ADS iFIX Driver/OPC Server for Beckhoff TwinCAT®

The ADS Driver/OPC- Server is one of the most efficient I/O Drivers for the Beckhoff TwinCat PLC System. Due to its block-based communication structure, high data throughput is granted even with big data volumes (> 100kByte) at refresh rates in the millisecond range. The latest ADS Driver version 7.52 supports TwinCAT® 2 as well as the new TwinCAT®- Versions 3.0 and 3.1. It runs on all modern Windows platforms such as Windows 7 (32/64 Bit), Windows 8.1 (also embedded) or even on Windows Server 2012. In the following we will be introducing you to some functional features of the ADS driver in more detail.

1. Online Upload of the PLC runtime system´s symbol table

As far as the TwinCAT®-SPS-System supports this functionality, the ADS Driver is able to upload the symbol table and data type information from the PLC run time system thus the access to the symbol file is not necessary. Changes within the symbol table (due to changes in the PLC program) are recognized by the ADS Driver automatically. The ADS Driver then loads the new symbol as well as data type information by itself and updates its internal data structure with the new symbol information.

Image 1: Setting of the symbol source in the device configuration

2. Symbol browser for a fast selection of a block start address

In order of not having to enter a driver data block´s start address manually (name of a variable that has to be read), the ADS Driver provides you with a symbol browser which offers you a quick and easy way to select the variable, you want to use as start address. The symbol browser displays the symbols in the same hierarchical structure as you know from your TwinCAT® PLC programming software.

Image 2: Symbol browser for an quick and easy access to the start address

3. Entry of an iFIX I/O address or an OPC item via copy and paste

The Symbol browser within the ADS Power Tool offers you a fast and easy way to enter the I/O addresses of your iFIX data base blocks or your OPC Item IDs. By using the symbol field´s context menu, you are able to copy the symbol address (name of the variable)  into the clipboard whereby the ADS driver automatically puts the device name in front of the symbol. The clipboard therefore contains a complete I/O address (<Device Name> plus <Symbol>) which you can directly paste into the iFIX data block´s I/O address field or into the Item ID field of the OPC client.

Image 3: Copy and Paste of an iFIX I/O address

4. Access to TwinCAT Array variables via indexed iFIX register block addressing

The ADS driver allows you to access an one or more-dimensional TwinCAT array variable of an elementary data type via a single DR (for BOOL arrays) or AR (for analog types) block. So you can create an iFIXregister block referring to the first array element and access every single element of the array over the register block´s F_x- fields. With this option you are able to drastically reduce the number of the required data blocks and therefore minimize your iFix license size and costs.

The download link to the new ADS version you will find in the Download area.