Kithara RealTime EtherCAT

EtherCAT® in real-time for Windows

Kithara RealTime EtherCAT is a modular real-time extension for Windows operating systems, with specific focus on real-time automation with EtherCAT®.

The required programming languages must be able to generate native x86 or x64 machine code, e. g. C/C++ or Delphi. The hardware-dependent and time-critical code needs to be transferred to a DLL, which is then loaded directly into the real-time context. This way the .NET environment is also supported, so that even C# can be used as programming language for the main parts of the application. 32-bit as well as 64-bit applications can be generated from a single uniform code base. Both versions are completely source code compatible—with a special module (KiK64) even binary compatible. The software provides immediate accessibility with program frameworks for programming languages as well as compilers listed below. Download the free trial version now!

Core features

  • Highly accurate real-time timer with frequencies over 20 kHz
  • Priority-based preemptive real-time multitasking
  • Real-time automation with specially developed EtherCAT® Master
  • Code execution at kernel level with C/C++ and Delphi (native code generation required)
  • Support for Windows 7, 8 and 10 with 32 or 64 bit. Request your non-binding upgrade offer now!
  • License management via online activation or USB dongle

Kithara RealTime EtherCAT is a special selection of modules from Kithara RealTime Suite. A customized combination is also possible.

Basic functions

Base/Kernel Module

  • Supports the following operating systems: Windows 7, 8 and 10 (32 and 64 bit), Server 2008 R2 as well as Embedded versions
  • Supports PIC and APIC hardware, NUMA multi-processor PCs, Hyper-threading, multi-core etc.
  • Functions for: opening the driver, execution of real-time code at kernel level, real-time memory management, device handling, version information, debugging support, system information
  • Application threads, events, callbacks, shared memory, data and message pipes, fast mutex objects

Further information …

Runtime Library

  • Mathematical/trigonometric and String-Memory functions in real-time
  • Supports application and kernel level

Further information …

System Module

  • Interception of system events, e. g. faults and system crashes at the kernel level (e. g. FailSafe-Handler/"BlueScreen-Handler")

Further information …

Timer and Multitasking

Clock Module

  • Monitoring the system time in different time and user-specific formats, resolution up to 0.10 μs
  • Highly accurate short time delays
  • Long-term synchronization of system clocks, synchronization with EtherCAT Distributed Clocks (DC) and IEEE 1588

Further information …

RealTime Module

  • Programming of highly accurate real-time timers by the highest system priority
  • Max programmable frequency higher than 20 kHz, Jitter in the microsecond range

Further information …

MultiTasking Module

  • Priority-based preemptive real-time multitasking
  • Max. 255 priority levels, avoidance of priority inversion by priority inheritance, dynamic priority adjustment
  • Events, semaphore, timer, support of multiple CPU cores, tasks can be assigned
  • Operation on one or multiple exclusively used CPU cores in real-time to avoid Windows influence
  • Max. task frequency up to 100 kHz and more, Jitter less than 1 μs in dedicated mode
  • Speedloop mode for highly accurate cyclic execution of real-time code up to 1 MHz on specific hardware

Further information …


Network Module

  • Ethernet communication up to 40 Gbit/s with any protocols, e. g. IP
  • Raw Ethernet as well as UDP/TCP (server and client protocols)
  • Event and request driven control, automatic determination of memory adrdresses through ARP-support
  • IP- and MAC-Multicast, Broadcast, Jumbo-Frames according to the used controller
  • Support of Intel- or RealTek-Network-Controller (hardware-support on request)
  • Support of BroadR-Reach

Further information …


EtherCAT Module

  • EtherCAT Master in real-time
  • Automatic determination of EtherCAT topology; Synchronization via XML file or SII protocol
  • Process and service data communication (PDO+SDO) as well as mailbox communication
  • CoE, EoE, FoE, SoE, DC, Safety-over-EtherCAT (TwinSAFE)

Further information …

EtherCAT Automation Protocol

  • EtherCAT® Automation Protocol
  • New level of connectivity in the field of automation systems
  • Transfer speed of e. g. 1000 Mbit/s and up to 40 Gbit/s

Further information …

Software Combination

Kithara RealTime EtherCAT comes with the following features:

  • The software can be combined freely from all availablemodules, few dependencies exist
  • The name of development and runtime filescan can be chosen freely
  • Simplified installation (no registry entry)
  • Regarding new versions, no modification is necessary
  • With the purchase of the module you will automatically receive a developer's license
  • Favourable price scale conditions for runtime licenses
  • Always state of the art software due to quarterly updates via download
  • Expandable at any time with additional modules


Real-time capability can only be achieved on the kernel level. For this purpose a programming language is required that is able to generate native x86 or x64 machine code, e. g. C/C++ or Delphi. Nevertheless Kithara RealTime Suite supports various platforms, for example a .NET environment. The solution is, to transfer the time-critical code into a DLL, which will be loaded directly into the real-time context at the kernel level. Kithara RealTime Suite provides all this functions. Instantly usable program frameworks for the platforms mentioned above are part of every software delivery.

System Requirements

The products of the RealTime Suite support a wide range of hardware and software combinations. If you have questions regarding the system support, please contact us!

Operating system

The software supports the following operating systems:

  • Windows 7, 8 and 10, each 32 and 64 bit, dedicated mode
  • Windows Server 2012, 2015, 2017, dedicated mode
  • Windows Server 2008 R2, 64 bit, dedicated mode


The software runs on the following hardware:

  • CPU: AMD (Athlon) or Intel (Pentium 2), 32 or 64 bit
  • Dual- or multi-core; optional hyper-threading with multi-core, currently up to 48 logical CPUs, higher on request
  • ACPI recommended (Advanced Control and Power Interface), APIC recommended (Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller). Some features require ACPI-APIC
  • the PC must be able to support PAE (Page Address Extension)
  • Using Gigabit-Ethernet up to 40 Gbit/s, controller of Intel and RealTek are generally supported


Immediately usable program frameworks for the following programming languages / compilers are included in the supplied software (other programming languages can be supported on request):

  • Visual Studio 20xx C++ with MFC user interface (supplied project files: VS 2010/12/13/15/17)
  • C++ Builder (Embarcadero, formerly Borland) VCL user interface
  • Delphi (Embarcadero, formerly Borland) VCL user interface
  • Visual Studio 20xx C# with WPF user interface (incl. C++ DLL for real-time execution, supplied project files: VS 2010/12/13/15/17)

In order to execute code in a real-time context, generally any compiler that can generate a DLL with native machine code, is usable. Furthermore, the Windows application can also be generated with other programming languages, such as C#.

EtherCAT® is a registered trademark of the EtherCAT Technology Group.
CANopen® is a registered trademark of the CAN in Automation e. V.
GigE Vision® is a registered trademark of the Automated Imaging Association.