EtherCAT – the new standard for networking systems

Since the late 90s, Ethernet has come to be seen as the supplement to if not the replacement for “proprietary” Field-bus technology – it is suited to large data volumes, but not for high-speed, deterministic processes in control and measurement engineering. EtherCAT was therefore designed with the goal of supporting the standard Ethernet and to be deployed at minimal hardware costs in real-time control tasks with rapid update cycles and low jitter.

These are the features which actually make EtherCAT ideal for dispersed-location measurement applications.

This article focuses on the capture of measured data and illustrates EtherCAT’s possibilities as the basis for distributed measurement systems – including as a substitute for CAN or the Profibus.

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