When choosing an Ethernet communication platform for industrial machine control, it’s hard to ignore the virtues of EtherCAT. Its ability to mix and match between various components from different manufacturers makes EtherCAT a popular choice among integrators and design engineers.
EtherCAT is the fastest industrial Ethernet technology and has unmatched bandwidth utilization. This makes it an excellent choice for machine control, according to the EtherCAT Technology Group.
Omron’s NJ machine automation controller offers EtherCAT as a built-in communication network. And thanks to EtherCAT Technology Group’s testing for device compliance, users are assured that a certified device will work with other certified devices. This means users can confidently mix and match vendor EtherCAT certified hardware.
For instance, you can pair an Omron NJ controller with Yaskawa VFDs and Yaskawa servomotors, both of which have received EtherCAT conformance certification. This type of multi-vendor system might cause headaches on many other networks. But with EtherCAT, a skilled integrator can have these devices talking very quickly.
How to connect an Omron NJ to a Yaskawa EtherCAT servo amplifier
- First, download and install the EtherCAT ESI from from Yaskawa. The ESI file is a free .xml format file Yaskawa created and published in accordance with EtherCAT standards. This file contains all the information needed by an EtherCAT master (the Omron NJ) to successfully control the EtherCAT slave (the Yaskawa amplifier).
- Next, add the ESI file into the Omron ESI library. It can now be used by Omron’s NJ programming software, Sysmac Studio.
- Inside Sysmac Studio you now need to add the Yaskawa device to your EtherCAT network map. This can be done by dragging and dropping the image form the library onto the network (this is only possible because you successfully loaded the ESI file). You will need to match the node address setting on the Yaskawa amplifier rotary switches to the node you assign in the software.
- Finally, you need to map the communication objects such as the control and status word. This is easily done using the Detailed Settings within the axis of Sysmac Studio using the drop down lists provided.
That’s it. Within minutes, you can have functioning communication and control between an Omron NJ controller and a non-Omron EtherCAT device.
Matt Meeker is one of our customers' most highly-sought after resources for automation and controls systems advice. Matt also teaches classes on PLC programming at all of our branches or onsite at manufacturing facilities. You can reach Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org