6 Ways that EtherCAT Auto-Configuration Saves You Time and Money
by Jerry Leitz, Director of Field Engineering, Motion Control
IntervalZero Posted 09/20/2016
Let’s face it: the standard method for configuring servo motors and drives through network control software is cumbersome and time-consuming. For each motor manufacturer, engineers must independently download and install the libraries and files into their IDE and run proprietary configuration tools to build separate ENI.XML files to define the drives. Every time there is a change or update to the network, you have to do it again, and you must repeat the process for each of your motors. Any delta change requires a complete overhaul, consuming valuable time, money, and resources.
Most systems come with significant limitations as well. Many EtherCAT masters will only work with a limited set of drives; sometimes, they will only work with their own proprietary drives. These same fieldbuses will often only speak to their specific networks. This dramatically limits the motors and servos that you can use to meet your business objectives today and in the future.
KINGSTAR’s auto-configuration capabilities solve these challenges. We get into all the details in our new KINGSTAR Technical Brief: Auto-Configuration, but in a nutshell, KINGSTAR uses the CANopen over EtherCAT network to configure any drive, from any manufacturer.
It compiles a single master file that holds the relevant information for all major drives, surveys the network for new, replaced, or edited servo motors and drives, then instantly configures the network to acknowledge what it finds. As a result, engineers have the information they need to write applications ready and waiting at their fingertips.
What if a servo or drive isn’t in the KINGSTAR base code? Not a problem. You can easily add new drives during installation, and it will be automatically registered and configured on the fly. It’s easy to make changes to your system, too. With KINGSTAR, mechanical technicians can easily see what’s out there, and make any necessary adjustments in real time, on site, without waiting for specialized support or expertise.
This approach offers several clear benefits:
- Instant configuration of all major motors and drives
- On-the-fly updates for new, replaced, or edited servos
- No need to run and manage separate ENI.XML files
- Easily configured by on-site resources
- Open to all drives, with the ability to add new drives quickly and easily
- The most complete drive list available on the market
Auto-configuration is one of many ways that KINGSTAR delivers the most open and flexible soft motion platform on the market.