The Power of High-Speed Real-Time Communication

Exhibited at Hannover Messe 2019, the wide range of IP67-protected box modules based on EtherCAT technology from Beckhoff can acquire and process almost all signals from the field to measure currents, voltages, temperatures, pressures, weights

  • The Power of High-Speed Real-Time Communication
    The Power of High-Speed Real-Time Communication

At Hannover Messe 2019, Beckhoff showcased its complete range of PC and EtherCAT-based control products and systems for intelligent automation in a booth of 1200 m2. The novelties were presented in five technology forums, each dedicated to a different application areas: from Industrial PC, to Automation, I/O, Motion and Machine Learning. Among the main innovations highlighted, there were the XPlanar transport system, EtherCAT G with transmission rates of 10 Gbit/s, and the wide portfolio of EtherCAT terminals. 

At the Beckhoff booth, we had the chance to speak with Philipp Bertling, Product Manager I/O at Beckhoff. 

Measuring every data on the field

Beckhoff has the biggest portfolio of IP20 terminals on the market. The company invented the IP20 bus terminals in 1995 and since then has continuously developed and expanded – with the precious help of its customers – its portfolio over time. 

With these terminals, it’s possible to measure nearly every data on the field. ‘’With our modular I/O system, almost all signals from the field can be acquired. For example, currents, voltages, temperatures, pressures, weights and accelerations can be measured,’’ said Mr. Bertling. That’s not all, as the broad portfolio includes terminals with several other different features, such as overcurrent protection, IO-Link interfaces and the connection for intelligent sensors. The latest terminals are especially suitable for explosive areas, for power measurement and for high-precision analog measurement applications, such as test benches for the automotive industry or the control of wind turbines.

A wide range of IP67 terminals

IP stands for "Ingress Protection" and the IP20 class does not guarantee protection against dust and water. For this reason, Beckhoff developed the IP67 modules. ‘’The IP code indicates a degree of protection against dust, contact protection and water for electrical equipment. The IP67 modules are protected by the housing against dust ingress and against temporary submersion in water up to 1 m deep,’’ explained Mr. Bertling. 

Interfaces for EtherNet/IP Communication

Beckhoff offers an IP 20 solution to communicate with EtherNET/IP with the EtherNet/IP master terminal EL6652 or the EtherNet/IP slave terminal EL6652-0010. In the protection class IP 67, the Fieldbus Coupler Box series IL230x-B905 connects EtherNet/IP with the modular extension box modules. For consistent use of EtherNet/IP, Beckhoff also offers the automation software TwinCAT, various Embedded PCs, Bus Couplers and fieldbus cards.

The real-time Ethernet technology: EtherCAT

Beckhoff is also member of the EtherCAT Technology Group, which is currently the world's largest Industrial Ethernet organisation and counts over 5,300 members. Around 16 years ago, Beckhoff developed its well-known real-time Ethernet technology called EtherCAT and after that the EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) was founded to spread EtherCAT as an open standard. ‘’Beckhoff established the ETG as an independent organisation in which OEMs, end users and technology providers join forces to support and promote the further technology development,’’ Mr. Bertling said.

A look to the future: Hybrid connectors and cables

Recently, Beckhoff has launched a new portfolio of hybrid connectors and cables, built on the One Cable Automation (OCA) philosophy, which is based on the connection of individual field devices, decentralized terminal boxes, and even machine modules using only one cable. ‘’The One Cable Automation (OCA) concept is based on a single EtherCAT P cable that integrates communication and power supply and enables end-to-end connection of components, terminal boxes and machine modules,’’ better illustrated Mr. Bertling. A concept that perfectly interprets and implements the principle of ''Integrated Industry’’.

Graduated in political sciences and international relations in Paris, Anis joined the team in early 2019. Editor for IEN Europe and the new digital magazine AI IEN, he is a new tech enthusiast. Also passionate about sports, music, cultures and languages. 

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