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:

Procentec launches new Profibus and Industrial Ethernet diagnostics solution
Technews Industry Guide: Maintenance, Reliability & Asset Optimisation 2019, Industrial Data Xchange (IDX) , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
Procentec Mercury With the increased complexity of industrial networks comes the need for devices that provide an easy-to-understand overview of the status and health of the infrastructure. The Procentec ...

Read more...
Moxa’s power grid upgrade through easily configurable Modbus gateway
March 2019, RJ Connect , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
Smart grid is an electrical grid that uses digital communication technology to monitor the status of power consumption and power quality in real time. By using this information, engineers can adjust the ...

Read more...
Process values from IO-Link sensors
March 2019, ifm - South Africa , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
The E30443 IO-Link master display is easily connected to one port of an ifm IO-Link master with four or eight ports. The display detects sensors that are connected to the same master and automatically ...

Read more...
IO-Link wired exhaust system ­production
January 2019, Turck Banner , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
Turck demonstrates the flexibility of its BL20 multiprotocol gateway in conjunction with the IO-Link-capable TBIL hubs.

Read more...
Is HART technology still useful as manufacturing moves to Industry 4.0?
December 2018, Pepperl+Fuchs , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
With its bidirectional communication between intelligent field devices and host systems, HART has become a global standard. The example of valves shows how important the data provided by field devices ...

Read more...
New patch panel for Ethernet networks
November 2018, Phoenix Contact , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
Time savings of up to 60%.

Read more...
Bus couplers in accordance with Profinet
October 2018, Phoenix Contact , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
In Profinet applications, the Axioline F bus coupler is the link between the Axioline F system and the higher-level Ethernet system. As Phoenix Contact’s first Profinet bus coupler, the TPS version of ...

Read more...
Prepare for the future
September 2018, Turck Banner , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
Bring serial interfaces into the era of Industry 4.0.

Read more...
Secure remote access to plants with Profibus
August 2018, Siemens Digital Industries , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
Siemens has extended its portfolio of industrial routers with the Scalance M804PB, which allows existing machines and plants to be connected to Ethernet networks via Profibus/MPI (multi-point interface). ...

Read more...
Modernising the Cholfirst Tunnel control engineering system
July 2018, Phoenix Contact , Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
The Swiss A4 highway is an important transit route for north-south traffic. Every day, over 25 000 vehicles use the northern section of the A4 that also serves as the Schaffhausen expressway and is a ...

Read more...