Increasing diagnostics for roller conveyor systems

With the new EP7402 EtherCAT Box from Beckhoff, the control architecture and cabling of roller conveyor systems become more efficient. With the high IP67 protection rating, this compact motor controller for BLDC motors is ideally suited for conveyor tasks in intralogistics and assembly technology as well as in the packaging, food and beverage industries.

The EP7402 EtherCAT Box offers two outputs with integrated motion controller for the direct connection of 24 V DC conveyor roller motors or other BLDC motors (up to 3.5 A). Eight additional digital inputs/outputs enable connection of e.g. photoelectric switches and communication between the different box modules in operation without a PLC.

The EP7402 takes over the complete control of a roller motor independently of the conveyor or motor manufacturer. The control of the motors is sensorless. Maximum rated current, acceleration or deceleration ramps and various other parameters can be configured, allowing optimal adaptation to different applications.

In conveyor operation the EP7402 can also be operated without a PLC and provides functions such as Zero Pressure Accumulation (ZPA), single or block discharge. Further EtherCAT devices such as digital and analog I/Os, barcode readers or safety devices can be connected to the additional EtherCAT junction. The EtherCAT Box with IP67 protection rating measures only 174mm x 60mm x 36.5mm and can be easilymounted in standard C-channel or L-brackets on the conveyor frame. It requires no additional protective covering, which saves additional installation space. Power supply and EtherCAT communication take place via a single cable with a B23 ENP hybrid connector (28 A/45 °C current carrying capacity).

One-click dashboard eliminates an entire work step

Many machine builders and systems integrators looking to transform their business models have identified machine and plant process data as being a core fundamental.

When it comes to tailoring new data-driven services to individual customer requirements, however, they need solutions that are as cost-efficient as possible. Here, keeping the engineering as simple as possible is a key factor. TwinCAT Analytics supports this kind of Engineering 4.0 approach with the one-click dashboard, a new feature that reduces the once time-consuming process of dashboard creation to nothing more than a simple mouse click.

Beckhoff’s TwinCAT Analytics’ automated functionality for converting analysis configurations into executable PLC code now also includes dashboard generation. With one-click dashboard, all it takes for users to generate an entire HTML5-based analytics dashboard based on the PLC code and to load it into a selected Analytics Runtime container is a click of the mouse. When the process completes, users receive a network address that they can then use to access the dashboard in a web browser. This ability to generate dashboards without the need to write a single line of code or design graphics is a time-saver within the engineering process. Based on TwinCAT 3 HMI, the new functionality provides at least one HMI Control for every TwinCAT Analytics algorithm, each with an up-to-date tile design that follows the latest web standards. The controls contained in a dashboard can be selected individually in an algorithm’s properties with the aid of a control preview. Users can also combine multiple algorithms within an individual HMI Control.

Generated automatically, tailored individually
Automatically generated dashboards can be customised by configuring individual user settings. For instance, users are able to pick their own header colours and logos, and can even choose to show geographically distributed machine locations on a world map. In addition, the controls are available in a choice of layouts and themes as well as multiple languages. It is also possible to switch between light and dark themes, and to automatically set links to methods that reset the algorithms. Despite this high level of flexibility, dashboards that are created automatically may not always meet every user’s needs, so when TwinCAT 3 HMI projects are generated, they are integrated into Visual Studio as well. This enables users to adapt their dashboards to their requirements in the graphical editor. Even with dashboards that need extensive customisation, the engineering process still involves fewer clicks than the conventional approach, saving time and expense

EtherCAT is for everyone: SMC Partners with the EtherCAT seminar series

SMC Corporation ANZ is a partner to this year’s EtherCAT Seminar Series which takes place on 11, 13 and 14 February in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

The EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) is an association in which key user companies from various industries and leading automation suppliers join forces to support, promote and advance the EtherCAT technology. With over 5,650 members from 66 countries, the EtherCAT Technology Group has become the largest fieldbus organization in the world. Founded in November 2003, it is also the fastest growing association of its kind.

Jozef Ceh, digital transformation leader for SMC Corporation ANZ says that supporting events such as this is vital to the industry. “SMC has developed various EtherCAT compatible fieldbus systems over the years and this remains a prominent communication protocol in the industry. These EtherCAT specific events allow users to connect, tackle common automation issues and address the future of this Ethernet-based fieldbus systems”.

Ceh recognises the importance of education to further drive productivity and efficiencies. “Understanding EtherCAT’s full capabilities and limitations allows users to get the most out of their applications

One cable solution for automation in processing factories

The One Cable Automation (OCA) philosophy from Beckhoff is based on the connection of individual field devices, decentralised terminal boxes, and machine modules using only one cable.

