Third-Party EtherCAT Drives Support

For a filterable list of our currently supported EtherCAT nodes please visit: If you do not see the node you want to use there you can reach out to us at [email protected] to inquire about what it would take for the node to be integrated into our motion controller. RSI provides a more streamlined and unified way to interact with the various types of EtherCAT devices that are out there with our API. From a software perspective, all RapidCode Axis objects behave the same regardless of manufacturer. This minimizes the amount of changes to your software application that would be required if you have to swap drive manufacturers.
However, because EtherCAT is a somewhat loose standard, drive manufacturers may differ significantly on what PDO's are offered and how best to communicate with a drive. For this reason, some drives may require additional integration steps before they can be used with our motion controller. We can add support for any EtherCAT device however some complex nodes may require additional time or a purchase order before they can be integrated. Simple drives with ESI files that adhere well to the DS402 standard can often be integrated easily. Advanced RMP users may be able to integrate some nodes that do not require changes to compiled code changes on their own.
If there is an un-integrated node on your network it will appear as "Unknown" in the tree view of Rapid Setup. If emailing us about potentially adding support for the node adding the following information can help speed up the process: - Attaching a copy of the *.esi file - A link to the manufacturer's drive page and/or drive documentation - If you have the drive discovered in your EtherCAT network the Vendor, Product Code, and Revision Number as reported over EtherCAT by the drive.
Where to find vendor, product, and revision information after a network discover.
To integrate a drive the file NodeInfo.xml will need to be edited so our controller knows how to talk communicate with the drive over EtherCAT. Varying amounts of PDO data can be mapped here more mappings can provide additional features but also increase EtherCAT network traffic.
After RMP 10.3.10 the new CustomNodeInfo.xml feature allows users to create an integration specific to their needs that will take precedence over any implementation in NodeInfo.xml. This allows for easier upgrading between versions as well as you can simply copy the CustomNodeInfo.xml to the new install directory and have the benefits of any compatibility with newly integrated rives without having to open NodeInfo.xml and edit it.
Example of a CustomNodeInfo.xml file
In order to achieve a basic integration of an EtherCAT drive the *.esi file will need to be added to your C:\RSI\X.X.X\ESI folder and drive specific PDO mappings will need to be defined in either NodeInfo.xml or CustomNodeInfo.xml. In order to have full integration including support for drive specific error messages a new compiled release of the RMP controller will be required. Reach out to [email protected] if this is needed.