Functional safety over EtherCAT is certified

Aug. 20, 2021

The EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) reported July 22 that, following publication of the fourth edition of IEC 61784-3 in February, TÜV SÜD Rail GmbH has confirmed that the EtherCAT protocol for functional safety, Functional Safety over EtherCAT (FSoE), meets all of the extended requirements of the IEC standard without any changes.

FSoE was already internationally standardized within IEC 61748-3-12:2010 in 2010 as Functional Safety Communication Protocol (FSCP) 12 and is still valid in the original Edition 1.0. This review by TÜV SÜD confirms that FSoE also meets the new normative requirements of IEC 61784-3:2021 Ed. 4.0 without any changes, and is still suitable for use in applications up to Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 3, so full compatibility with devices from 2010 onwards is still ensured.

The FSoE protocol is based on the so-called "black channel" approach, in which the transport medium is not included in the safety considerations and therefore does not place any requirements on the nature of the communication system itself. Safety over EtherCAT therefore not only exists on the basis of EtherCAT, but is also frequently routed via other communication protocols and media, for example for machine networking via standard Ethernet or for connecting mobile machines via radio transmission.