This cable technology combines ultra-fast communication via EtherCAT, with the power supply required by the connected components. For the 24V field level, this was implemented using the EtherCAT P technology expansion connected via special M8 connectors. To provide additional power supply capabilities via a one cable solution, Beckhoff developed the new ENP and ECP connector families. These combine EtherCAT or EtherCAT P communication with additional power conductors in one cable, and are easy to use, mechanically coded to prevent installation errors and offer a high waterproof rating of IP67.

One Cable Automation has a flexible design that is suitable for use in a range of applications. Different sections in a network can be connected selecting a suitable one cable solution for devices and components according to their individual power requirements. The unrestricted openness for mixed network topologies is a key benefit, which allows flexible transitions between:
• EtherCAT P communication with integrated power supply (one cable solution with M8 connector).
• A one cable solution using hybrid cables that combine an EtherCAT or EtherCAT P communication element with additional power conductors (one cable solution with the new ENP or ECP connectors).
• A conventional two-cable solution with separate power supply (EtherCAT via M8/RJ45 connector or EtherCAT/EtherCAT P via ENP/ECP connector).

The new ECP and ENP connector series implements the combination of communication and power elements in different performance classes that range from 3A to 64A, all in a compact design. The system is a new product development and meets the full scope of OCA requirements regarding connected devices and modules, including drives, sensors/actuators, control cabinets and machine modules.

Reducing the system to the essentials – namely the EtherCAT or EtherCAT P communication element and DC or AC power supply lines – creates a cost-effective connection concept. In addition, the system is easy to use due to the bayonet connections with mechanical and colour coding. The ECP variant for EtherCAT P also provides another benefit – the power transmission integrated into EtherCAT P enables the elimination of the four wires normally required for 2V x 24V. This allows the use of thinner, lower-cost cables and alternatively, the supply of other voltages.

EtherCAT P as an OCA solution for 24V I/O systems
With EtherCAT P, the company has expanded the globally established EtherCAT technology to combine ultra-fast EtherCAT communication with a 24V system and peripheral power supply (US or UP), all in a standard Ethernet cable. Beckhoff developed special M8 connectors for EtherCAT P with mechanical encoding that eliminates possible confusion with connectors used for standard EtherCAT slaves.

The design of a specific machine or plant installation is simplified using a TwinCAT software tool that helps specify all individual EtherCAT P consumers and cable lengths to configure the highest performance and most cost-effective EtherCAT P network. For that purpose, the new and highly compact EPP9022-0060 EtherCAT P Box module, with dimensions of only 30mm x 86mm x 26.5mm, can be used to gather important data. This module measures the US and UP voltages along with the IS and IP currents in the system and passes on the information to the controller. Provided the system has the data from all consumers, it can also take the individual devices’ power consumption over time into account. For example, if two actuators never switch at the same time for logical reasons, this can be taken into account when configuring the maximum current. This introduces additional savings potential with regard to the required number of power supply feeds and power supply units.

Connector series for EtherCAT and EtherCAT P
If higher power or additional supplies are required in addition to the 24V system and peripheral power supply via EtherCAT P, power can be supplied via corresponding hybrid cables together with the ECP and ENP connector series developed by Beckhoff for this purpose:
• ECP (EtherCAT P + Power): This connector series combines a compact, trapezoidal EtherCAT P element (using the same pin allocation as the EtherCAT P encoded M8 connector) with additional power pins. In this way, the 24V supply integrated into EtherCAT P is complemented with an additional power supply line.
• ENP (EtherCAT/Ethernet + Power): These connectors combine a trapezoidal, central communication element with additional power pins in the same way as ECP. The trapezoidal element has an inverse design to prevent incorrect connections and provides data transmission via EtherCAT, standard Ethernet or other Ethernet-based communication protocols.

Different connector sizes from B12 to B36 are available with a varying number of power pins (two to six pins) so that they can be easily adapted to the requirements of different network types and the power consumption of connected consumers. The complete and full-length 360˚ shielding of the central trapezoidal element continues the typical high performance of EtherCAT. Furthermore, the compact design also provides adequate space for the power pins, ensuring high current-carrying capacity and dielectric strength. The quick and easy-to-use bayonet connection, along with the broad flange spectrum in the diverse housing variants for rear panel, front panel and square installation, provide additional user benefits. Additionally, there are versions for field assembly that enable extreme time-savings during installation.

Broad range of applications
The ECP and ENP connector families, together with the EtherCAT P-encoded M8 connector type, cover all applications from 24V DC on the I/O level to drive systems with 480V AC and a maximum of 64A. The flexibility of the connection system is available in every application area. Depending on specific needs, EtherCAT, EtherCAT P or a mixture of both can be used. Typical engineering requirements for small- and mid-sized systems are covered by EtherCAT P with up to 3A for US and UP in combination with M8 or ECP connectors. In contrast, the ENP connector series is the ideal solution for larger installations involving longer transmission distances. The same also applies for applications without EtherCAT P, such as an endpoint with a 24V power supply unit or for the supply of 24V consumers with high power demands.

