Beckhoff announced the new EK1000 EtherCAT TSN Coupler, expanding the industrial Ethernet capabilities of the EtherCAT I/O system. The EK1000 enables communication among EtherCAT segments with remote EtherCAT controllers via heterogeneous Ethernet networks. Through support of TSN (Time-Sensitive Networking) functions, the coupler minimizes delays caused by switches in Ethernet networks and the wide range of EtherCAT I/O terminals and other EtherCAT devices used in TSN network environments.
The EtherCAT TSN Coupler combines the advantages of the EtherCAT ecosystem with those of TSN networks. EtherCAT is suited to combine the numerous small data packets of digital and analog inputs, which typically occur in industrial environments, into a complete process image. TSN enables the definition of data streams in heterogeneous Ethernet networks for real-time capable, prioritized transmission across the network infrastructure. As a result, control systems can address multiple EtherCAT segments in real-time via TSN across Ethernet networks. To this end, no modifications are required in the EtherCAT slave devices.
The EtherCAT TSN Coupler, placed as the first device within an EtherCAT segment, provides two Ethernet interfaces. One of these 100 Mbit/s ports connects the coupler with the Ethernet or TSN network. The second port is for optional integration of additional remote EtherCAT devices. The EK1000 ensures the transfer of telegrams from the TSN to the EtherCAT port with minimized delay. In this way, proven EtherCAT features such as distributed clocks and eXtreme Fast Control (XFC), or communication with EtherCAT-enabled drives are now also available within TSN networks. In networks without a TSN extension, the Bus Coupler can also be used to integrate an EtherCAT network with a standard Ethernet network.