Fieldbus & Industrial Networking


EtherCAT: the rock in the surf of digital transformation

Technews Industry Guide: Industrial Internet of Things & Industry 4.0 Fieldbus & Industrial Networking

Industry 4.0 is the digital transformation that is characterised as the fourth industrial revolution. The perception of a revolution is that it is a fast process, dramatically changing the current situation within months, not years. However, industrial revolutions are comparatively slow processes. The first industrial revolution – the transition from agricultural to industrial society – took over 100 years. Although the fourth revolution is much faster, it is also a process that will take decades to become fully operational.

A large part of Industry 4.0’s concepts and approaches are based on industrial communication: data must be collected at the manufacturing processes, condensed and then sent upwards into databases, towards servers, and into cloud based systems. Conversely, commands and recipes are sent to the machine and plant controllers, which then implement and execute them. In order to manage and control this amount of data, a hierarchical architecture and structure is required. At the field level, it is important to communicate in hard real-time, whereas further up the time requirements are more relaxed. And currently, in particular at the level between the controllers, servers and Internet services, much is still unclear with regards to the communication technologies. OPC UA with its different protocol variants continues to gain ground at this level, but device profiles and real-time capability are still missing. TSN is a promising emerging technology, but it is not yet finalised, and there is still specification work to be done, especially for the system configuration. Different cloud protocols, encoding schemes and cloud providers are competing and unified interfaces have not yet been established.

So it is good that things look different at the field level: EtherCAT is stable, widely adopted and ideally prepared for the challenges of digital transformation. The EtherCAT technology has outstanding characteristics, including leading performance, high flexibility and open interfaces. As a result, EtherCAT is inherently suited to meet and exceed the requirements of the digital transformation. The exceptional performance of the technology allows one to add Big Data applications to control networks. In addition, the flexibility of EtherCAT makes it possible to establish cloud connectivity in existing systems without having to alter the control system, or manually update the network devices. The open interfaces permit the easy integration of any IT-based protocol within the master, or directly into the slave devices. Ultimately, this enables direct connection from the sensor to the cloud without protocol discontinuities, regardless of which protocol eventually becomes the winner on the level above the EtherCAT system.

For more information contact EtherCAT Technology Group, +49 911 540 56 226, press@ethercat.org, www.ethercat.org




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

The safety over OPC UA concept
June 2019 , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
Another problem with existing safety protocols is the lack of a concept for dynamically establishing and terminating connections. The current state of technology requires that early during the project ...

Read more...
Interference-free transmission with the Ethernet media converter
June 2019, Phoenix Contact , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
The new FL MC EF 660 SCRJ media converter from Phoenix Contact enables the connection of cost-effective polymer and HCS/PCF fibre technology. The optical transmission of data via fibre optics is free ...

Read more...
Rail-mount fibre optic distributor for network expansion
June 2019, Webb Industries , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
Jasco’s Webb Industries has introduced Telegärtner’s new, modular rail-mount fibre optic distributor. The all-new STX distributor can be extended according to actual needs. The stackable modules allow ...

Read more...
Powerful new remote I/Os
Africa Automation Fair 2019 Preview, Vision Automation , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
UniStream Remote I/Os are a powerful addition to the UniStream series. The line comprises an Ethernet-based remote I/O adaptor and a broad range of remote I/O modules, such as analog and digital I/Os ...

Read more...
Combine process and motion control with Profinet networking
Africa Automation Fair 2019 Preview, Varispeed (Div of Hudaco Trading) , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
Yaskawa’s MICRO CPU provides high performance and channel density, with prepared PLC and HMI/scada motion software libraries for Yaskawa servos and VSDs. At 0,02 μS per instruction and direct execution ...

Read more...
Hubs and RFID readers with IO-Link
May 2019, Turck Banner , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
Turck has expanded its extensive IO-Link portfolio with new Class A and Class B I/O hubs with protection to IP67, and HF RFID read/write heads with threaded barrel design. Thanks to SIDI, the Simple IO-Link ...

Read more...
All-in-one mobile network analyser
Africa Automation Fair 2019 Preview, Industrial Data Xchange (IDX) , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
On show at Stand D20, the PROCENTEC Mercury from Industrial Data Xchange is an all-in-one mobile analyser that gives the user the ability to troubleshoot, maintain and monitor both Profibus and industrial ...

Read more...
Next generation Layer 3 Ethernet backbone
Africa Automation Fair 2019 Preview, IAC - Industrial Automation & Control , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
The Hirschmann DRAGON MACH4500 Layer 3 Ethernet backbone is ideal for applications that require high bandwidths and reliable data transfer. This flexible, future-oriented solution supports redundant internal ...

Read more...
Data harvester for mobile machinery
Africa Automation Fair 2019 Preview, Industrial Data Xchange (IDX) , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
The IDX Nexus Data Harvester connects disparate systems on heavy mobile machinery and other high value assets, allowing the sharing of real-time data between onboard systems. On show at Stand D20, it ...

Read more...
Industrial automation connectivity solutions
Africa Automation Fair 2019 Preview, Jaycor International , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
Jaycor specialises in industrial automation connectivity solutions covering an extensive range of signal transmission and power supply applications across multiple industries. Included in Jaycor’s portfolio ...

Read more...