EtherCAT is the fastest industrial Ethernet technology and is slated to catch up soon in India. Recently Martin Rostan, Executive Director, EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG), was in the country to create more awareness about the technology. A three phase seminar was organised at Delhi, Bangalore and Pune to promote the technology. ETG aims to train and support the local representatives in order to make them sell and promote EtherCAT products in India. Addressing the seminar, Rostan said, EtherCAT has a flexible topology and is beneficial for widely distributed applications. It is easy to configure and maintain and at the same time is inexpensive to install. EtherCAT is very effective even with small amounts of data per slave device, since it is not necessary to send an individual Ethernet frame for each data unit. Since process data communication is handled completely in hardware (EtherCAT Slave Controller), the network performance does not depend on the µC performance of the slave devices – and is thus predictable. Comparing it with fieldbus applications he said that people spend more money in engineering applications to tune with the system whereas with EtherCAT that’s not at all an issue. The fieldbus is more costly than EtherCAT technology. Hence, many customers switch over from fieldbus to EtherCAT to lower their cost. The technology suits high end motion control applications such as robotics, hydraulic / electric presses, machine tool applications, CNC functionality, printing, packaging, and woodworking machines, injection moulding, any measurement application and any closed loop control. Quoting an example, Rostan said, the world’s first Java powered robot is also EtherCAT based. The second round of EtherCAT seminar is scheduled in October 20009 and is open for end-users, machine builders, system integrators, and system designers.
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