UA communication. With a rich set of features including multiple-core support, triggers, chart synchronization and numerous zoom functions, the tried and tested charting tool is now suited for an even larger group of users and even more diverse application scenarios with these newest communication enhancements.