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Infineon MCUs claim to streamline EtherCAT implementation

Posted: 12 Feb 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Infineon Technologies? EtherCAT? MCU? factory automation? motor control?

Infineon Technologies AG has developed the XMC4300 MCU series that promises to minimise EtherCAT implementation complexity and cost. According to the company, the XMC4300 is intended for cost-sensitive industrial applications that also make high demands on design flexibility, connectivity and real-time performance, without sacrificing EtherCAT communication features.

Target applications of the device include factory automation, industrial motor control, I/O modules and robotics. The XMC4300builds on the XMC4800 series, which places special emphasis on communication and actuators and sensors.

The XMC4300 and XMC4800 claim to be are the industry's first MCUs with integrated EtherCAT node on an ARM Cortex-M processor with on-chip flash and analogue/mixed signal capabilities. Both series enable compact designs because they require no additional components such as dedicated EtherCAT ASIC, external memory or a quartz clock generator to start up the EtherCAT slave controller. An integrated PLL supplies the EtherCAT IP with the necessary 25MHz clock. Code is executed from the Cortex-M4 processor at 144MHz from the integrated RAM or flash memory.

The XMC4300 and the XMC4800 offer an elegant solution for implementation in mixed networks with CAN and EtherCAT, noted the company. They allow a gateway from CAN to EtherCAT to be efficiently established through DMA transfers. The XMC4300 offers 256kbyte of Flash and 128kbyte of RAM memory. It features two CAN nodes with up to 64 message objects to be organised into send/receive FIFO. Hence, communication takes place largely without interaction with the CPU. The XMC4300 series is certified for an ambient temperature of up to 125C.

The two devices of the XMC4300 series vary in temperature range, with up to 85C and up to 125C, respectively. They are available in a LQFP-100 package and are pin and code compatible with those of the XMC4800 series.

For both, the XMC4300 and the XMC4800, volume production has started. All XMC4300 and XMC4800 MCUs will be AEC Q100 qualified and therefore suited for commercial, construction and agricultural vehicles.

Infineon offers a development board, the XMC4300 Relax EtherCAT Kit, and suitable software development tools for immediate EtherCAT node setup. The XMC4300 Relax EtherCAT Kit is equipped with an XMC4300 and an on-board debugger, EtherCAT, CAN node and USB. As of February end, the kit is available from Infineon distributors or from the XMC Kit website. For software development, Infineon offers the DAVE development environment with libraries for low-level drives and apps free of charge. For EtherCAT, DAVE uses slave stack code (SSC) from Beckhoff. In addition to the free development environment, commercial EtherCAT slave stacks are on offer from established third-party manufacturers.

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