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Beckhoff Automation: EtherCAT I/O devices with fast hot connect capability

Optimized coupling and decoupling of EtherCAT devices during operation leads to faster tool changes and increased productivity.
FILED IN:  Controls  > Machine components

In order to increase efficiencies for product changeovers, tool changes and machine module replacements, Beckhoff Automation has introduced new EtherCAT I/O devices with “Fast Hot Connect” capabilities. With the new EK1101-0080 EtherCAT Coupler and the EK1122-0080 EtherCAT junction module with Fast Hot Connect, the connection time for these kinds of changeovers is reduced to 1 second, increasing productivity as a result.

Hot Connect is a long-standing characteristic inherent to EtherCAT for changing topologies via direct coupling or decoupling during operation. This technology is used, for example, for fast tool changes on robots so that the cycle times are shortened and throughput is increased. Benefits can be enjoyed by a wide range of manufacturing processes including those in the food & beverage, packaging, pharmaceutical, plastics and metalworking industries.

Using Fast Hot Connect, system components are coupled into and decoupled from the EtherCAT-enabled control system with the ease of plug-and-play. In metalworking machines, for example, this results in extremely fast tool changes. The time required for the tool change is added 1:1 to the cycle time; therefore, a shortening of the tool change time also results in a shortening of the cycle time and throughput is increased. The TwinCAT automation suite from Beckhoff supports Fast Hot Connect on the master side.

The EtherCAT Terminal system is a modular and high performance Industrial Ethernet I/O system. EtherCAT¹s technological features support shorter cycle times, much faster network communication speeds, increased precision in manufacturing and more.

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