Expanding the One Cable Automation concept through the growing diversity of the EtherCAT P, ECP and ENP devices and components constantly expands the range of application options for users. Current examples are the two new infrastructure box modules EP9221-0057 (1 channel) and EP9224-0037 (4 channel) from Beckhoff. Via B17-ENP connectors, these power distributors provide two 24V supplies and a protective conductor along with EtherCAT communication in the trapezoidal element. The power cable has a cross-section that is approximately five times larger than the EtherCAT P element and can bridge longer distances or conduct significantly higher currents (up to 20A at ambient temperature).

EtherCAT G: I/O performance for high-performance machines

EtherCAT reaches the next performance level with the EtherCAT G technology extension through its capability to superimpose itself on Gigabit Ethernet for particularly data-intensive applications. Compatibility with the globally established standard EtherCAT, which uses 100 Mbit/s, and the same familiar ease of use are both guaranteed. In addition, the efficient operation of parallel network segments is possible with the branch concept introduced for EtherCAT G.

EtherCAT G uses the 1 Gbit/s data transmission rate of standard Ethernet; while the EtherCAT G10 variant, recently presented as a proof-of-concept technology study, even achieves data rates of up to 10 Gbit/s. The considerable increase in data rates compared with standard 100 Mbit/s EtherCAT significantly increases the possible data throughput. In conjunction with the newly introduced branch concept, EtherCAT G (1 Gbit/s) enables a 2 to 7-fold increase in performance in relation to communication times and up to 10 times the bandwidth, depending on the application. 100 times the bandwidth is even possible with EtherCAT G10.

EtherCAT G as a fully compatible technology extension
With EtherCAT G, the proven success principle of EtherCAT can be used to leverage the high Ethernet data transmission rates that are technologically available today – without any changes to the EtherCAT protocol itself. The telegram sent by the EtherCAT master thus continues to pass through all network devices. Every EtherCAT slave reads the output data addressed to it on the fly and places its input data in the forwarded frame, but now with data rates of 1 to 10 Gbit/s. As before, the last device in a segment (or branch) will detect an unused port and send the telegram back to the master. The full-duplex property of the Ethernet physics is utilised for this capability.

All other EtherCAT properties are also fully retained. Devices with three or four ports (junctions) make extremely flexible topologies possible that can be individually adapted to the respective machine architecture. Optional machine modules can be plugged in or out by Hot Connect as required. A comprehensive internal network diagnostic function helps to minimise machine or plant downtimes and thus to increase availability with familiar efficiency. The integrated distributed clocks concept also remains available and enables synchronisation accuracies of better than 100 ns between devices. Conformity with the Ethernet standard IEEE 802.3 is also guaranteed.

Rollout of EtherCAT G made easy
Exceptional performance and ease of use have always been the hallmarks of EtherCAT communication. The same applies to EtherCAT G. Not only the protocol, but also the fundamental mechanisms and the configuration options remain the same. Only the function blocks necessary for physical access to the communication cables have been replaced by corresponding Gbit/s variants. The master therefore requires no new software, just one Gbit/s port – which usually exists in any case. The existing familiar cable types can also continue to be used: Cat.5e cables for EtherCAT G or Cat.6 cables for EtherCAT G10.

Consequently, EtherCAT G slaves can be operated on an existing EtherCAT master, provided it has the aforementioned Gbit/s port. Several special protocol extensions for EtherCAT G are currently being prepared that will allow for even higher-performance use. However, the extensions required for this on the master side will not be mandatory for the network to be operational.

Branch concept for mixed operation with maximum efficiency
EtherCAT and EtherCAT G can be operated within the same network, i.e. EtherCAT G slaves will work in a 100 Mbit/s EtherCAT network and vice versa. However, all EtherCAT G devices will switch back to the 100 Mbit/s mode in such a mixed network. In order to prevent this, the new branch concept makes EtherCAT branches possible, which enable the parallel operation of 100 Mbit/s segments in a 1 or 10 Gbit/s network through appropriate speed implementations. In this way, a branch of an EtherCAT G segment can be implemented on a 100 Mbit/s network, for example, using the new EK1400 EtherCAT G Coupler, thus allowing the extremely wide range of standard EtherCAT Terminals to be used within the EtherCAT G network environment. The 1 Gbit/s speed of EtherCAT G communication segment is retained.

