The old way of connecting components in a motion control system was to make individual wire connections between components, which was time consuming and tedious. So when networks for motion control came along it was a relief, simplifying design and saving time and money.
Here are four of the biggest benefits of using networks in motion control systems:
1) Perhaps the biggest and most obvious benefit is that using network cables is far easier than connecting together individual wires into complex systems. Plus, modular designs make it easy to switch out standardized cables and connectors for repair or troubleshooting. Networked systems are also much easier to set up and troubleshoot.
2) Motion control networks also offer a number of functional benefits which really come across in high-speed motion applications, things such as better synchronization, faster data transfer rates, as well as better accuracy and precision. Especially for multi-axis motion control where tight synchronization is critical, networks such as EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP, and Sercos are designed to be deterministic, minimizing jitter.
3) Especially for Ethernet-based systems, there is the benefit of being able to easily connect with other enterprise-wide IT systems, which helps share data across the factory floor and throughout the enterprise.
4) Networks, especially those based on open protocols, create more choices for end users. Third-party vendors can easily develop compatible hardware or software.