EC: EtherCAT P, communication and power in one cable

Network Integration — I/O systems: EtherCAT P efficiently integrates the EtherCAT industrial Ethernet protocol and peripheral voltage into one cable. This is a Control Engineering 2017 Engineers’ Choice Awards Finalist.


With new EtherCAT P technology, Beckhoff unites EtherCAT communication and power functions in a standard, 4-wire Ethernet cable. The innovative, space-saving One Cable Automation technology integrates the 24 Vdc supply of the EtherCAT P slaves with the signals and data from connected sensors and actuators. In addition, the system electrically isolates the US (system and sensor supply) and UP (peripheral voltage for actuators) from each other, each with up to 3 A of current for the connected components.

All the benefits of EtherCAT are included in EtherCAT P, such as: the free choice of network topology, high speed communication, optimum bandwidth utilization, telegram processing on-the-fly, highly precise synchronization and extensive diagnostics functionality. The US and UP currents are directly injected into the wires of the 100 Mbit/s cable, resulting in a cost-effective and compact connection.

EtherCAT P offers benefits both for the connection of smaller, remote I/O stations in terminal boxes, as well as for decentralized I/O components locally in the process. It covers all applications from the 24 V I/O level through to drives with 400 Vac or 600 Vdc, including currents of up to 64 A. In addition, a family of plug connectors has been developed by Beckhoff specifically for EtherCAT P to rule out the possibility of incorrect connection to standard EtherCAT slaves.

With the ability to transmit higher currents, EtherCAT P paves the way toward automation without control cabinets. With One Cable Automation, connected automation components or small terminal boxes receive the necessary control data and power with just one cable and the corresponding branches, helping eliminate large control and electrical cabinets while reducing machine and plant footprint.

Beckhoff Automation, 

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