Beckhoff Automation has announced the release of its next-generation PC-based control software, TwinCAT 3.1, with new features for eXtended Automation. One of the core concepts of eXtended Automation involves the convergence of automation with the domain of IT and computer science. A key update with TwinCAT version 3.1 is support of 64-bit operating systems and the Microsoft Windows 8 operating system. Support of IEC 61131-3 programming languages, object-oriented programming, C/C++ and Matlab/Simulink is continued and provides numerous optional tools to the TwinCAT programmer. Another feature is the possibility to reserve individual CPU cores of a multi-core processor exclusively for TwinCAT. This feature, known as “CPU Isolation,” gives the full performance of the reserved cores solely to TwinCAT. Version 3.1 can be used with the current release of Visual Studio 2012 or Visual Studio 2010. TwinCAT integrates itself automatically into any existing Visual Studio 2010 or 2012 installations. If no Visual Studio installation is present, a royalty-free Visual Studio shell is installed and the TwinCAT 3 components are integrated into this shell. TwinCAT 3.1 also provides a method to use C and C++ inside the TwinCAT real-time kernel, and provides deterministic cyclic access to field inputs and outputs, as well as cyclic access to variables in the traditional IEC 61131-3 languages.