Product time-to-market for the CC-Link IE Field gigabit open industrial Ethernet standard will now be even shorter than ever before, following the announcement of support for the network by two major semiconductor industry players. Renesas and Altima both showcased systems for CC-Link IE Field at the SPS/IPC/Drives 2012 fair in Nuremberg, Germany on the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) booth.
The focus is on on two key technologies widely used for the implementation of devices – Application Specific Standard Products (ASSP) and Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA). Both technologies are widely used in automation and allow a company to quickly develop a product or modify it to changing market demands.
ASSP is being offered by Renesas and is based on their R-IN32M3 series of devices that incorporate a number of technologies designed to increase performance and ease of use. These include features such as an Ethernet Accelerator and Real-Time OS Accelerator that provide up to 6.5 times higher performance than comparable software-based devices. The device also incorporates industry standard ARM Cortex-M3 technology, ensuring that development engineers have a familiar platform to work with. Renesas expects to make the devices available on a sample basis from January 2013.
FPGAs are complementary to ASSPs. Altima is well known for development of so called ‘IP (Intellectual Property) cores’ for FPGA devices. These are effectively the designs that configure an FPGA to perform a specific function. In the case of CC-Link IE Field, Altima offers an IP core which duplicates the functionality of the existing CP220 ASIC. By offering the CC-Link core, Altima offers companies the ability to quickly implement this network in supported FPGA-based devices, increasing design flexibility while decreasing time to market. The first device to be supported will be the Altera Cyclone IV E, a popular type widely used in the industry. Expected availability is March 2013.
CC-Link is an open automation network standard originally created in Japan by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. It offers high-performance, deterministic control of devices and equipment in manufacturing and production facilities and can also integrate with enterprise information networks to give total visibility of all functions. CC-Link is available in both industrial Ethernet and fieldbus formats and is now supported by over 250 manufacturers worldwide. It is used in industry around the world, and is particularly favoured throughout Asia including China and Japan.
For further information about the CC-Link IE Field gigabit open industrial Ethernet standard, please visit www.the-non-stop-open-network.com/.