Using Hot Connect, system components are coupled into and decoupled from the control system via EtherCAT by plug-and-play. The integration time is shortened to < 1 second with the Fast Hot Connect technology. In metalworking machines, for example, this results in extremely fast tool changes. The time required for the tool change is added 1:1 to the cycle time; therefore a shortening of the tool change time also results in a shortening of the cycle time and output is increased. The TwinCAT automation suite supports Fast Hot Connect on the master side.
The EtherCAT Terminal system is a modular I/O system consisting of electronic terminal blocks. EtherCAT’s technological features are supported to the optimum, since the EtherCAT protocol is retained completely right down to the individual terminal. Suitable EtherCAT Terminals are available for all common digital and analog signal types encountered in the world of automation. Lower-level bus systems are integrated via local master/slave terminals.