1. What is EtherCAT?

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EtherCAT has been developed for Ethernet-based industrial control systems at home, office, factory, and etc.

 

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EtherCAT is developed by the EtherCAT Technology Group and currently, EtherCAT technology is provided through 4,500 members in 65 countries.

  1. Advantages of EtherCAT
    1. Outstanding performance
      1. Accurately synchronizes to one billionth of a second.
    2. Flexible topology
      1. There is no limit on the number of connections since there is no need for a hub or switch.
    3. Easy to use and powerful
      1. Automatic address allocation – Eliminates the need for manual configuration.
      2. Reliable Network Configuration – Reduces the time required to troubleshoot problems.
  • No network tuning required – Experts do not need to set up switches or routers because EtherCAT is not based on TCP/IP.
  1. Safety Integration
    1. Certified as TUV(German part quality safety mark) and standardized as IEC 51784-3.
  1. Application

EtherCAT was introduced in 2003 and has become an international standard since 2007. The EtherCAT Technology Group promotes EtherCAT and they are responsible for the ongoing development.

EtherCAT technology is also an open resource, so it is allowing anyone to implement or to use.

EtherCAT is used in many business fields as a system that can reduce unnecessary communication and integrate all field application tools into one communication system.

 

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EtherCAT is used in automatic assemble systems, measuring equipment systems, and semiconductor manufacturing equipment in the field of manufacturing.

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It is also used in packaging systems, printing machines, luggage handling function, and stage control systems in the field of automation.

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Application using EtherCAT is actively used in power tools such as cranes, agricultural equipment, woodworking tools, and robotics in addition to the factory.

EtherCAT, which has many advantages and is being used in various fields is the one that will become a technology to lead the fourth industrial revolution.

  1. EtherCAT application using WIZnet products

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I would like to introduce a user who implemented EtherCAT using WIZnet W5500 chip.

The user was carrying out a project to operate the robot arm using Raspberry Pi. However, the robot arm could not be operated in real-time because of the data path became longer when the user tried to use the LAN9514(USB-Ethernet controller). Therefore the real-time USB stack had to be implemented to solve the problem, and it was a difficult situation to progress. In this situation, the W5500 has become a simple solution to the above problem in terms of price and performance.

The user implemented the EtherCAT function using Raspberry Pi Zero board and W5500 module. After using the W5500 chip, the user made a test board for himself. The W5500 SOME driver design is also available on the user’s page.

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We introduced a simple application operating LED and implemented a robot arm control. You can watch other projects created at the URL below.

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<Reference>

http://www.simplerobot.net/2018/06/rpi-ethercat-master.html

http://www.simplerobot.net/2018/06/rpi-ethercat-master-picat.html

http://www.simplerobot.net/2018/06/2-dof-robot-controlled-by-raspberry-pi_28.html