Beckhoff Celebrates 25 Years of Bus Terminal I/O Technology

The electronic terminal block, which started as a revolutionary idea, is now a foundational component and global standard in automation technology.

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Even after 25 years, the versatile Bus Terminal and EtherCAT I/O technology from Beckhoff remains an indispensable and fundamental component of modern, modularly adaptable automation systems.
Even after 25 years, the versatile Bus Terminal and EtherCAT I/O technology from Beckhoff remains an indispensable and fundamental component of modern, modularly adaptable automation systems.

Just 25 years ago, Beckhoff had an idea that revolutionized the automation technology of the time: The Bus Terminal combined fieldbus technology with the proven terminal block principle for the first time. The final result was developed together with Wago Kontakttechnik. Beckhoff then presented the modular and open I/O system for space-saving, customizable and highly flexible configurations at the Hannover Messe trade show in 1995. 

As an industrial electronics and communication specialist, Beckhoff intentionally continued the advancement of the existing block module concept for the electronic terminal block. In itself, this significantly reduced cabling requirements for I/O installations. However, the new Bus Terminal concept went one step further: The aim was to replace the traditional modular terminal block with an electronic version.

When developing this innovation, Beckhoff drew on its many years of automation experience along with its specific expertise in fieldbus technology, communication technology, control cabinet construction and the development of industrial hardware and software. Thus, the process not only developed the complete hardware, software and K-Bus communication for the terminal system, but also a complete product family with Bus Couplers as well as Signal and System Terminals. The result was a fieldbus-independent, highly modular I/O system.

Following the introduction of the Beckhoff Bus Terminal in 1995, this technology quickly became a worldwide and universally accepted automation standard. This applies, in particular, to Beckhoff’s system concept: 25 years of development and application experience are reflected in the broadest I/O portfolio on the market. Bus and EtherCAT Terminal technology is used today in an extremely wide range of applications, from machine automation to Ethernet-based building automation and process technology. Contributing to this success has been both continuous development and close cooperation with customers, which has often given rise to new product ideas and developments. This successful collaboration has resulted in today's comprehensive IP20 and IP67 I/O portfolio from Beckhoff, which is still based on the original Bus Terminal idea.

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