Beckhoff Automation XFC EtherCAT Box: IP67-rated I/O modules

To improve performance of I/O systems installed in wet, dusty and otherwise harsh locations, Beckhoff Automation introduced the new EP1258 EtherCAT Box I/O device.


To improve performance of I/O systems installed in wet, dusty and otherwise harsh locations, Beckhoff Automation introduced the new EP1258 EtherCAT Box. With this I/O device, Beckhoff's eXtreme Fast Control technology (XFC) is available in a rugged and compact IP 67 housing for installation outside of control cabinets.

Beckhoff EP1258 EtherCAT Box

There is a wide range of possible application areas for the EtherCAT Box with time stamp, including packaging machinery, assembly and handling machines, as well as conveying equipment. The compact IP67 design allows installation directly on machines without an extra control cabinet, providing considerable space savings and cost reductions.

The EP1258 XFC box detects digital input signals with a highly precise resolution of 1 nanosecond (ns) on the machine. This allows reaction times to be shortened - independent of the control cycle - and very fast events to be detected and processed further without requiring special hardware. This can lead to improved quality and increased productivity of machines.

Extremely fast and very precise, XFC technology from Beckhoff makes best-in-class control architectures possible. The EP1258 EtherCAT Box supports XFC in compliance with the time stamp method (the binary input signals are assigned a time stamp that states the time of the last change of state with a resolution of 1 ns). Using this technology, signal curves can be precisely reproduced in terms of time and placed in relationship to distributed clocks in the EtherCAT system.

The machine-wide, parallel hard wiring of digital inputs or encoder signals for synchronization purposes can usually be eliminated using this technology. The reactions, which are equally spaced in terms of time, are thus independent of the cycle time of the controller, so that even in the case of a short PLC cycle, signal acquisition and processing is possible in the nanosecond range.

As an EtherCAT slave, the EP1258 XFC box can be integrated directly in 100BASE-TX EtherCAT networks. It features eight digital inputs, of which two are designed for applications with a time stamp. The IP 67 module is optionally available with M8 or M12 screw-type sensor connections. Measuring just 126 x 30 x 26.5 mm (H x W x D), the EP1258 retains EtherCAT's high performance of 100 Mbit/s down to each IP 67 box, the company says.

Beckhoff provides more information on the EtherCAT Box IP 67 (time stamp) ; EtherCAT Box , and XFC .

Read more on I/O modules from Control Engineering .

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering

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