Moreover, the EtherCAT G branch concept offers another crucial efficiency benefit: minimised propagation times. The CU14xx multi-port branch controllers are designed for this purpose and enable the interconnection of several EtherCAT and EtherCAT G segments. The individual branches are addressed with a single telegram from the master, which will then be processed simultaneously. This makes much shorter signal propagation times possible and therefore shorter communication and cycle times, because the telegram of a segment travels directly from the branch controller back to the master and not through all other connected segments as well. In most applications, the parallel operation of network segments results in a significantly higher performance increase than a mere increase in the transmission bandwidth would render possible.

In the coming months, the FB1400 EtherCAT G piggyback controller board will be available for the EL9820 EtherCAT evaluation kit. The FB1400 will have an FPGA with a fixed configuration as an EtherCAT G slave controller (ESC). If necessary, customers can then also create and use their own ESC configurations with the planned IP core for EtherCAT G. This will give EtherCAT users as well as master and slave manufacturers ample opportunity to evaluate the new technology. Availability of the EK1400 EtherCAT G Bus Coupler is scheduled for the second half of 2019. It will offer branch controller functionality and enables direct connection of all Beckhoff EtherCAT Terminals as well as all other EtherCAT products in EtherCAT G networks. Further products will follow, such as 3-port and 8-port branch controllers (CU1403, CU1418), an EtherCAT G junction (CU1423), an EtherCAT G10 branch controller (CU1468) and an EtherCAT G10 piggyback controller board (FB1450).

A disclosure and introduction of the EtherCAT G/G10 protocol by the EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) is planned for this autumn. As with EtherCAT more than 15 years ago, all ETG member companies will be able to use the extension and benefit from it.

Areas of application and performance examples
For most present-day applications the high performance of standard EtherCAT is fully adequate. Accordingly, EtherCAT G communication was developed with extremely large-scale applications and many devices in mind as well as the increasing use of particularly data-intensive devices such as vision cameras, complex motion systems or measurement applications with high sampling rates. Machine vision, condition monitoring or the innovative transport systems XTS and XPlanar require transmission of several hundred bytes of process data per cycle for each device. In conjunction with short cycle times of less than a millisecond, the high transmission bandwidths provided by EtherCAT G are called for in this context.

The first practical EtherCAT G application is the XPlanar transport system, which was shown for the first time at the SPS IPC Drives 2018. This planar motor system enables motion control and highly precise positioning of passive free-floating movers with six degrees of freedom. Due to the continuous position feedback required for the unique new system, extremely large data quantities are produced that have to be transmitted within a few microseconds. This would hardly be possible without the high performance of EtherCAT G.

The following two sample calculations illustrate the boost in performance or the savings in data transmission time that can be achieved with EtherCAT G and the branch concept.

Accelerating communication times: 128 servo axes in 34 µs

  • A machine network with 128 servo axes was selected as the initial application.
  • A “standard data width” of 8 bytes in and out per device results in this case in a total of 1024 bytes in and out per cycle. With classic EtherCAT communication through all devices, taking into account hardware progagation delay times and telegram lengths, a communication time of 237 µs will result.
  • If the standard EtherCAT devices are now replaced by EtherCAT G devices, the communication time can be reduced to 150 µs just on account of the shortened frame length due to the higher data rate.
  • If in addition the branch concept is used and the complete network is divided into eight EtherCAT G segments with 16 servo drives each, a communication time of only 34 µs can be achieved – i.e. communication is now 7 times faster.

Using the bandwidth advantage: scanning 200 analog inputs with 100 ksamples/s

  • The following is an existing measurement application – Condition Monitoring – where a 10 km-long conveyor belt is monitored.
  • The application consists of 200 analog channels (±10 V) with 100,000 samples/s (10 µs measurement interval) per channel, which have to be scanned with a cycle time of 1 ms.
  • The present-day solution consists of four independent 100 Mbit/s EtherCAT networks, each with 26 two-channel analog input terminals with oversampling function (EL3702). Eight telegrams with 1313 bytes each are required in every EtherCAT network, resulting in a required bandwidth of 322 Mbit/s. Thus, each of the four networks utilises 88% of the available bandwidth.
  • If the four EtherCAT networks are now replaced by an EtherCAT G network and the EK1100 Bus Couplers by EK1400 EtherCAT G Bus Couplers (branch controllers), it is possible to continue to use existing standard EtherCAT Terminals. With the same cycle time (1 ms), however, a bandwidth utilisation of only 350 Mbit/s results in just one EtherCAT G network. The remaining bandwidth of 650 Mbit/s enables an extension of the channels and the support of even higher analog sampling rates.
  • Further cost advantages are the extremely reduced cabling requirements (one network instead of four) and the reduction in the number of the ports required in the master from four to one.

