Real-time Industrial Ethernet Technology

EtherCAT® is a very flexible real-time Industrial Ethernet protocol published as IEC 61158 standard. The data exchange follows the 'processing on the fly' principal which means that data is passed by each slave device with just a minimal delay before it is processed. This makes EtherCAT to the ideal solution for Ethernet based industrial control systems with many distributed I/Os and/or cycle times less than 100 µs.

Development Services

esd has been developing EtherCAT hardware and software solutions since 2008. We offer standard products like EtherCAT Master and EtherCAT Workbench as well as customer specific solutions. As an active member of the EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) ( we offer engineering services for all aspects of this technology.

Training and Workshops

Since 2008 esd has carried out several workshops on the EtherCAT technology itself or on how to develop most suitable EtherCAT hardware or software products. Training courses may either be held at the esd headquarter in Hannover or at customer site. The type, depth and duration will be defined together with the customer according to the requirements of his project.

EtherCAT Technology

  • Based on 100 MBit/s standard Ethernet (100BASE-TX or 100BASE-FX) without the need for additional hubs or switches.
  • Up to 65535 devices with a maximum cable length of 100 m between two devices.
  • Almost any topology (line, tree, star, ...) supported.
  • Hardware based mechanisms to guarantee data consitency in the slave devices.
  • Hardware based device synchronization (Distributed Clocks) with a jitter of less than 1 µs.
  • Optional cable redundancy for a very inexpensive higher system availability by dealing with a single device failure or a cable break with a seamless switchover.
  • Definition of higher layer protocols: CAN application protocol over EtherCAT (CoE), Ethernet over EtherCAT (EoE), Servo drive over EtherCAT (SoE) and File Access over EtherCAT (FoE).
  • Availability of device profiles for improved interoperability.

EtherCAT Implementation

  • An EtherCAT slave device requires dedicated hardware which is available as stand-alone EtherCAT controllers, FPGA based IP cores or Microcontroller with builtin EtherCAT support. 
  • An EtherCAT master does not require special interface hardware and can be implemented based on standard network controller.

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