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Why use a standard such as CANOpen?

What is the big advantage to using an open standard such as CANOpen? In a word, interoperability. You should be able to mix and match CANOpen products from many different vendors. This has many benefits such as:

  1. Reduced dependence on any one vendor. If a vendor goes bankrupt, stops making a product line, or increases its prices, it’s much easier to replace it with a similar product based on the same standard. For example, an AMC drive is not a drop in replacement for a Copley, but it’s a lot easier to swap them than, say, replace MEI PC/DSP motion controller with a Galil machine controller.
  2. Much wider range of products available. For example, many proprietary distributed drive manufacturers do not sell I/O. Or they only sell low current or low voltage drives.

Of course, not everything is perfect. There are not CANOpen products for every need. Combining CANOpen products is not as easy it should be. I will write about specific examples later.

Tony

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