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Toyota opts for EtherCat as its global Ethernet standard

05 May, 2016

The world’s largest car-maker, Toyota, has decided that EtherCat will be its industrial Ethernet technology of choice and that it will base all of its new factories worldwide on this communications technology. Announcing the decision at the recent Hannover Fair, Morihiko Ohkura, general manager of Toyota’s production engineering innovation division, said that it was based on a “thorough” analysis of various industrial Ethernet technologies.

“I believe the performance, determinism and simple wiring characteristics of EtherCat – in addition to its openness – best fit with the needs of Toyota to evolve production systems with Industrial IoT concepts,” he said.

Ohkura added that EtherCat will be an essential part of Toyota’s new IoT deployment strategy. It was therefore “critical” for the company to be able to source EtherCat components in a timely manner. “We strongly encourage our suppliers to prepare high-quality EtherCat components with competitive cost,” he said.

Toyota’s decision to standardise on EtherCat has been influenced by the latest addition to the technology – EtherCat P, which combines signals and power supplies in one cable. “The concept of integrating communication and power lines perfectly matches our lean production philosophy,” Ohkura said. “Simply put: the fewer cables, the better.” EtherCat P, which was developed by Beckhoff Automation, has been adopted recently by the EtherCat Technology Group (ETG), which is drawing up a formal specification for it.

ETG executive director Martin Rostan with Toyota’s Morihiko Ohkura at the Hannover Fair announcement

Ohkura also announced that Toyota is going to take an active role in the ETG.

According to ETG executive director, Martin Rostan, “the significance of Toyota’s choice to standardise on EtherCat and EtherCat P cannot be overstated.” He predicted that the move “will further accelerate the global adoption of EtherCat within the automotive industry and beyond.”

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