Flexible one cable solution combines communication and power

The One Cable Automation (OCA) philosophy from Beckhoff is based on the connection of individual field devices, decentralized terminal boxes, and even machine modules using only one cable. This cable technology combines ultra-fast communication via EtherCAT with the power supply required by the connected components. For the 24 V field level, this was implemented using the EtherCAT P technology expansion connected via special M8 connectors. To provide additional power supply capabilities via a one cable solution, Beckhoff developed the new ENP and ECP connector families. These combine EtherCAT or EtherCAT P communication with additional power conductors in one cable, and are easy to use, mechanically coded to prevent installation errors and offer a high protection rating of IP 67.

One Cable Automation has an exceptionally flexible design that is ideal for use in a broad range of applications. Different sections in a network can be connected selecting the suitable one cable solution for devices and components according to their individual power requirements. The unrestricted openness for mixed network topologies is a key benefit. This enables flexible transitions between:

  • EtherCAT P communication with integrated power supply (one cable solution with M8 connector)
  • a one cable solution using hybrid cables that combine an EtherCAT or EtherCAT P communication element with additional power conductors (one cable solution with the new ENP or ECP connectors)
  • a conventional two-cable solution with separate power supply (EtherCAT via M8/RJ45 connector or EtherCAT/EtherCAT P via ENP/ECP connector)

The new ECP and ENP connector series implement the combination of communication and power elements in different performance classes that range from 3 A to 64 A, all in an extremely compact design. The system is a completely new product development and meets the full scope of OCA requirements regarding connected devices and modules, including drives, sensors/actuators, control cabinets and entire machine modules. Reducing the system to the essentials – namely the EtherCAT or EtherCAT P communication element and DC or AC power supply lines – creates a cost-effective connection concept. In addition, the system is very easy to use due to the bayonet connections with mechanical and color coding. The ECP variant for EtherCAT P also provides another benefit: The power transmission integrated into EtherCAT P enables the elimination of the four wires normally required for 2 x 24 V. This allows the use of thinner, lower-cost cables and alternatively, the supply of other voltages.

EtherCAT P as an OCA solution for 24 V I/O systems
With EtherCAT P, Beckhoff has expanded the globally established EtherCAT technology to combine ultra-fast EtherCAT communication with a 24 V system and peripheral power supply (US or UP), all in a standard Ethernet cable. Beckhoff developed special M8 connectors for EtherCAT P with mechanical encoding that eliminates possible confusion with connectors used for standard EtherCAT slaves.

The design of a specific machine or plant installation is simplified using a TwinCAT software tool that helps specify all individual EtherCAT P consumers and cable lengths to configure the highest performance and most cost-effective EtherCAT P network. For that purpose, the new and highly compact EPP9022-0060 EtherCAT P Box module, with dimensions of only 30 x 86 x 26.5 mm, can be used to gather important data. This module measures the US and UP voltages along with the IS and IP currents in the system and passes on the information to the controller. Provided the system has the data from all consumers, it can also take the individual devices’ power consumption over time into account. For example, if two actuators never switch at the same time for logical reasons, this can be taken into account when configuring the maximum current. This introduces additional savings potential with regard to the required number of power supply feeds and power supply units.

Connector series for EtherCAT and EtherCAT P
If higher power or additional supplies are required in addition to the 24 V system and peripheral power supply via EtherCAT P, power can be supplied via corresponding hybrid cables together with the ECP and ENP connector series developed by Beckhofffor this purpose:

  • ECP (EtherCAT P + Power): This connector series combines a compact, trapezoidal EtherCAT P element (using the same pin allocation as the EtherCAT P encoded M8 connector) with additional power pins. In this way, the 24 V supply integrated into EtherCAT P is complemented with an additional power supply line.
  • ENP (EtherCAT/Ethernet + Power): These connectors combine a trapezoidal, central communication element with additional power pins in the same way as ECP. The trapezoidal element has an inverse design to prevent incorrect connections and provides data transmission via EtherCAT, standard Ethernet or other Ethernet-based communication protocols.

Different connector sizes from B12 to B36 are available with a varying number of power pins (2 to 6 pins) so that they can be easily adapted to the requirements of different network types and the power consumption of connected consumers. The complete and full-length 360° shielding of the central trapezoidal element continues the typical high performance of EtherCAT. Furthermore, the compact design also provides adequate space for the power pins, ensuring high current-carrying capacity and dielectric strength. The quick and easy-to-use bayonet connection, along with the broad flange spectrum in the diverse housing variants for rear panel, front panel and square installation, provide additional user benefits. Additionally, there are versions for field assembly that enable extreme time-savings during installation.

