EtherCAT G to push EtherCAT standard to 10Gb/s

October 24, 2019 //By Julien Happich
EtherCAT
EtherCAT G was introduced by Beckhoff Automation in 2018 as an extension of the EtherCAT standard. The company recently presented the gigabit technology addition to the EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG), and after thorough review, the organization’s Technical Committee accepted it.

Moving forward, EtherCAT G, which extends EtherCAT technology to 1 and 10 Gb/s, respectively, will be supported and promoted by the ETG.

“EtherCAT is already the fastest industrial Ethernet fieldbus, and will remain so due to its special functional principle. With EtherCAT G, particularly data-hungry applications, such as machine vision and high-end measurement technology, can now also be integrated. This extends the range of applications for EtherCAT technology and makes it even more viable for the future”, explains Dr. Guido Beckmann, Chairman of the ETG Technical Committee.

The well-known 100 Mb/s EtherCAT technology remains the proven solution for the majority of applications. However, EtherCAT G offers additional user advantages, especially in applications where particularly large amounts of process data must be transported per device. This can include, for example machine vision, high-end measurement technology or complex motion applications that go beyond the scope of classic drive control. As an extension of standard EtherCAT technology, EtherCAT G is fully compatible; existing devices designed for 100 Mb/s can be seamlessly integrated into an EtherCAT G system, and EtherCAT G devices in a 100 Mb/s EtherCAT system behave like classic EtherCAT devices.

The central element of EtherCAT G is the use of EtherCAT Branch Controllers, which essentially fulfill two main functions: On the one hand, they act as a kind of node for the integration of segments from 100 Mb/s devices; on the other hand, they enable parallel processing of the connected EtherCAT segments. This significantly reduces the propagation delay in the system, which increases system performance many times over previous levels.

EtherCAT - www.ethercat.org


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