Developer, manufacturer and distributor of electrical and electronic connectors, HARTING, has added EtherCAT connectivity to its MICA (Modular Industrial Computing Architecture) system: an open source platform for industrial applications. EtherCAT is a real time Industrial Ethernet technology originally developed by Beckhoff Automation. The EtherCAT protocol which is disclosed in the IEC standard IEC61158 is suitable for hard and soft real time requirements in automation technology and test and measurement applications.
The main focus during the development of EtherCAT was on short cycle times (not greater than 100 µs), low jitter for accurate synchronisation (not greater than 1 µs) and low hardware costs.
With the EtherCAT interface, MICA can capture directly from industrial production networks via two M8 connectors, then pre-process it and transmit it to higher-level systems and cloud applications via various standard protocols such as OPC-UA and MQTT.
MICA's modular Open Source Software Architecture makes it a suitable solution for developing edge and cloud applications in production. Creating the EtherCAT functionality as an internal MICA function module enables MICA to deliver further benefits, such as protection class IP67, connectors suitable for industrial use and compliance with major industry standards.