With EtherCAT P, Beckhoff combines communication and power in a single 4-wire standard Ethernet cable. With this ground-breaking solution, the direct supply of both the EtherCAT P slaves and the connected sensors and actuators with two voltages is possible. The voltages US (system and sensor supply) and UP (peripheral voltage for actuators) are electrically isolated from each other and can each supply a current of up to 3 A to the connected components. All the benefits of EtherCAT, such as freedom in topology design, high speed, optimum bandwidth utilisation, telegram processing on-the-fly, highly precise synchronisation, extensive diagnostics functionality, etc. are all retained while integrating the voltages.
With EtherCAT P technology, the currents are coupled directly into the wires of the 100 Mbit line, enabling the realisation of a highly cost-effective and compact connection. In order to rule out the possibility of incorrect connections to standard EtherCAT slaves and, thus possible defects, a new plug family has been specially developed for EtherCAT P. The plug family covers all applications from the 24 V I/O level up to drives with 400 V AC or 600 V DC and a current of up to 64 A.
EtherCAT P offers extensive savings potential:
As is typical with EtherCAT, the user benefits from the wide choice in topology and can combine line, star and tree architectures with one another in order to achieve the least expensive and best possible system layouts. Unlike the traditional Power over Ethernet (PoE), devices can also be cascaded using EtherCAT P and supplied with power from one power supply unit.
When designing a machine, the individual consumers, cable lengths and cable types are configured with tool assistance and this information is used to create the optimum layout of the EtherCAT P network. Since it is known what sensors and actuators will be connected and which ones will be operated simultaneously, the power consumption can be accounted for accordingly. For example, if two actuators never switch simultaneously from a logical point of view, they also never need the full load simultaneously. The result is further savings potential in terms of the required supplies and power supply units.