I/O plug-in modules save distribution board space

26th June 2015
Barney Scott

Beckhoff has announced its EJ series of EtherCAT plug-in modules, offering proven I/O technology coupled with the necessary process reliability in an ultra-compact form factor. The EtherCAT plug-in modules are electronically based on the well-known EtherCAT I/O system and their design allows them to be directly attached to a circuit board.

The circuit board is an application-specific signal distribution board that distributes signals and power supply to individual application-specific plug connectors. As a result the field side can be fully preconfigured before connecting it to the signal distribution board. Potential sources of error that result from the conventional wiring of individual cores are eliminated, opening up possibilities for use in safety-critical process technology.

The signal distribution board can be developed either by the users themselves or by Beckhoff according to user specifications. In this way, the best possible solution can be found in order to custom-design circuit boards for individual applications.

The space-saving EJ system provides further advantages for applications in zone 1 potentially explosive areas. Due to the low space requirements of the EJ system, pressure-resistant housings (Ex d) can be made smaller in order to save costs, or else to fit a higher number of I/O channels and other components into the same space. The risk of incorrect wiring in case of replacements is minimised, since both the EtherCAT plug-in modules and the plug connectors of the cable harnesses offer coding options.

With the EJ series, the entire range of functions provided by the Beckhoff I/O portfolio, including functional safety, can be implemented in an extremely compact form factor. The pluggability also allows options to be implemented that are only used when required. The EtherCAT plug-in module system simplifies not only the installation, but also the maintenance process.

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