April 10th, 2013 by
By Andy The
Yesterday post discused the rapid growth of Ethernet in Industrial Automation. Today’s follow-up points out the most dramatic reason why Ethernet buses (i.e. EtherCAT) are rapidly replacing traditional bus technologies. It’s all about wires, or actually the lack of wires.
Below are before and after diagrams of a traditional control system and an EtherCAT based control system. The difference is stark; the benefits are obvious. Having the communication and safety bus combined on inexpensive Ethernet cabling streamlines complex and expensive wiring harnesses. The simplified cables alone translate into significant savings in the bill of materials.
It has taken a while but Industrial Automation is finally able to fully leverage Ethernet as a cost effective, flexible, and powerful communications solution. I predict it won’t be long before we see wireless proliferating throughout Industrial Automation.