From PLC to Motion and Robot Control

Yaskawa Launches New Automation Platform

15. Juni 2022, 12:40 Uhr | Andreas Knoll
The iC9210-PN is the first machine controller of Yaskawa's new i³ Control automation platform.
© Yaskawa Europe

Yaskawa has announced a completely new automation platform. It is to be called "i³ Control" and will form a technically coordinated overall solution for industrial controllers - including the engineering software, the controller hardware, and the integrated chip technology.

The first elements of the ecosystem now presented by Yaskawa as a concept are the specially developed software environment "i³ Engineer" and the machine controller "iC9210-PN". The market launch is planned from the end of 2022, after which the i³ Control portfolio is to grow continuously.

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Software environment i³ Engineer

The engineering software i³ Engineer opens up the entire platform, which is characterised by openness, flexibility, and scalability on the basis of a Linux-based operating system. Programming languages according to IEC 61131-3 and PLCopen function blocks are supported, as are the script languages C#, C++, Python or Matlab Simulink. According to Yaskawa, this opens up new possibilities for the development of individual applications, even in worldwide teams. At the same time, the software is precisely designed for the respective scope of performance of the Yaskawa components. This means that the software always leads users to a powerful solution without them having to know the relevant products in detail.

New PLC generation iC9210-PN

The first hardware product under the umbrella of the new platform is the iC9210-PN controller. It offers a Profinet and an RS-485 interface for connecting Yaskawa servo and frequency converters. HMIs can be connected via an OPC UA server. In addition, the PLC uses the modules of the established "SLIO" system originally developed by Vipa (acquired by Yaskawa in 2012) together with Lenze as an I/O platform. This means that the controller is fully usable right from the start. Future technologies can also be integrated quickly.

Processor "Profichip Triton"

The heart of the new controllers is the "Profichip Triton" from Yaskawa. The processor, which was specially designed for industrial applications and is based on the VxWorks real-time operating system, is suitable for fast processing of demanding motion and PLC sequences with its three individually switchable 32-bit ARM Cortex A17 cores with up to 1.26 GHz. It has four Gigabit Ethernet ports with support for TSN and two integrated 100BaseT Ethernet PHYs. All four Ethernet ports can be combined in different configurations to form a switch (software-defined networking). PCI Express up to Gen3 with a maximum of four lanes is also provided, as well as the integrated backplane bus solution "SliceBus", which works as a master for I/O modules, with 192 Mbit/s, alarm and error handling, and time synchronisation. The security core enables functions such as Secure Boot (signed and encrypted) to protect automation data.

Complete system for control and automation

i³ Control is designed as a future concept and is now being gradually expanded into a comprehensive overall system for control and automation. In a next step, Yaskawa will expand the system to include the motion control functions already available in its own "MPiec" machine control system. After that, safety functions and later robotics are to be integrated. The aim is to create a universal platform through which machine manufacturers can access all functions - from PLC, motion control, and safety to robot programming and control - in only one environment.

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