Beckhoff TwinSAFE, Safety I/O Technology Now Available for Use in North America

Highly flexible and modular I/O terminals create safe automation and control systems without the need for safety PLCs or special safety networks

MINNEAPOLIS, June 27, 2007 - To provide industrial machine builders and users in North America the most advanced safety systems possible, Beckhoff Automation has announced TwinSAFE safety I/O technology for the North American markets. Having received all necessary approvals for industrial use in the United States and Canada, North American machines can now be equipped with the same high end, yet highly efficient safety technology already in use throughout Europe.

TwinSAFE systems are created simply by using safety I/O terminals in conjunction with standard Beckhoff I/O terminals and DIN rail mounted controllers. When using Beckhoff's TwinCAT PC-based automation and control software, users can quickly and cost-effectively create typical safety functions such as emergency stop, safety doors, light curtains, etc. TwinSAFE I/O terminals interface with all common safety sensors and actuators.

The TwinSAFE protocol enables transfer of safety-relevant data via multiple mediums. Since the compatible bus systems used do not contribute to or take away from safety aspects, already existing fieldbus systems such as PROFIBUS or EtherCAT can be used. No separate bus system is required for the safety circuits.

"While North American machines had been bound to extremely expensive safety PLCs and complex 'safety-only' systems, there is now a more streamlined and cost effective alternative with TwinSAFE," said Graham Harris, President, Beckhoff Automation. "These safety terminals give users the flexibility to add the safety features their applications require and integrate with existing I/O, networks and controller infrastructures. TwinSAFE systems cost not much more than standard Beckhoff I/O terminals - users can expect systems most often costing under $1,000. This is a dramatic cost-to-safety performance ratio when compared with safety PLCs that are often a few thousand dollars or more depending on vendor and performance."

The certified TwinSAFE Bus Terminals extend the tried and tested Beckhoff I/O system with safety functions. Safe signals can be mixed with standard signals as required and the terminals can be easily distinguished by color - safe terminals have yellow plastic housings while standard terminals have white plastic housings. This saves design effort, installation effort and material. Maintenance is simplified significantly through faster diagnosis and simple replacement of only a few components, rather than an entire safety PLC or system.

The required logical link of the inputs and the outputs is handled by the KL6904 TwinSAFE logic terminal. Typical safety functions required for machinery such as emergency stop and safety doors are already included in the KL6904. The other two I/O terminals in the TwinSAFE system include the KL1904 Safety Bus Terminal - a digital input terminal for sensors with potential-free contacts for 24 V DC. The KL2904 Safety Bus Terminal is a digital output terminal with four channels. It switches 24 V DC actuators with up to 0.5 A total current.

The TwinSAFE concept enables a wide range of safety tasks to be realized. Structures with mixed standard and safety-relevant signals are possible. Configuration of separate networks is also possible. Alternatively, the TwinSAFE system can be operated as a stand-alone solution or as a decentralized pre-processing system for safe communication with a higher-level safety controller.

For more information:

Beckhoff Automation provides advanced, open automation products based upon proven technologies so that customers can implement high performance control systems faster and at a lower overall cost than traditional PLC and motion control systems. Beckhoff's "New Automation Technology" product range includes PC based control, industrial PCs, automation controllers, operator interface, I/O, servo drives and motors. With representation in more than 60 countries, Beckhoff is well positioned to provide global sales and service to its customers. Sales and service are handled directly, with no intermediaries involved to provide faster response and improved communications.

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