In a ceremony in Beijing in October—hosted by the Instrumentation Technology & Economy Institute of the People's Republic of China and ITEI President Jinsong Ouyang—a representative of the Standardization Administration of China (SAC) announced EtherCAT as National Standard GB/T 31230 in China. The event brought numerous experts from a wide range of industries to the official guesthouse of the Chinese government to listen to the announcement from SAC Director Dr. Wei Sun.
In close cooperation with ITEI, several EtherCAT Technology Group member companies from China, as well as the local EtherCAT Competence Center at Beihang University in Beijing, contributed significantly to the completion of the standard, Wei Sun said.
“China is growing into the world’s largest automation market,” added Martin Rostan, executive director of the EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG). “We have seen an outstanding adoption rate of EtherCAT within this market in all kinds of applications, from machine controls, power generation and distribution, to mobile applications, scientific systems, and beyond.”
Becoming a recommended national standard in China will provide “even more local language access to the technology, and ensure acceptance in all publicly-funded projects,” Rostan said.
Several Chinese company representatives shared their experiences with EtherCAT systems and applications at the event. When Yunying Huang, vice president of Shenyang Machine Tool R&D Institute Shanghai, introduced the company’s new, intelligent i5 CNC machine tool entirely based on EtherCAT, he emphasized that performance, openness and the large product selection available from many of the world’s largest vendors were the main decisive factors for selecting EtherCAT.
Dr. Frank de Schepper, CEO of Wenzhou-headquartered SIBONAC Laser Technologies, which is also heavily involved in CNC applications, reported that “the EtherCAT protocol is open, easier to use, and faster than alternative protocols.”
Professor Ji Huan from Beihang University said, “Besides the performance, I see the main advantage of EtherCAT for Chinese users and implementers alike being the excellent support that the technology enjoys in China. Training classes and workshops, sample code, documentation, and implementation support, as well as test and certification services, are readily available.”
Beryl Fan, manager of the ETG China office in Beijing, said, “With over 400 local members, the ETG has grown tremendously in China, particularly over the past few years. Acceptance as a Chinese National Standard is a significant milestone for our organization. With this development, it will now be even easier for end users, manufacturers, and vendors to understand, implement and use EtherCAT in the future.”
ETG now has 1,000 member companies in Asia, Rostan said. Two successful EtherCAT Plug Fests, along with two Safety over EtherCAT seminars in Japan and Korea, highlight the widespread implementation of EtherCAT on the Asian continent.
EtherCAT Plug Fests are developer meetings conducted by the EtherCAT Technology Group. ETG events in Japan have seen particularly large growth, with significant increases in member attendance over the past four years, said Rostan. The EtherCAT Plug Fest in Japan, conducted for the first time in 2010, has reached the same attendance level as its European counterparts.
Florian Häfele from the ETG headquarters in Nuremberg, Germany noted that “at the 2014 Japanese EtherCAT Plug Fest, we had 10 different EtherCAT masters brought in for qualification. The high technical level of these implementations under test was remarkable.”
The Safety over EtherCAT seminars, conducted in Japan and Korea for the first time, were also very successful. More than 65 participants received information about safe data transmission via Safety over EtherCAT (FSoE), as well as a detailed update on the latest developments of the technology.
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