EC-Master for Beckhoff CX9020 Running Linux

The acontis market leading EtherCAT master stack EC-Master now supports the Beckhoff CX9020 controller series running Linux.

The Beckhoff CX9020 Embedded PC represents remarkably compact, state-of-the-art DIN rail-mountable controller. The fanless CX9020 is equipped with a powerful 1 GHz ARM Cortex™ A8 processor and is suitable for a wide range of MSR applications in small- and medium-sized machines, systems or buildings. The connection for the Beckhoff I/O systems is directly integrated into the CPU module. A multi-interface can be configured ex-factory, if required, offering scope for numerous optional extensions, from an audio interface up to the connection of fieldbus masters or slaves.

Rather than running Microsoft Windows and TwinCAT, the CX9020 can be equipped to run Linux and acontis now provides an out-of-the-box EtherCAT solution containing the high-performance master stack EC-Master and full-featured configuration and diagnosis tool EC-Engineer.

One key feature of this master solution is its extreme high-speed Ethernet drivers which are optimized for EtherCAT operation. EC-Master for CX9020 also supports its E-Bus EtherCAT interface where EtherCAT terminals can be directly connected. The E-Bus interface combined with the EC-Master high-speed Ethernet driver delivers impressive performance on the CX9020. For example, for a medium size EtherCAT network with 32 slaves the average execution time for the master stack is only 85 microseconds.

Acontis offers free evaluation versions, enabling developers and implementers the ability to extensively test and validate their products for their respective application. The evaluation versions can easily be requested via the acontis website here.

Beckhoff hosts a repository for the CX9020 Embedded Controller on Github with scripts and patches to build a Debian based Linux kernel. Acontis has recently committed updates to the repository that enable users to easily evaluate and test EC-Master on this platform.

With the acontis EtherCAT master software, in conjunction with a real-time operation system, the CX9020 becomes a powerful device where customers can build a broad range of applications for different markets like industrial control (PLCs, motion/CNC/robot controllers), entertainment stage control, semiconductor, medical applications (surgical robots), test and measurement (test benches, hardware in the loop simulation), and energy and aerospace applications.