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Bus terminals double their packing density

02 January 2010

Miniaturisation in the field of control technology allows designers to build their machines and systems even smaller and more compact. Aiming at this goal, Beckhoff was showing an expanded line of IP20 I/O systems at SPS/IPC/Drives, with a new generation of Bus Terminals increasing the I/O packing density.

High Density bus terminals on display for the first time at SPS/IPC/Drives
High Density bus terminals on display for the first time at SPS/IPC/Drives

The new ‘High Density’ Bus Terminals feature 16 digital channels in the housing of an electronic 12 mm terminal block.

The consistent increase in the efficiency of electronics has reduced the power dissipation in the last few years to the extent that double packing density is possible today.

The 16-channel terminals are available both for Beckhoff Bus Terminals and for EtherCAT Terminals. They have identical external dimensions to existing bus terminals and are compatible with them.

Beckhoff design engineers managed to double of the number of channels with state-of-the-art contact technology and electronics.

The bus terminals are available in different versions, such as 16-channel terminals for digital inputs or outputs, or as 8-channel terminals for digital inputs or outputs with 2-wire connection or very flexible as combi terminals with eight digital inputs and eight digital outputs.

‘Tool-less’ assembly

HD Bus Terminals feature 16 digital channels in the housing of an electronic 12 mm terminal block
HD Bus Terminals feature 16 digital channels in the housing of an electronic 12 mm terminal block

Despite higher channel density, wiring is simpler due to ‘tool-less’ assembly.

The conductors are connected without tools for single-wire conductors using the direct plug-in technique—the cable is simply plugged into the contact point. The cables are released using the contact release with the aid of a screwdriver.

The usual colour coding for the signal types is also employed in the bus terminals and it is integrated into the LED display.

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Miniature PCI Express plug-in cards

In a separate announcement, Beckhoff was also showing new PCIe modules, also known as ‘PCI Express’ plug-in cards.

Just as the new bus terminals follow the trend towards smaller, more compact installations of I/O equipment, the trend is also favouring smaller and more compact industrial PCs. This calls for the implementation of the latest technologies in various control cabinet and Panel PCs.

Beckhoff's industrial PCI Express solution
Beckhoff's industrial PCI Express solution

In order to extend these PC series with additional useful interfaces without impacting the design, Beckhoff designers have developed very compact PCIe modules based on the PCI Express standard. These modules enable the Beckhoff control cabinet PCs and the Panel PC series to be extended with additional interfaces such as Ethernet ports.

The new PCIe modules are based on a new definition of highly integrated PCI Express plug-in cards. Unlike typical PCI or PCIe plug-in cards, the Beckhoff PCIe module is an industrialised solution that is optimised for industrial applications and is firmly attached to the inside of the PC via a plug connector bracket.

The CB3052 control cabinet PC motherboard, for example, reads up to four PCI Express channels and distributes the signals to the PCIe module slots or standard plug-in card slots. This results in PCs that can be designed with module slots and/or slots for plug-in cards. A PCIe module is connected to the motherboard via a PCI Express channel with a data transfer rate of 2 gigabit.

The first PCIe module presented by Beckhoff has two gigabit Ethernet ports. The module complements control cabinet PCs with two Ethernet ports. These PCs can then have up to seven Ethernet interfaces. Areas of application include automation solutions with EtherCAT or CP-Link 3, which facilitates Ethernet-based desktop transfer to different Panel PCs.

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