Embedded PC
Modular DIN rail IPCs and Industrial Motherboards

Beckhoff Embedded PCs

With the CX series of Embedded PCs, Beckhoff has combined PC technology and modular I/O level to form 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 medium-performance control tasks. The modular control system can be configured to match the task in hand and can be installed in the control cabinet or the terminal box.
The CX system covers the whole range of Beckhoff control technology both in terms of 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. The system only uses the components that are actually required. For example, a CX can be operated in “headless” mode, i.e. without display or keyboard; in this case, the associated interface is not required.

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:
CX2040: multi-core CX with Intel® Core™ i7 CPU, 2.1 GHz, quad-core
CX2030: multi-core CX with Intel® Core™ i7 CPU, 1.5 GHz, dual-core
CX2020: high-performance CX with Intel® Celeron® CPU, 1.4 GHz
CX1030: high-performance CX with Intel® Pentium® M CPU, 1.8 GHz
CX1020: high-performance CX with Intel® Celeron® M ULV CPU, 1 GHz
CX5140: multi-core CX with Intel® Atom™ CPU, 1.91 GHz, quad-core
CX5130: multi-core CX with Intel® Atom™ CPU, 1.75 GHz, dual-core
CX5120: compact CX with Intel® Atom™ CPU, 1.46 GHz
CX5020: compact CX with Intel® Atom™ CPU, 1.6 GHz
CX5010: compact CX with Intel®Atom™ CPU, 1.1 GHz
CX1010: basic CX with Pentium® MMX-compatible CPU, 500 MHz

Devices with ARM CPU:
CX9020: Ethernet controller with ARM Cortex™-A8 CPU, 1 GHz
CX9010: Ethernet controller with Intel® IXP420 XScale® technology, 533 MHz
CX9000: Ethernet controller with Intel® IXP420 XScale® technology, 266 MHz
CX8000: basic CX with ARM9 CPU, 400 MHz, and integrated fieldbus interface

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 Embedded 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.

Beckhoff Industrial  Motherboards

Motherboards with Intel® x86 and ARM architecture

Beckhoff has expanded the “Industrial Motherboards” line of business into an independent product segment, with in-house board development, design and production. Beckhoff can thus offer Industrial PCs and Embedded PCs in all performance classes with motherboards developed in-house.
In addition, the own motherboard and BIOS development initiatives enable Beckhoff to respond more quickly to new technologies in the PC market and to customer-specific requirements. Motherboards and accessories available as stand-alone products from Beckhoff are described below.

Flexible PC BIOS software

Full BIOS source code access for Phoenix and AMI BIOS makes it possible to adapt to special board functions or introduce specific customer requirements. BIOS functionality very much depends on the field of usage for a motherboard: commercial applications typically require a balance between power dissipation and program load, the industrial usage often requires full CPU availability at any time. For example, settings for speed stepping and thermal monitoring need to be adapted in the BIOS to reflect the different usage modes.

Standard and specialised form factors

ATX, 3½-inch and PC/104 are the supported standard form factors. The 3½-inch form factor is characterised by its compact dimensions and simple cooling adaptation. No specially adapted cables are required for fast commissioning.
In general, Beckhoff provides all form factors with one chipset: the chipset Intel® QM87, for example, is available on all of the above mentioned board shapes. This allows the construction of a family with architecture-identical devices.

Long-term availability

Boards are made available for a minimum of five years, based on the general market availability of the components. All components are selected according to the longevity of supply. CPUs and chipsets, for example, are selected only if they are part of the embedded product line of the manufacturer.

Manufacturing quality

Since Beckhoff is using many of the motherboard products in their own PCs, quality is the number one goal. The focus is robustness and reliability; only high quality electronic components are used. All boards must pass a visual, electrical and functional inspection. The manufacturing date and serial number are clearly marked on the boards.

Customer-specific adaptation and integration services

Board and BIOS can be adapted to meet the needs of a customized device. Furthermore, Beckhoff is experienced in designing and producing complete embedded units, including the housing, display, various other electrical and mechanical interfaces, operating systems and application software.
Beckhoff Motherboards – Hightech from Westphalia, Germany

The complete engineering and design cycle as well as manufacturing of the boards takes place in Westphalia, Germany, at two locations: in Münster and at the Beckhoff headquarters in Verl. This local geographical context ensures short turnaround cycles between engineering, production and quality control. It also ensures that reaction time on customer feedback is the shortest possible.

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