Broad range of applications
The ECP and ENP connector families, together with the EtherCAT P-encoded M8 connector type, cover all applications from 24 V DC on the I/O level to drive systems with 480 V AC and a maximum of 64 A. The high flexibility of the connection system is available in every application area. Depending on specific needs, EtherCAT, EtherCAT P or a mixture of both can be used. Typical engineering requirements for small and mid-sized systems are covered by EtherCAT P with up to 3 A for US and UP in combination with M8 or ECP connectors. In contrast, the ENP connector series is the ideal solution for larger installations involving longer transmission distances. The same also applies for applications without EtherCAT P, such as an endpoint with a 24 V power supply unit or for the supply of 24 V consumers with very high power demands.

Expanding the One Cable Automation concept through the growing diversity of the EtherCAT P, ECP and ENP devices and components constantly expands the range of application options for users. Current examples are the two new infrastructure box modules EP9221-0057 (1 channel) and EP9224-0037 (4 channel) from Beckhoff. Via B17-ENP connectors, these power distributors provide two 24 V supplies and a protective conductor along with EtherCAT communication in the trapezoidal element. The power cable has a cross-section that is approximately five times larger than the EtherCAT P element and can bridge longer distances or conduct significantly higher currents (up to 20 A at ambient temperature).

 

Transitioning from energy management to condition management

Beckhoff offers an expanded portfolio of energy measurement and grid analysis solutions for a broad spectrum of applications, ranging from machines and production facilities to manufacturing plants and buildings to wind power and hydroelectric installations. Managing industrial machinery and extensive power generation plants involves a broad range of requirements, including mains monitoring, process control and high-end power monitoring. Beckhoff has released the EL37x3 series and four new EL34x3 EtherCAT I/Os.

Together with the proven oversampling power monitoring terminals and the associated TwinCAT Power Monitoring library, the new EtherCAT Terminals for energy and condition management represent a comprehensive product spectrum that can be adapted to any application.

In addition to the continuing regulatory pressure to implement the ISO 50.001 standard, installing an energy management system, as described by the International Energy Agency, delivers several direct benefits, such as:

  • energy savings = cost savings
  • supply security = production reliability
  • industrial productivity = increased sales
  • resource management = higher profit margins

Even for use as a stand-alone energy meter, the modular Beckhoff solution is superior to conventional devices. The I/O system supports the flexible combination of devices such as the compact EK9160 IoT Bus Coupler equipped with an Ethernet interface and the EL3423 power measurement terminal that is optimized for use in the IoT field. At the same time, the user benefits from proven and affordable standard industrial components.

Taking a more holistic view, on the other hand, opens the door to significantly greater efficiency improvements. The open and consistent bus terminal and software system from Beckhoff enables the implementation of energy management solutions that are simple, cost-effective and, most importantly, seamlessly integrated into the existing automation system. Acquisition of all consumer data (including those from DC-supplied consumers) provides detailed insight on the type of energy and how much of it is being used anywhere in a plant or building.

Since this measurement data is directly available in the I/O system, no additional automation system is required. Bus terminals and/or software modules can be easily added to the control system as needed. This reduces the cost of collecting energy usage data while providing information about the total consumption of the facility as well as of all sub processes.

With a higher-level gateway PC, it is also possible to integrate a heterogeneous system, such as one that has grown over time, into a fully functional end-to-end system again – even if the components come from many different manufacturers.

Numerous I/O modules are available for energy data collection to form the basis of the universal solution. Established gas, water and heat meters can be easily integrated into the system with up/down counters like the EL1512 EtherCAT Terminal or the KL6781 and KL6401 Bus Terminals via the M-Bus or LON interface. In addition, users can monitor their compressed air usage (and check for energy-wasting leaks) with the KM37xx differential pressure measurement terminals or the decentralized EP3744 IP67 differential pressure measuring box. IO-Link-based sensors can be integrated via KL/EL6224 terminals. Electrical variables can be conveniently collected via the broad portfolio of system-integrated power measurement terminals, which can be used for the three application areas of maintenance, power measurement and power monitoring.

EL3483 and EL3423 for maintenance
The EL3483 3-phase mains monitoring terminal for voltage, frequency and phase can be used in place of a protection relay for the detection of asymmetry errors or frequency errors, as well as for phase protection and voltage protection for uncontrolled motors. Moreover, the EL3483 not only generates an error message after a fault has occurred. In addition, users can preset thresholds for all monitored values to enable alarm notifications and thus to be able to take corrective action proactively and avoid machine downtime.

Since the terminal provides a power quality factor and is available at relatively low costs, it can be used to install a comprehensive supply voltage monitoring system. The power quality factor is a combination of many factors that affect the quality of the mains voltage. It enables the user to assess the supply reliability of an installation in a simplified manner with only a single number and without requiring detailed knowledge of harmonic waves, distortion factors and other factors.

