EtherCAT (Ethernet for Control Automation Technology) combines the advantages of Ethernet with the simplicity of classic fieldbus systems. As probably one of the fastest industrial Ethernet technologies, this makes it ideal for use in decentralized, intelligent drives. And this is why the ECI-63 internal rotor motors from ebm‑papst’s modular drive system are now also available with an EtherCAT interface.

Integrated power electronics and EtherCAT interface
When it comes to coordinating numerous smaller drives in a system, decentralized drive solutions with integrated electronics in the motor housing have become established in practice. The BLDC internal rotor drives in the ECI-63 series from ebm‑papst are already equipped with K5 electronics offering many fixed and freely programmable functions – meaning that the drives can execute program sequences independently of the higher-level control system. In addition to being controlled using I/Os or CANopen, the drives can now also be operated via an EtherCAT interface. To achieve this, a high-performance interface electronics system including a multiprotocol chip has been installed in the electronics module alongside the power electronics. Its real-time capability and high synchronization accuracy now make it possible to implement decentralized, intelligent drives and so reliably synchronize multiple axes.

Diagnostic interface and practical assembly
The diagnostic interface of the ECI-63 drives enables relevant data to be accessed while network operation is running. For example, internal fault memories can be read out, current characteristics and control times can be queried and adapted, program sequences can be modified and reloaded if necessary, firmware updates can be performed, or the electronic data sheet (EDS) can be downloaded. It is also possible to specify which information of the respective drive is to be transferred to the higher-level PLC or the control system via the network. Installation of the drives is simple and practical. All connections are positioned on one side, making cable routing much easier for the design engineer.

Modular drive system for individual design
The ECI drives are part of ebm‑papst’s modular drive system and can be configured within a short time, i.e. combined with transmissions, encoders, and brakes. Various transmission modules are available to raise the output torque to the level required by an application. If the application requires a holding brake with emergency stop function, brake modules based on the principle of spring-applied brakes can be added to the drive unit. All drives meet the requirements of degree of protection IP54, and optionally also IP65.

Photo: BLDC internal rotor drive in the ECI-63 series with EtherCAT interface
Photo: BLDC internal rotor drive in the ECI-63 series with EtherCAT interface