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Leadshine CS3E Series

EtherCAT communication

The newly released CS3E series drives support CANopen over EtherCAT (CoE) control and CiA 402 operating modes including Profile Position (PP), Profile Velocity (PV), Homing (HM and Cyclic Synchronous Position (CSP).  The products can be matched with many brands of EtherCAT controller/PLC such as Beckhoff, Delta, Omron, Trio, Keyence, etc.. 


EtherCAT is an interesting system to use, when compared with the traditional step/direction type interface. Here is a short list of the 5 main advantages.

1. Stronger anti-disturbance ability (EMC-proof)

When compared to the step/direction systems an EtherCAT system is much less sensitive for EMC. This is because of the standard EMC-proof EtherCAT cables that are used in the interfaces. When a problem does occur, the EtherCAT bus detects and reports the issues, where a step/dir system could continue to run, but be out of position

2. Enhanced performance (High speed motion)

EtherCAT is the fastest industrial Ethernet technology by far, it synchronizes with nanosecond accuracy. This is a huge benefit in all applications where a target system is controlled or read through a bus system. Where a step/dir system will be limited by the kHz rate of the output card on PLC or CNC interface, (often 100 or 200kHz) EtherCAT does not have this issue. This means you no longer have to choose between resolution or speed.

3. Simple wiring and longer communication distances

In step/direction control systems, the CNC-controller or PLC needs to connect with each drive to send control signals, which may lead to intensive signal cables and wiring complexity, especially when you have many drivers. These cables are often made by hand, requiring skilled workers, which adds further costs. While in a EtherCAT system, the motion controller or PLC just connects with an RJ45 style standard network cable. The network topology does not require a STAR style configuration, it can be daisy chained, which further reduces the complexity and costs. Additionally, the EtherCAT communication allows longer distance up to 100 meters maximum.

4. Lower costs (when using multiple drivers)

When looking at the cost of just the driver, one could think EtherCAT is expensive, since a driver can easily be 2 or 3 times as expensive as a standard step/dir model. When looking at the total costs of a system the picture is much more interesting. Since no time is lost on wiring all drivers with step/dir cables but standard cabling is used, the costs of wiring is greatly reduced. Further a PLC or CNC does not require high speed pulse outputs, so those costs are also saved. The more drivers that are used in a system, the more time and thus money is saved. For multi-axis systems that require precise motion and interpolation, EtherCAT is the go to system.

5. Flexibility & Brand interchangeable

When using an EtherCAT  system, you can interchange components from different brands all in one system. Many suppliers have EtherCAT components. So, you can combine servo drivers from Delta for example with stepper drivers from Leadshine. If you need additional IO you can use them from many different brands like WAGO, Beckhof, Phoenix Contact etc. Many motion controllers and PLCs with EtherCAT work with CODESYS, which is also a very open system that can be interfaced with many brands. Scaling a system is also much easier. In a CNC or PLC a CPU is limited in the number of axis it has. Often when you need more axis, it means you need to switch to other hardware. Most EtherCAT masters are made such that they can control many axis. Often by buying an extended license, its possible to go from say 16 to 32 axis, without changing any hardware.