Furthermore, modern I/O equipment and protocols like Beckhoff’s EtherCAT G allow for equipment to be timed and coordinated to within ten microseconds — ideal for high-throughput and high-tolerance metal cutting and bending, for instance. The F1 car from before wouldn’t have even made it ten millimetres in that time. The metalworking machine will move considerably slower than the F1 car, but communication problems will still cause dramatic failures as robotic parts crash and product is ruined. Industrial processes sadly don’t have the skilled and extremely well-paid hands of Hamilton or Verstappen to guide them safely home, but the industrial communication technologies like EtherCAT are fast and efficient enough to be relied upon, even down to microsecond timescales.
Formula 1 might be right on the forefront of technology, but if you wanted to start your own competing racing class then the trackside and car side I/O technology is all ready and waiting for you. Now all you need now is a few millions in the bank and an international team of engineers.
About the author:
Stephen Hayes is managing director of fieldbus and I/O specialist Beckhoff Automation UK - www.beckhoff.co.uk