What additional features and benefits does EtherCAT offer?
EtherCAT uses device profiles the same way EtherNet/IP and other CIP protocols use objects. The drive profiles allow a user to configure the EtherCAT network to their specific needs without “reinventing the wheel.”
The IEC standard 61518 describes Safety over EtherCAT (SoE). The SoE version of EtherCAT meets requirements of Safety Integrity Level 3. To achieve higher safety, SoE adds in safety information to the standard EtherCAT frame.
EtherCAT is easy to develop. No special hardware is needed for Master devices, and all that is needed to access slave devices is the EtherCat ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit).
While EtherCAT slave devices require a fairly large investment in design and development, upon implementation, EtherCAT can be very cost effective.