The second representative of this group is the first true energy and power measurement terminal, because it supplements the voltage analysis in the EL3483 with current measurement channels. As an economy version of the above 3-phase power measurement terminal, the EL3423 is a full-featured I/O device that computes its measurements in the 15-minute intervals that are common in Germany. The update speed, on the other hand, is freely selectable down to 10-second averages. In addition to determining averages, the terminal collects power minimums and maximums for the selected period. Because of the time limitations, the terminal is available at a lower price point.

If power and/or other values are to be measured in the context of machine control, 10-second measurement intervals will probably not be sufficient. In this case, an update to the next terminal category is recommended.

EL3443 and EL3453 for power measurement applications
The EL3443 is the new standard power measurement terminal from Beckhoff with many additional features and a significantly faster response time than its predecessor. The 3-phase power measurement terminal with extended functionality updates the measurement values with each full wave (20 ms at 50 Hz). It also supplies more than 400 measurement values that provide detailed information about the present status of power supply and consumption. Among other things, the terminal determines the first 41 harmonics for current and voltage on all three phases.

Two more specialized features of this component class are the detection of zero voltage crossing occurrences as well as the internal computation of residual current. The zero voltage crossing detection makes it possible to implement innovative control concepts by executing switching operations with microsecond accuracy during zero-crossovers. This protects switching components and downstream devices from inrush current peaks. The effective computation of residual current makes it possible to estimate the neutral current without explicitly measuring it. With the EL3453, which measures the neutral current directly, the computed residual current is equal to the differential current, which provides further monitoring capabilities that may be useful for other applications, such as the operation of IT server racks.

In comparison with the EL3443, the EL3453 3-phase power measurement terminal with extended functionality for up to 690 V AC adds even more speed and updates its process values with every half-wave (i.e. every 10 ms at 50 Hz). In addition, it features four independent and isolated current channels that can withstand short-term currents of 60 A. Moreover, the EL3453 computes more harmonics (up to the 63rd) and the sine wave power and energy, which makes more than 600 measurement values available.

Power monitoring for high-end applications
The third and final category consists of the EL37x3-series power monitoring terminals for high-end applications. These terminals fully implement the principle of PC-based control by collecting high-resolution current and voltage values and forward them to the controller very quickly but without any processing. The greatest advantage of this method is that the controller has all raw data at its disposal and can operate with the greatest level of detail possible. Even oscilloscopic applications can be implemented this way. Since the automation controller has much more computing power at its disposal, it is able to perform analyses in significantly greater detail. For an efficient implementation of the desired analysis functions, Beckhoff provides the TwinCAT Power Monitoring software library TF3650. While the EL3773 with 10,000 measurements per second is not as fast in comparison, it features an integrated filter and DC capability. The EL3783, on the other hand, features a sampling rate of 20 ksps and an overload capacity of 130 to 650 percent for current and voltage. This makes it possible to maintain a comprehensive data overview and not lose any measurement values even in error states.

All these capabilities make it possible to put together a company-wide energy management system that meets any user requirements. The user can decide whether to manage the data in the cloud or locally, which remains the most common choice. If a localized solution is selected, it is important not to forget the benefits of an easy-to-use interface with centralized access options. Centralized data access via multi-touch panels delivers more clarity and convenience compared to the multiple built-in devices that users had to monitor in the past. Using the HTML5-based TwinCAT 3 HMI from Beckhoff, the same visualization can even be displayed by many other end devices such as smartphones and tablets without any additional effort.

Drag-and-drop analysis functions with TwinCAT Analytics
With TwinCAT Analytics, all data acquired throughout a company environment can be easily summarized and evaluated via drag-and-drop analysis functions and also combined with other measurement data. This makes it easy to compute the energy consumption for each produced part. A holistic Beckhoff solution even supplies data that is not available to common energy management systems since the latter have no access to the machine control data. This makes it possible to first determine the energy consumption for different operating conditions and then identify deviations from the norm.

While too much energy usage may be a sign of worn bearings, for example, too little energy usage may indicate insufficient product quality. Through automatic PLC code generation, above mentioned easily created drag-and-drop analyses can even be integrated into an automated permanent analysis system. After automatic project creation, users can integrate an HMI dashboard for company-wide energy data analysis. TwinCAT 3 HMI provides the foundation for this capability. Company-wide monitoring across distributed locations and systems enables a timely response to impending faults before downtime occurs. It also enables discovery of previously unidentified optimization potential, for example, during operating mode changes. And by means of the power quality factor, users can even resolve unexplained machine problems resulting from fluctuations in the power supply without the need for extensive knowledge in electrical engineering. With these user-friendly tools, even the implementation of an advanced condition management system with a high level of detail is easy to accomplish.

