Press Release

23rd October 2014
Beckhoff at SPS IPC Drives 2014: Hall 7, Booth 406
EtherCAT I/O system from Beckhoff expands: new I/O solution increases efficiency for standard applications with medium and high volume production
‘Plug & Work’ – Bus Terminals for circuit boards
The EtherCAT plug-in modules from the new Beckhoff EJ series offer an efficient solution to implement platform concepts in large-scale machine production with many common parts, while retaining the possibility to configure variants. The “plug-in” modules are electronically-based on the well-known EtherCAT I/O system, while their design allows them to be directly attached to a circuit board. The circuit board is an application-specific signal distribution board that distributes signals and power to individual application-specific plug connectors in order to connect the controller to machine modules as required. Elaborate manual wiring of single wires, common in conventional control cabinet construction, is replaced by simply plugging in prefabricated cable harnesses. Unit costs are lowered, and the risk of incorrect wiring is reduced to a minimum by coded components.

In large-scale machine production, expenditures for replicating designed controller configurations is a significant cost factor. While traditional control cabinet wiring offers maximum flexibility and extendibility, this is not required when manufacturing hundreds of essentially identical machines. On the contrary, the manual wiring of mass-produced machines is a common source of errors and causes high labour costs.


The new EtherCAT plug-in modules introduce an efficient wiring solution into the series production of machines. In combination with industrially manufactured cable harnesses, the signal distribution board – a circuit board specially designed by the user or by Beckhoff – distributes signals and power supply between the EtherCAT plug-in modules and the machine. The unit costs are lowered through the automated production of circuit boards and cable harnesses. The risk of incorrect wiring is reduced to a minimum, since the EtherCAT plug-in modules and the plug connectors of the cable harnesses offer coding options.


The entire range of functions from the Beckhoff I/O portfolio, including functional safety solutions, can be implemented in an extremely compact form factor with the EJ series. Thanks to the board level pluggability, a nearly limitless combination of options can be selected and plugged in as needed. In addition, the EtherCAT plug-in module system is simple to maintain because it leverages standard, globally-accepted industrial Ethernet technologies.

Press picture

  • The signal distribution board replaces conventional point-to-point wiring between I/O and connector level. The connections are provided in the form of PCB tracks.

    Picture caption:

    The signal distribution board replaces conventional point-to-point wiring between I/O and connector level. The connections are provided in the form of PCB tracks.
  • The new EtherCAT plug-in modules from the Beckhoff EJ series reduce assembly and wiring costs and replace inflexible ‘black box’ solutions in standard machines.

    Picture caption:

    The new EtherCAT plug-in modules from the Beckhoff EJ series reduce assembly and wiring costs and replace inflexible ‘black box’ solutions in standard machines.
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