The EK9160 IoT Bus Coupler from Beckhoff connects EtherCAT I/Os with the Microsoft Azure cloud directly and without the need for a specific control program. The coupler enables simple and standardized integration of I/O data with cloud-based communication and data services. The “Azure Certified” status of the device fulfils an important requirement in this regard for a seamless and easily configured connection via an integrated website to the Azure IoT Hub.
To demonstrate the fast integration of industrial processes with the Azure cloud, Beckhoff presented a connected demo linked with a pick-and-place robot in the Microsoft booth at Hannover Messe 2016. Process variables, such as energy or condition monitoring data for example, are stored and analyzed in the Azure cloud through predictive maintenance, the availability of monitored systems can be increased.
The TwinCAT IoT software package contains various products for implementing MQTT and AMQP functionalities directly through the controller by means of function modules. Furthermore, the TwinCAT IoT Data Agent represents an easy-to-configure gateway application that not only transmits data from advanced TwinCAT 3 controllers, but also process data from TwinCAT 2 systems, as well as from third-party provider systems via OPC UA to Microsoft Azure communication services.
Beckhoff also presented the world’s first industrial automation controller with Windows 10 IoT Core Pro, the CX51xx Embedded PC, at the Microsoft booth. The controller captures the energy data of a consumer and supplies the process data to the Azure cloud by means of standardized communication. As an early adopter in the OPC UA Pub/Sub working group, Beckhoff was also the first company in the world to present the direct OPC UA-AMQP connection directly from the device to the OPC UA-AMQP Azure cloud services.