Beckhoff celebrates 20 years of EtherCAT

Beckhoff Automation, a pioneer in automation solutions, is proud to celebrate the 20th anniversary of EtherCAT, the pioneering Industrial Ethernet system that changed the world of industrial networking. Since its appearance at Hannover Messe in 2003, EtherCAT has become a leader in speed, flexibility and openness, strengthening its position in the global market thanks to its reliability and continuous technical progress. Today, EtherCAT remains an IEC open standard and allows companies across industries to take advantage of its key technological advantages.

The unrivaled performance and innovative potential of EtherCAT has made it a cornerstone in industries such as packaging, manufacturing, assembly, entertainment, and more. In addition, it supports new applications in mobile robotics, intralogistics, electric vehicle manufacturing, aerospace, scientific research, and semiconductor manufacturing (as SEMI standard).

“EtherCAT has played a key role in advancing the world’s leading automation applications with its high speed, determinism and flexible topology,” said Daimon Thompson, director of product management at Beckhoff USA. “From large scale applications like giant telescopes with thousands of axes of motion to small IoT data acquisition devices and everything in between, EtherCAT has enabled remarkable technological advances. the next 20 years.”

Beckhoff is known for industry-leading performance in control systems, backed by expert engineers who are constantly pushing the limits of performance in the world of automation. Built on the principle of PC-based control technology, Beckhoff allows you to use all the advantages of a PC, especially high computing power, directly on the machine. EtherCAT has been designed to take advantage of the high performance of standard Ethernet interfaces on PCs while simplifying standard TCP/IP Ethernet communications for maximum bandwidth utilization and performance. Even after 20 years, this paradigm remains unchanged.

EtherCAT combines the standard Ethernet protocol with the reliability, performance and stability required for industrial communications, delivering significant benefits:

– Exceptional performance: With EtherCAT, fast communication and nanosecond synchronization via a distributed clock optimizes application efficiency, reducing CPU load by up to 30%.

– Flexible topology: almost any topology – tree, star, drop, line, circle, etc. – or any combination of them is possible with a virtually unlimited number of nodes and hot plugging.

– Simplicity and reliability: Automatic node addressing, comprehensive and localized diagnostics, excellent noise immunity and high throughput all optimize network deployment and maintenance.

– Built-in safety: Available since 2005, Fail Safe over EtherCAT (FSoE) technology provides TÜV-certified functional safety up to SIL 3 in both centralized and decentralized control systems.

– Affordability: no switches needed, masters only need an Ethernet port, and auxiliaries can use a variety of ESC chips – all of which reduce costs nearly or less than those of legacy fieldbuses.

– Largest vendor and device diversity: The EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) is the world’s largest Industrial Ethernet organization with over 7,100 member companies and over 3,000 registered vendors, while Beckhoff offers the most comprehensive portfolio of EtherCAT devices.

“As a universal industrial network, EtherCAT has become the core technology for all areas of modern industrial automation,” said Azad Jafari, I/O Product Manager at Beckhoff USA. “For now, this includes drive technology, mechatronics, machine safety, condition monitoring, advanced measurement technology and machine vision, among others. And as new concepts emerge, they will continue to find the powerful and flexible communication technology they need in EtherCAT.”

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