Enclosures, Cabling & Connectors

Fibre-optic for EtherCAT

September 2009 Enclosures, Cabling & Connectors

The EtherCAT I/O system from Beckhoff is being expanded with new fibre-optic-compatible hardware. Using the EK1501 EtherCAT coupler and the EK1521 junction terminal, more flexible topologies are now possible with glass fibre technology.

Besides its high performance and low system costs, EtherCAT also stands out due to its flexible topological characteristics. The EtherCAT Terminal system from Beckhoff supports all topology variants: line, ring, tree and star. This flexibility is continued in the wiring and the selection of different cables. The maximum distance between two stations is 100 m using a standard Ethernet cable (100BASE-TX). With the new fibre-optic modules, greatly extended networking up to 2 km is possible (100BASE-FX).

The EK1501 fibre-optic coupler connects EtherCAT to an arbitrary number of EtherCAT Terminals. Connection is made via SC duplex sockets. A further fibre-optic module can be optionally connected via a second port; an additional switch is not required.

The EK1501 EtherCAT Terminal with fibre-optic interface enables conversion to multimode glass fibre technology within a terminal line. The combination of line and branches or stubs is particularly useful for system wiring. Applications for the fibre-optic module will primarily be in widely distributed systems, such as wind farms or high tension systems. Even cable redundant systems with fibre-optic can be realised using the EtherCAT branch.

Interested readers can view the Beckhoff video at http://instrumentation.co.za/news.aspx?pklNewsid=31412&pklCategoryID=67


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