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The TwinCAT 3 eXtended Automation Engineering Environment (XAE) is based on the widely used Microsoft Visual Studio platform. TwinCAT 3 adds support for the IEC 61131-3 programming standard into the development environment. TwinCAT System Manager, the configuration tool for connectivity to ERP and peripheral devices, such as I/O and Motion, is integrated into the same development environment. This approach allows the integration of additional programming languages or tools, such as MATLAB and Simulink. For C/C++ based programs, a debugger with online monitoring functionality extends beyond the normal debugging functions of C/C++.
The eXtended Automation Runtime (XAR) processes all modules written in IEC 61131, C/C++, or MATLAB and Simulink in real time. The proven TwinCAT real-time extension for Microsoft operating systems processes tasks and calls modules with a minimum cycle time of 50 μs and a very small amount of jitter. TwinCAT real-time has also been extended with the ability to distribute certain tasks to different cores of a multicore CPU and supports 64-bit operating systems, enhancing PC controller performance even further. At the lowest level, Automation Device Drivers (ADDs) can also be implemented with this module definition. These could be, for example, drivers for new field buses.
Users can design their control algorithms in MATLAB and Simulink, and use Simulink Coder to generate TwinCAT modules running in the eXtended Automation Runtime.The integration of MATLAB and Simulink into TwinCAT 3 facilitates a connection to the scientific field by integrating the TwinCAT real-time execution of tasks and modules into Microsoft Visual Studio. Compiled software modules can run in different languages within a common real-time run time. New features include the ability to use additional programming languages, such as C/C++ and MATLAB and Simulink. As a result, the benefits and convenience of the IT development framework become available for automation.