TwinCAT 3

This is a joint article by me and Peter Kurhajec.

Unit testing is the practice of writing a test for a required functionality. In the world of “classical” IT software development, the concept of unit testing has been around for almost two decades. What is a standard procedure in languages such as Java, C++, .NET/C#, Python, etc. — has been completely lacking in the world of PLCs. The world of automation did not have the proper tools, and nor did it develop any comprehensive automated testing frameworks. Here we present two possible approaches for unit testing in Beckhoff’s TwinCAT 3.

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Oh no! The PLC has crashed, and we might even see the classical blue screen of death (BSOD). We’ve all been there, and there are many reasons for why we got there. TwinCAT is generally good at handling exceptions, and most of the time it is possible to analyze exceptions during development of software for a machine. On a few occasions though, I’ve been in the situation where the machine has crashed, and I have not been connected to it at the moment of the crash and without any possibility to see what caused it. In the latest version of TwinCAT (3.1.4024.11), Beckhoff have included a tool to aid with this type of problems.

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I love industrial fairs. When walking around and seeing all the fancy tech, I always feel like a small kid on Christmas Eve. There are so many toys, and I try to find a reason to buy something to use at work, even though deep inside I know I just want to satisfy the child in me. Because of Covid-19, this year all the fairs were (not very surprisingly) cancelled. One of the best fairs is the SPS Messe which runs in the end of November. This year, the fair was named SPS connect, and the different vendors did an online version with various content. Beckhoff was not an exception, and as one of their topics (from the list of many) they had a roundtable discussion about TwinCAT 3 that I was invited into. It was a good opportunity for me and Peter to share some of our TwinCAT experience and thoughts.

Go and watch the video here!

I think this was a great initiative from Beckhoff and I hope that there will be more occasions like this!

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