EtherCAT and TINtime Provide Slave EtherCAT Functionality on a Windows PC

Through a recent development by Koenig-PA of Feucht, Germany, TenAsys Corp.’s INtime real-time operating system (RTOS) has enabled a new dimension of flexibility and computing power for users of the EtherCAT fieldbus. With its new KPA module, Koenig is enabling Windows computers to operate as an EtherCAT slave. Koenig’s PCI module and the EtherCAT software utilize TenAsys’ INtime software to work alongside Windows as a slave module to maintain a high-performance, deterministic real-time interface to the EtherCAT fieldbus. This makes it possible for EtherCAT slaves to support new high-level functions, such as those required by simulation, high-speed data acquisition, and frame-grabber applications.

TenAsys’ INtime RTOS employs features built into the Intel® processor architecture to isolate the Windows and real-time computing environments. In doing so, it protects the determinism of real-time processes from being affected by non-deterministic Windows tasks. In multicore systems, the INtime RTOS runs exclusively on a single core while the remaining cores run Windows. It thereby ensures that 100% of the processing bandwidth of the real-time core is available for real-time processes.;