Best connection to Beckhoff


We are about to build a system with Beckhoff for the controls and Ignition for the HMI and for the data collection. What would be the best connection between them?

Beckhoff uses ADS protocol as native (as I have understood right?) but Modbus is possible as well. For the Modbus we have to buy a Modbus driver from Beckhoff.

Has someone any experiences with Beckhoff-Ignition communication?


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Ignition does have a built-in Modbus TCP driver. So if the device supports Modbus you can communicate with it. Besides that you will need a 3rd party OPC server like Kepware. Ignition can connect to any 3rd party OPC DA or UA servers.

Beckhoff’s TwinCat is a derivitive of CoDeSys.

Look at for a huge open source library for IEC 61131.

There is a networking library that does ModbusTCP.

Ask Beckhoff if they are going to support OPC UA.

I have a Bosch Rexroth MLC motion controller that is based on CoDeSys. In version 12 of the Bosch Rexroth software OPC UA is supported.

In Ignition under Configure->OPC Connections->Servers just point to the ip address of the controller. It is an OPC UA server. It is not set up under Devices.

Set Port to 4840.
Set Security Policy to None
Set Message Security Mode to None

It works.


Beckhoff supports OPC-UA. Their TwinCAT OPC-UA server may be installed on a separate PC, or on the PLC itself (all Beckhoff PLCs run Windows of one flavour or another on top of a PLC subsystem). Note that the lowest end PLCs do NOT have the ability to run the Beckhoff OPC-UA server, and that the TwinCAT 3 OPC-UA server appears to have higher system requirements (all PLCs running Windows XP Embedded or greater) than the TwinCAT 2 OPC-UA Server (which can run on the larger memory Windows CE PLCs).

I don’t think any have been released yet, but Beckhoff does have some PLCs in the works that will ship with OPC-UA installed. Until then, the TwinCAT OPC-UA server is an add-on you have to install and buy a license for (you can regenerate a 7 day trial license as many times as necessary for development/testing).

It may be helpful to note that Modbus TCP is included in some Beckhoff PLCs and is a separate install and license cost for others (works same as OPC-UA license noted above).

An advantage of OPC-UA is you can browse Beckhoff PLC tags in Ignition.

A disadvantage of Modbus TCP is that you have to address tags by memory location (a la SLC) and provide desired names for them in the HMI. If said tags are in a UDT and you modify the UDT, UDT member tag memory locations may change (usually will, depending on location of edit in UDT as well as current structure of UDT), requiring readdressing… which can get old quickly.

I use Ignition and beckhoff integrated opc ua server
It works very well and adressing data is very simple
A comment in beckhoff to specify you want to expose the data in opc
Opc brosing from ignition
Et voila !

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