EtherCAT achieves 3000 vendor IDs

Beckhoff Automation Pty Ltd

Monday, 24 August, 2020

EtherCAT achieves 3000 vendor IDs

Beckhoff has announced that the EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) issued its 3000th EtherCAT vendor ID in July 2020, claiming that EtherCAT now has the broadest base of adoption in the industrial Ethernet market. According to the ETG, the user organisation with the second-highest number of registered manufacturers has only about half as many.

According to Thomas Rettig, Senior Manager of Control Systems and Communication Architecture at Beckhoff, this success is based mainly on the technology itself because it delivers as many advantages to users as it does to the manufacturers of EtherCAT devices. “EtherCAT is the ideal technology for the diverse requirements of controllers as well as peripherals,” he said. “On the controller side, you want to have as little specialised hardware as possible in order to put existing computers to use, while on the device side you want total hardware integration to save costs and reduce complexity.”

With EtherCAT, all complex and time-critical functions are integrated into the device controller chips, which are available from 12 different semiconductor producers. Simple devices require no microcontroller and therefore no software, since some of the chips already come with I/O interfaces built in. Since the EtherCAT controller is fully software-based, it only needs a conventional Ethernet port, which means that it can be implemented on almost any PC or microcontroller board with no additional hardware. In addition, there is the broad spectrum of available real-time operating systems: about 35 RTOSs are available for EtherCAT controllers.

Image: Thomas Rettig, Beckhoff.

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