1) if I have understood correctly, the EtherCAT master App only supports 64 slaves, is that correct and if so, is there any plan to increase the number of possible slaves?
2) Furthermore, a customer is currently using cable redundancy everywhere, but want to switch to HotConnect in the instruments in the future.
Do we have any plans to implement one of the two features or in the future?
3) Beckhoff EL7031 and EL7041 terminals are being used at a customer today. Will we offer something similar, or will we be able to control the Beckhoff terminals via EtherCat Master using the CORE?
4) Will the ctrlX core get more interfaces e.g. for an EtherCat master as well as an EtherCat slave?
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regarding your questions, here are the answers.
1) Yes it is correct, actually we support only 64 devices. We plan to increase the number of supported in upcoming versions.
2) Today we don't support both and they are not scheduled. It is possible to add those featuers by software update. In case of redundancy an external device might be aditional necessary.
3) We haven't tested both devices yet, but basic EtherCAT communication should be possible. Regarding "Will we offer something similar", I will ask the experts and they will answer in a separate answer.
4) Yes, the ctrlX COREplus, will have an additional communication interfaces, e.g. for an EtherCAT slave. An aditional master port is basically possible but not scheduled.
If you have further question or concrete project requirements feel free to ask!
Thanks for your interest in stepper motor terminals. Your topic 3 about Beckhoff EL7031 and EL7041 stepper terminals
Please, get directly in touch with me (Frank Kaufmann, Product Management DRIVES). I am glad to talk with you about our solutions for low voltage drives.
I know that the new ctrlX IO platform will be available in 06.2021.
As far as I know each module will be considered as a device in the EtherCAT configuration.
Is it planned for 06.2021 also an extension of the 64 devices (slaves) limit?
Otherwise it will be a real limit for the system architecture.
At the moment we do not support this and it is also not planned, because of a lack of use cases on the market from our point of view. We would suggest to use similar protocols like e.g. UDP.
Could you please tell us your use case for this?
In our system between 15 and 25 PLCs work together to operate an instrument, these PLCs have to exchange some data with each other for safe operation.
This data exchange should ideally take place in real time, which is currently the case with us. We are currently using EtherCAT bridges (EL6695) for this purpose. Since the data has to be transferred from one PLC to many, from many to one and from one to the other, we use a hierarchical network structure in which all information has to run through one or three "master" PLCs. Since changes to the data to be exchanged always affect more than a PLC and this usually means a greater effort and intervention in the operation, we would like to use a somewhat more flexible solution here. At the moment it is already the case that we build reserves in all PLCs and do not always have to update with down time, but a structure that would make this superfluous would be desirable.
The EtherCAT Automation Protocol would be an alternative that would still be largely deterministic, but on the other hand would mean great flexibility.
Does the ctrlX EtherCAT Master support FoE (File over EtherCat)? If not, is there any plan to support it in the future?