EtherCAT

Overview

EtherCAT or Ethernet for Control Automation Technology was invented by Beckhoff in 2003. Currently, it is standardized and maintained by the Ethernet Technology Group (ETG). EtherCAT is a modified Ethernet protocol and uses a master-slave configuration for communication. The master can be any host PC with a single Ethernet interface. Each slave needs two Ethernet interfaces to participate in a EtherCAT network. The master initiates packet transmission and slave processes the packet “on-the-fly” extracting and inserting data into it. The updated packet is transmitted via the second interface to the next slave node.The last slave node in the network loops back the packet and it is forwarded to the master for processing.

Salient features
  • Open standard and is a well proven technology.
  • EtherCAT supports any network topology — line, star, or tree.
  • High bandwidth utilization as all EtherCAT frames sent from the master is passed through all slave nodes. This eliminates point to point communication.
  • On-the-fly processing guarantees minimum latency at each slave node as the frame passes through it.
  • EtherCAT has a built-in time-synchronization mechanism that is based on the distributed clock concept.
  • EtherCAT standard provides a conformance test tool that can be used to verify minimum conformance requirements before releasing the product.
  • EtherCAT is continuously evolving to be up-to-date with industry developments such as gigabit link speeds, Power over Ethernet, TSN, Safety, etc.
our expertise

CouthIT is a member of Ethernet Technology Group (EtherCAT Vendor ID 0x00000F22) and has access to the latest specifications and tools required for EtherCAT development and implementation. We have vast experience with “enhanced/modified” Ethernet protocols such as HSR, PRP, RSTP, TSN, EtherCAT, and industrial Ethernet switches with support for cut-through. We are a preferred vendor for Texas Instruments and have advanced level experience with the design and implementation of industrial Ethernet communication and motor control protocols on their Sitara platform with Linux/RTOS running on the ARM core and the firmware running on the Programmable Real-time Unit (PRU) core within the Industrial Communication Sub-System (ICSS). We are fully familiar with the conformance testing and the compliance criteria requirements and have mature verification and validation processes to ensure quality.

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