 

New Branch concept for EtherCAT

Thomas Rettig, senior management control system and communication architecture, at Beckhoff Automation, tells Food and Beverage Industry News about the latest news on EtherCAT from his company.

EtherCAT G and G10 are fully compatible with EtherCAT. Are there any special considerations that users might need to take into account?
Thomas Rettig: From a protocol point of view, EtherCAT G slaves will be able to operate easily with an existing EtherCAT master, provided the master is equipped with a 1 Gbit/s port. We are currently working on a number of EtherCAT G protocol extensions that will enable even better performance. There will have to be some extensions on the master side, but these will not be essential for network operation. Our new branch concept is being introduced to enable EtherCAT, EtherCAT G and EtherCAT G10 devices on a network to operate at different data rates (100 Mbit/s, 1 Gbit/s or 10 Gbit/s). Each branch connected to a branch controller represents a separate EtherCAT segment, and the EtherCAT segments can operate at different transfer rates and in parallel with one another. A few extensions in the EtherCAT master will make time- and bandwidth-optimised network operation possible.

Will the branch controller concept continue to support known EtherCAT features like processing on the fly and fully synchronised distributed clocks?
Thomas Rettig: These are both core features that have made EtherCAT such a success. EtherCAT G and EtherCAT G10 will both continue to support processing on the fly, as we already demonstrated live at SPS IPC Drives in 2018. The distributed clocks, too, will, of course, continue to be distributed for synchronisation across the branch controllers and will work in the same way as before.

Which applications already benefit from the higher bandwidth with EtherCAT G?
Thomas Rettig: The first application to benefit is our new XPlanar system. This transport system, with its planar motors, allows passive, levitating movers to be moved and positioned with six degrees of freedom and highest precision. It relies, however, on having plenty of available data bandwidth, and EtherCAT G meets that need perfectly. Similarly, any applications with high bandwidth requirements, such as machine vision cameras or high-precision measurement applications, will benefit. The branch controller approach also allows more complex EtherCAT networks to operate with shorter cycle times than were formerly possible because of limitations imposed by network size.

Will it be possible to connect EtherCAT G to TSN switches?Thomas Rettig:
Yes. The same applies to EtherCAT G as to EtherCAT. EtherCAT G is extremely efficient to integrate into a TSN environment. It requires minimal adaptation of the control system, no changes to slave devices, and just a minor extension in so-called open-mode devices used to connect EtherCAT slave segments to the TSN network.

 

When will your EtherCAT G products be available?

Thomas Rettig: We expect the FB1400 EtherCAT G piggyback controller for our EtherCAT evaluation board to be available in March 2019. This will give EtherCAT users and the makers of master and slave devices the chance to evaluate our new technology. The EK1400 EtherCAT G Coupler will follow in the fall of 2019. In our branch controller concept, the coupler makes it possible to use all of the Beckhoff EtherCAT Terminals and any other EtherCAT products in EtherCAT G networks. More products, including three- and eight-way branch controllers (CU1403, CU1418), an EtherCAT G junction (CU1423), an EtherCAT G10 branch controller (CU1468) and an EtherCAT G10 piggyback controller (FB1450), will follow in due course.

 

New EtherCAT Slave I/O module for robotics, automation and systems control

ICP Electronics Australia has released ICP DAS’ new ECAT-2011H EtherCAT slave I/O module with isolated 16-CH/8-CH AI.

A member of the ECAT-2000 series of modules, the ECAT-2011H comes equipped with the EtherCAT protocol and can be installed in daisy-chain connections, allowing flexible device installation and reducing infrastructure and operation costs. All ECAT-2000 modules can be deployed in network topologies such as star, line, or ring. Further, the isolated input and output design of the ECAT-2000 series protects these modules from harmful interference and environmental disruptions.

The ECAT-2011H has 8 isolated differential input channels or 16 single-ended input channels built in, which can be selected via software. Users can obtain the status of the input through the ECAT-2011H’s process data. Finally, the ECAT-2011H has passed the EtherCAT conformance test tool for protocol compliance, ensuring an eligible EtherCAT master or configurator can operate it and implement various applications with eases

Key features of the device include:

  • On-the-fly processing
  • Powerful MCU for efficient network traffic handling
  • 2x RJ-45 Bus interface
  • Distance between stations up to 100m (100BASE-TX)
  • Supports daisy-chain connection
  • EtherCAT conformance test tool verified
  • Removable terminal block connector
  • LED Indicators
  • Built-In 8-CH/16-CH analogue input
  • RoHS compliant
  • ESD protection 4 KV contact for each channel

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
Close