EtherCAT is an open industrial Ethernet protocol, with unlimited options for I/O, and the most options for motion applications. Moreover, it’s the fastest industrial Ethernet technology, making it the ideal choice for automation applications requiring short cycle times, predictable performance, and synchronized operations.
A portfolio of EtherCAT products is now available form Balluff Inc., Florence, Ky., including linear position transducers, network blocks, network cables, indicator lights, RFID read/write heads, tags, and processors.
Whether you are in assembly automation, packaging, plastics, research, energy, or any other industry, tracking and communicating data most likely are high on your list of priorities. Requirements demand flexibility for change down the road, which Balluff brings with linear position monitoring, traceability, and distributed modular I/O.
Position monitoring is a key technology for automation designs and a necessity when working in precise and synchronized applications. EtherCAT is an ideal network for this arena. Linear transducers can be used to provide closed-loop motion control on the distributed clock or provide basic position measurement for applications that don’t require closed-loop control. Balluff offers linear transducers for mounting inside a hydraulic cylinder or externally mounting adjacent to the axis of motion.
Traceability is the act of documenting every step in a process chain. Manufacturers use this information to gain visibility to achieve on-time delivery, lean manufacturing, enhanced quality, and regulatory compliance. In addition, it’s used to track assets, logistics and material movement. Traceability can be easily implemented over EtherCAT in a number of ways. Using RFID systems native on EtherCAT with proven technology from Balluff makes traceability rather simple to integrate into all types of systems or processes.
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Distributed modular I/O with IO-Link gives EtherCAT access to many powerful technologies already available on the market from a variety of vendors. The universal, smart and easy IO-Link technology works like USB for industrial automation and is easily configured in the engineering software with simple byte selections. Key Balluff technologies available with IO-Link are: RFID, non-contact couplers, valve manifold connectors, the Smart Light indicator, and smart sensors.