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Beckhoff Managing Director Hans Beckhoff addresses the media at Tuesday’s annual press conference.

Beckhoff Marks 20 Years of EtherCAT

April 19, 2023
The company touts its diverse product line at the annual Hannover press event.

The Beckhoff press conference at Hannover Messe each year is one of the highlights of the week, if for no other reason than the namesake founder of the company is front-and-center at the event.

Hans Beckhoff’s appearance each year brings the company’s 43-year growth curve into sharp focus. It is also a place where a little whimsy creeps into the proceedings. For his part, Beckhoff noted the presence of his two children at the press event and, after touting the 1.515 billion of sales in 2022, said, “and my children have promised me they won’t sell the company.”

Johannes Beckhoff was tasked with highlighting the technology accomplishments of the company, but cautioned, “I will present the product novelties, and my father will continue to interrupt me, as is always the case.”

Beckhoff’s milestones in 2023 took center stage at the press event. Besides topping 1 billion in sales for the second straight year, Beckhoff marked the 20th anniversary of EtherCAT, the company’s groundbreaking Ethernet-based motion control and automation standard. It has grown from an idea introduced at Hannover Messe in 2003 to a recognized protocol standard across manufacturing. Built on the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard, EtherCAT has been a flexible and powerful tool that has helped Beckhoff built its reputation over the past two decades.

The company continues to diversify, and it announced improvements to its XPlanar system that moves tiles across a magnetic field in and endless variety of configurations, and its new Atro robotics system, which breaks a robot arm into a variety of modular pieces and allows for instantly customizable configurations. The Atro modular robot was among the finalists for the 2023 Hermes Award at Hannover Messe.

During the press conference, Beckhoff officials declared itself a systems company, an industrial PC company, an I/O company and a motion company. In the end, Hans Beckhoff touted the global reach of his business and noted that, above all else, it is an engineering company. Of Beckhoff’s 5,680 worldwide employees, more than 2,200 are engineers.

Visit Machine Design's Hannover Messe hub for more event coverage.

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