Tag Archives: ethernet

EtherCAT Means Devices Can Communicate, No Matter the Manufacturer

Posted February 16, 2016 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog, Omron, Yaskawa

Tags: , , , ,

EtherCAT can connect to all manufacturers

Design engineers love EtherCAT because of its ability to mix and match between various components from different manufacturers.

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.
Matt Meeker


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 matt.meeker@iidm.com

Read More

5 Disadvantages of Wireless Industrial Networks

Posted January 28, 2016 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog, Uncategorized

Tags: ,

Wireless technology has made connecting industrial equipment easier. The days where your computer was a stationary device are history and now you can tote your laptop or tablet just about anywhere you go. In the industrial world, it can make setting up new equipment a breeze but only under the right conditions and it certainly has its drawbacks.

fix-intermitten-connecitonBefore you forsake wires for wireless devices, take these points into consideration:

Wireless devices create and suffer from interference.

Because there is just a small portion of the wave spectrum for wireless devices to operate, they can be easily congested by other signals. If you have a lot of wireless equipment operating in the same area, they’ll inhibit each others' signals and may cause service disruptions. Signal weakens every time It passes through an object so if your facility is crowded, wires may be a better choice.

Wireless consumes energy.

Those broadcast waves aren’t going to power themselves. Wireless signals need energy to broadcast and will use much more than the little power needed to run signals through copper wires. Enough wireless devices and your energy consumption will grow.

Wireless connections are less secure.

Modern wireless security protocols are much safer than the days of WEP protection but are still vulnerable to hackers and data thieves who can wreak havoc if they breach your network security. They don’t need to be inside your facility to do it either and can access your network from wherever the signal travels. Wired connections are more secure and can be protected by physical barriers such as locked doors and walls.

Wireless networks aren’t as reliable.

Wireless devices grant you the mobility and flexibility to move around the facility and work at the same time. However, it’s not unusual for wireless devices to lose signal on the fringes of the wireless range or in “deadspots” where signal is too weak to function. Wireless access points also frequently crash and have to be manually rebooted, which requires physical access. Wired connections are more reliable though they will keep you rooted to one location.

Wireless bandwidth is limited.

Because of the narrow broadcast spectrum of wireless signals, bandwidth is a limiting factor for wireless networks. The more users on at the same time, the more of the limited bandwidth will be consumed. This can lead to slow connection speeds, failing connections and even server crashing which will require a manual reboot. Wired connections have much more bandwidth to work with and are more stable speed-wise.

Read More

Cool Gadgets: Wago Distributed I/O

Posted August 4, 2008 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: cool gadgets

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This vid will go out in the next Innovative News newsletter but I thought we'd give blog readers a sneak peek. Adam loves this stuff and it shows. The satisfied look on his face at 2:10 is probably the same one his mom saw 30 years ago when he was polishing off a complicated Tinker Toy project.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzR8-8qdWMA&hl=en&fs=1] Read More