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Beckhoff enters servo market with EtherCat drive

01 December, 2005

Beckhoff enters servo market with EtherCat drive

The German controls supplier, Beckhoff, has unveiled the first servo drive that it has developed and built in-house. Although the company has sold servo drives before, these have been sourced from external suppliers.

The one- or two-channel AX5000 drives (above) have been developed for use with the EtherCat real-time Ethernet system. EtherCat`s 125µs cycle time allows set and measured values to be exchanged cyclically with more than 100 drives.

The single-channel drives are available with rated currents of 1-12A (with extensions planned to 75A), 100-480V, while the dual-channel drives provide rated motor currents from 2 x 1A to 2 x 6A, with the current being allocated flexibly between the channels. This allows different motors - for example, an asynchronous motor rated at 1A, and a linear motor rated at 9A - to be operated from a single drive.

To allow speedy installation and commissioning of multi-axis systems, the drives use connection modules that combine power supplies, DC links, and 24V DC control and braking voltages.

As well as EtherCat, the drives also support gateways to Profibus and other networks.

Options include cards that protect against accidental restarts of drive axes, and allow the connection of independent, safety-relevant axes via digital I/Os, or axes that provide Category 3 safety using the TwinSafe integrated safety technology.

The new servo drives are due to reach the market in the second quarter of 2006.

Beckhoff`s drive was one of more than 75 EtherCat-compatible products from 40 different manufacturers on show at the recent SPS/IPC/Drives exhibition. A dozen drives suppliers were showing products, ranging from low-power servos to 18kW frequency converters. Also on show were EtherCat-compatible rotary encoders, position sensors, PC-based controls, safety devices, gateways, communications modules, and embedded and DIN-rail-mounting controllers.

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