Introduction

EtherCAT addresses the issue of low bandwidth in Ethernet protocols. Over the years EtherCAT has emerged to be one of the most powerful protocols for control systems. Utthunga leverages its deep capabilities in communication protocols to also provide services in EtherCAT. Before diving into our EtherCAT Services, a brief about why industries need EtherCAT protocol and why it came into the picture in the first place.

Issues Encountered in Conventional Industrial Ethernet Protocols

Before EtherCAT came into picture, industries were equipped with several Ethernet protocol stacks. However, the demands of control systems for better throughput and real-time information could not be met by these low-bandwidth Ethernet protocols. The primary issues faced in the conventional Ethernet protocols were time dependency, bandwidth utilization and delays.

EtherCAT: As A Solution to Prevailing Issues

In order to address the above Industrial Ethernet network issues and to keep pace with the changing automation requirements, Beckhoff Automation developed EtherCAT in April 2003. EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG), founded in the year 2003, is currently one of the world’s largest Industrial Ethernet and Fieldbus organizations that takes advance steps towards the progress of EtherCAT Technology.

The prominent ways EtherCAT solves the aforementioned issues are:

  • Improved Performance and Better Throughput: EtherCAT typically synchronizes with the accuracy of nanoseconds, which was considered to be a great improvement from the existing bus systems. The immediate responsiveness and considerably reduced CPU load, help reduce the application efficiency and enable better throughput.
  • Flexible Topology: In contrast to the conventional Industrial Ethernet networks where the number of switches and hubs that can be cascaded are limited, EtherCAT does not require hubs and switches, which eliminates a limitation. The prime advantage is that in this protocol the machine structure defines the network topology which can be anything ranging from line, tree, start, to any combination possible.
  • Simplicity and Robustness: EtherCAT eliminates the configurations easier and cost-effective by automatically assigning the addresses. It also identifies the potential disturbances in the network which helps in troubleshooting the errors. Not only this, but EtherCAT does not require IT experts to configure the switches and the routers as it is not based in TCP/IP, hence no need for administering MAC or IP Addresses.
  • Cost-Effective: EtherCAT facilitates the automation firms with the ability to deliver the features of Industrial Ethernet Networks at a lesser price than that of the conventional fieldbus systems. It does not require any Ethernet port, master, or co-processors, which reduces the cost considerably. Currently, there are numerous manufacturers offering EtherCAT Slave Controllers that manage the network in time-critical operations, the device cost for the network does not go up.
  • Functional Safety Over EtherCAT: EtherCAT provides functional safety as it fulfils the SIL 3 systems and is suitable for both the centralized and decentralized control systems. This feature is called Functional Safety Over Internet (FSOE).

How is Utthunga Pioneering in EtherCAT?

Utthunga is a top product engineering company, with a solid foundation in various industrial protocols. We are an active member of the EtherCAT Technology Group with a team of engineers highly proficient in the EtherCAT specification.

Prominent reasons you should partner with Utthunga for EtherCAT services:

  • Utthunga has years of experience in EtherCAT slave application development. We possess high proficiency in different hardware-integrated EtherCAT Slave Controllers (ESC) using ASIC/FPGA/Microprocessor that can be implemented with bare minimum memory footprint.
  • We also provide diagnostics support for the identification of communication, link, and frame errors.
  • We provide comprehensive support for certification from ETG for the Implemented EtherCAT slave devices.
  • We possess expertise in the integration of EtherCAT slave stack from multiple vendors. Our experienced hardware engineers support EtherCAT hardware design and development with EMC/EMI compliance.
  • We also have expertise in performing in-house Conformance Test Tool (CTT) tests for EtherCAT Slave.
  • We can port the Beckhoff Slave Stack code to different microcontrollers independent of platform while still maintaining good performance and good accuracy of throughput.
  • Deep expertise in handling EtherCAT slave state machine effectively by meeting all the timing requirements of EtherCAT master.
  • Expertise in handling stack features like COE, EOE, FOE, SOE, AOE of EtherCAT slave device without any loss of data in the communication.
  • We also have an EtherCAT Simulator where multiple EtherCAT slave devices can be simulated.

Utthunga is in fact much more than just protocol expertise. With a huge array of successfully executed projects with top-notch industrial OEMs globally, Utthunga adds value to any service engagement by working closely with the clients from requirement definition to release, and post-release support. If you are looking for services in EtherCAT domain, then you have certainly reached the right place. Contact us, today!

FAQ

Explained in detail in webinar, received this question before even the webinar started

Stack delay is related to firmware which occurs when processing multiple nodes, where as switch delay is because of Hardware propogation delays

Actually there is no such restriction, may be the PDO size is limited in the slave device

No, as ethercat doesnot follow TCP/IP but uses “process data on the fly” mechanism and ESC is required to achive this. But howerver both Ethernet and EtherCAT use same CAT5 cables for data transmission

At present we don’t have master stack

“EC-Engineer Configuration and Diagnosis Tool” provided by Beckhoff is the commonly used tool

Other than microchip we also used one from Texas instruments

Yes

We download the stack files using “SSC Tool” provided by Beckhoff and make some customisations as per the requirement we have

No, curretnly we are working only slave development

Yes

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