System Integration & Control Systems Design

EtherCAT saves space in wind turbines

October 2021 System Integration & Control Systems Design

At this year’s Husum Wind during September, Beckhoff demonstrated its many years of know-how and its broad product range for the wind power industry. Among the highlights was a control cabinet optimised in terms of space requirements and wiring effort, made possible by using the EtherCAT plug-in modules from the EJ series.

In the control cabinet, the I/O level is realised with the EtherCAT plug-in modules and a highly compact, application-specific signal distribution board with pre-assembled cables. The EtherCAT plug-in modules are based electronically on the well-known EtherCAT I/O terminals and offer the same broad variety of signals. Their electromechanical design enables them to be plugged directly into an application-specific signal distribution board, which distributes the signals and the power supply to individual connectors, to connect the controller to further system modules. Elaborate manual wiring is replaced by simply plugging in prefabricated cable harnesses. Many of the other components that would otherwise be installed separately in the control cabinet are housed as compact plug-in modules on the board, e.g. relays, fuses or surge voltage protection equipment. This means that the space requirement in the control cabinet is significantly reduced, particularly in series production with mid to high quantities, also lowering costs. Another crucial advantage is the minimised risk of incorrect wiring.

With its broad portfolio of PC-based control technology, Beckhoff appeared at this year’s Husum Wind as a long-standing automation partner of the wind power industry. The focus was on the ongoing integration of all plant and system functions: everything from operational management to pitch control; converter, gear unit and brake control; wind farm networking; and hydrogen technology as a bridge to energy storage.

For more information contact Dane Potter, Beckhoff Automation, +27 79 493 2288,,


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