EtherCAT-based solution for the on-site measurement of compressed air

17 September 2013

Compressed air is used in nearly every area of industry – whether for driving, controlling, movement or transport. For efficient machine and plant processes, compressed air must be analysed and monitored as thoroughly as possible while being optimally integrated into the control system.

A compact all-in-one solution for this is the EP3744 EtherCAT Box. The IP67 rated module combines compressed air measurement, EtherCAT connectivity and digital I/Os for use directly in the process, outside of electrical cabinets.

In addition to six digital inputs and two digital outputs, the box has four pressure inputs with integrated 6mm fittings. The pressure is measured as the difference to the fifth pressure connection, which is fed via a hose into a protective housing for IP67 conformity. The measured data is provided in the form of 16-bit values which are transmitted in an electrically isolated manner to the controller. The measuring range is 0 to 1 bar, with a resolution of 1 mbar per digit.

This results in a compact, stand-alone device for the direct measurement and monitoring of pressure in the field. It eliminates the need for long routes or hose connections and isolation of electrical and pneumatic systems is easier to achieve. Further advantages of this system-integrated solution are the short reaction times – due to local measurement using only one A/D converter – as well as the EtherCAT connection and additional digital I/Os, integration into the control system is particularly efficient.

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