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17 April, 2024

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Software EtherCat motion control is ‘transformative’

11 July, 2023

The Taiwanese edge computing specialist Adlink Technology has announced a software-defined EtherCat motion controller that, it claims, overcomes the limits of hardware-based controllers, extending maximum axis counts from 64 to 128 axes and achieving cycle times as short as 125μs. The company says that its SuperCat technology marks “a significant advancement in EtherCat control”, enhancing performance, and streamlining the integration of automation processes, while offering cost-effective hardware and “effortless” software configuration.

It adds that the “transformative” technology overcomes hardware limitations such as computing power and bandwidth, enabling seamless communication within systems and boosting performance and productivity in industries such as semiconductors, optoelectronics and electrical manufacturing.

The short cycle times will help to optimise jitter control and synchronous I/O performance, especially for vertical automation applications.

SuperCat can be integrated with RTOS (Real-time Operating System) to allow efficient multitasking, ensuring precise, deterministic execution. Multiple development teams can work simultaneously on motion control, machine vision and data processing and analysis.

SuperCat is said to be flexible in both its software functions and hardware configuration. The software offers three functional levels: point-to-point; interpolation; and application-ready packages. It is available in both USB and file license versions, accommodating different set-up preferences and hardware performance for industrial PCs using Intel Atom to Xeon processors. This allows users to choose the ideal combination for their application.

“The launch of the SuperCat series not only showcases Adlink's expertise in motion control technology, but also reflects our desire for ongoing innovation and reaching new heights,” says Simon You, director of the company’s Smart Machine Business Product Centre. “Our software-defined EtherCat solution redefines the possibilities of motion control and system integration, allowing our customers to unlock unprecedented performance, accelerate development cycles, and achieve significant cost savings.”

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