EtherCAT I/O for the Process Industries

  • September 01, 2021
  • Beckhoff Automation
EtherCAT I/O for the Process Industries
EtherCAT I/O for the Process Industries

The ELX series EtherCAT® Terminals from Beckhoff, with intrinsically safe inputs/outputs and compact design, enable direct connection of field devices located in hazardous areas – classified Zones 0, 1 and 2. PC-based control from Beckhoff now seamlessly combines industrial automation and process technology, including all the benefits of integrated and comprehensive diagnostics from the EtherCAT system.  A broad range of explosion-proof components from Beckhoff facilitate the implementation of barrier-free solutions across hazardous areas up to Zone 0/20.

With I/O terminals that feature explosion protection, the ELX series expands the comprehensive Beckhoff EtherCAT Terminal system, which already offered more than 100 different signal types. With upcoming certification in compliance with ATEX and IECEx, the ELX series meets all industry-specific guidelines for explosion protection and can be used in nearly all markets worldwide.

The combination of remarkably compact I/O modules and integrated safety barrier functionality results in high-performance EtherCAT Terminals for connecting intrinsically safe field devices. The I/O terminals have either 12 mm housings with up to four intrinsically safe inputs or 24 mm housings with up to eight similar inputs. The slim terminals reduce space requirements in control cabinets by up to 50 percent. This solution offers clear advantages, particularly in hazardous areas with confined spaces that typically require elaborate and expensive enclosure technology. Eliminating the need for these external barriers significantly reduces installation effort and costs.

With the ELX terminals, users with explosion protection requirements can benefit from ultra-fast and sophisticated EtherCAT technology. These benefits include time stamp functionality, which ensures high measurement accuracy and highly precise synchronization − even in widely distributed process applications. In addition, integrated EtherCAT diagnostics capabilities with 100 Mbit data rates enable fast and convenient error identification. In this way, downtime can be minimized, maintenance simplified and system availability increased.

In addition to the ELX series EtherCAT Terminals with intrinsically safe interfaces, the Beckhoff portfolio of solutions for the process industries has grown in other areas. This includes Control Panels and Panel PCs in the CPX series, suitable for use in Ex Zone 2/22, and TwinCAT® control software with an expanded range of interfaces specific to process technology.

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