EtherCAT - EtherCAT Overview/Features

By OMRON Electronics

Network Solutions for Control Automation Technology. Achieving "high-speed and high-precision" machine control through the world's highest level network solution.

Achieving "high-speed and high-precision" machine control through the world's highest level network solution

Perfectly suited to rapidly advancing machine control
EtherCAT provides high speed, expandability and flexibility

With the need to reduce takt times, improve yields and ensure traceability, the requirements for manufacturing systems are expanding.
To respond to these requirements, devices in the system are increasingly connected with networks.
However, for high-speed and high-precision applications such as motion control, it is necessary to adopt separate network in addition to the field networks.
EtherCAT, which can execute motion control in realtime, realizes high capacity communication required for field networks among a large number of nodes, while maintaining the high-speed synchronous-communication through its preeminent communication performance.
As an inter-system network that eliminates the barrier between motion networks and field networks, EtherCAT will contribute not only to a reduction of design works but also to a shortening of takt times.

World highest level network

EtherCAT with its strength in high speed control is a next-generation network able to achieve preeminent performance in motion control.

An Ethernet-based network with realtime control capability


  • 5-times faster Motion network communications speed over existing (MECHATROLINK-II) networks
  • Synchronization performance between the slaves: 1 μs max.


High-speed and high-precision communications


  • High speed Ethernet 100BASE-TX (100 Mbps)
  • Adoption of the On-the-Fly method that enables realtime control


Global open network


  • With over 1,300 member companies worldwide


Integrating field networks and motion networks
A new dimension to network in the system

Features of the EtherCAT

The EtherCAT is a high-performance field network able to connect drive devices, intelligent sensors and I/O devices using Ethernet technologies

Network specifications

• Communication speed: 100 Mbps 
• Communication standard: 100BASE-TX 
• Communication media: cat.5 , RJ45 
• Distance between nodes: 100 m max.

High Performance

High-speed communications


  • Preeminent high-speed communications
  • Precise and smooth motion control achieved with the industry's fastest level communication cycle
  • Over 5-times faster communications than other companies' motion networks

Management of on-site device dataIntelligence

Message transmission can be handled while real-time control is executed. The operation of on-site devices can be monitored and parameters can be configured via the network.


Simple and Capable

Expanding applications, not limited for motion control


  • The large-capacity communication among multiple axes and multiple nodes can be handled at a high-speed. 
    The feature is favorable for large-scale systems, too.
  • The distance between nodes can be extended up to 100 m.
  • Flexible communication specification allows a wide variety of devices to join the same network. 
    The connectable devices involve drive devices such as Servo Drives and Inverters, I/O devices, and other intelligent devices, including Vision Sensors.



Open Network

Global open network


  • The EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) is expanding the EtherCAT network on global scale. 
    They are working in Germany where their headquarter is, and in Japan, the United States, China, and South Korea.
  • Over 1,300 member companies worldwide have joined this activity.