The EtherCAT plug-in modules can be attached directly to a PCB. This application-specific PCB (signal distribution board) distributes the signals and the power supply to individual application-specific plug connectors, in order to connect the controller to further machine modules.
Beckhoff offers development of signal distribution boards as an engineering service. Alternatively, customers can use a design guide to develop the signal distribution board themselves, thereby utilizing their own development capabilities and protecting their expertise.
Following a functional analysis of the machine, a basic machine with auxiliary modules can be derived. The basic machine as the platform covers the standardized machine functions. In order to extend the machine complexity, the platform is supplemented by further EJ modules in the various functional areas. The EJ9001 placeholder modules temporarily close gaps in the module segment and allow further modules to be added later. This enables an extension of the machine complexity from ‘basic’ to ‘extended’ to ‘high-end’.
The signal distribution board shown here is provided as an example, to illustrate the function. The basic version only includes basic functions; placeholder modules are used for all unused function modules in the module segment.
In the extended version these placeholders are replaced by EtherCAT modules according to the functional units; they differ depending on the machine (e.g., by different feedback modules for different motor types).
The high-end version offers the full range of functions or the complete signal distribution board. In addition, application-specific elements of the control system that are only rarely required can be implemented using EtherCAT. Optional extensions can be implemented using EtherCAT Terminals or EtherCAT Box modules.
The system is particularly practical in mass production, where many of the I/O modules used are identical, thus fulfilling the platform concept.