TIM-EC Torque Interface Module Available with Intercommunication Mode and Coupler functionality

The demands on modern test benches in the automotive industry are constantly rising - realistic simulations are increasingly hard on the drive train. Typical examples of realistic simulations include: 

  • Vibrations in the drive train during coupling and switching processes
  • Modern driver assistance systems such as ABS and ESP 
  • Dynamic processes during braking or accelerating on different road surfaces.

 All of these processes affect a vehicle's drive train. To investigate these influences and effects, test benches must simulate and measure dynamic processes . This places high demands on both the dynamic characteristics of the test bench components as well as the test and measurement equipment and sensors used for torque and rotational speed measurement.

Integrated Torque and Rotational Speed

TIM-EC torque interface module

In addition to the classic output signals torque transducers from HBM feature a Torque Measurement Communication (TMC) digital interface to improve flexibility. They can integrate with automation and control environments through both classic signals, such as frequency and voltage, and modern Ethernet-based field bus technology, such as EtherCAT. Integration is based on the modular and highly flexible TIM-EC interface concept.

TIM-EC is a two-channel EtherCAT interface module. RS-422 compatible rotational speed signals from series T40 torque transducers can connect to each other in addition to the TMC digital torque signal. The following measured values are available on the EtherCAT bus:

  • Torque
  • Rotational speed
  • Angle of rotation
  • Power

The measured values specified above are transmitted in cyclic mode. Two low-pass filters (TP1, TP2) are available for the torque and rotational speed values; they can be set independently of one another.

Coupler Functionality

The TIM-EC torque interface module now provides coupler functionality. The measurement data stream from series T40 torque transducers is available on the interface module's backplane bus (10+2 interface). This module takes over the coupler function, making the torque transducer's measurement data stream available to other connected torque interface modules.

Fig. 1: Torque measurement technology - Coupling of different networks

Incoming torque and rotational speed values can be scaled, filtered, configured and parameterized at the interface modules -individually and without reaction. This setup is useful, for example, when the measurement values of a torque transducer need to be available to different networks.

Importantly, measurement values can be optimally and independently adapted to the respective measurement task, such as for control or automation.

Moreover, the setup is a prerequisite for future mixed operation of different powerful Industrial Ethernet networks with a torque transducer. It allows simultaneous operation of a torque transducer in an EtherCAt and a PROFINET network, ensuring real-time communication between the two networks. The newly integrated intercommunication functionality, also called TIM-to-TIM communication - sets new standards for flexibility.

To enable TIM-to-TIM intercommunication mode and the corresponding functionality to be assigned, the interface modules require configuration via an integrated web server.  This server is used for parameterization of the EtherCAT interface modules, eliminating the need for additional software installation. Hence, the TIM-EC can be connected, parameterized, tested and analyzed using a standard PC with Ethernet board. Every module is configured independently via the integrated Ethernet interface. All modules are set to "Master" at the factory or when operated as a single device. 

Fig. 2: Parameterization in the web server

Survey of Configuration Modes

The interface module with the connected torque transducer must be configured as "Super-Master" (coupler) and the module without torque transducer as "Slave".

Master mode >>>>>> Default

  1. Super-Master mode >>>>>>> Intercommunication
  2. Slave mode >>>>>>>> Intercommunication

The Super-Master handles the data in the setup and delivers the measurement data stream via the backplane bus (10+2 bus). Furthermore, only the head-end station configured as Super-Master has full access to the connected torque transducer. For example, the shunt signal can only be triggered by the Super-Master.

The Slave listens to the communication data stream between torque sensor and Super-Master. It behaves virtually as a "listener" in the setup.


The TIM-EC torque interface module is an extremely powerful system that integrates highly dynamic torque and rotational speed signals with a consistent, powerful network structure. The new intercommunication functionality, with the coupling of different networks including EtherCAT, sets new standards for flexibility in torque measurement technology. Furthermore, the future possibility of coupling different Industrial Ethernet-based solutions, such as EtherCat with Profinet networks further increases flexibility. 

In addition to process data, comprehensive diagnostic information is available to users by default. And with powerful real-time hardware, TIM-EC supports bus cycle times of  ≤ 20 kHz and, in addition, minimizes messaging latency. The system thus offers the dynamics required to simulate highly dynamic driving and load cycles, while the integrated web server facilitates handling and parameterization, eliminating the need for software installation.

EtherCAT and torque measurement

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