Multi-protocol industrial Ethernet communication

Jon Lawson

Texas Instruments has launched a family of system-on-chip devices that support ten different industrial communications protocols in a single chip.

The Sitara AMIC110 SoC helps developers convert existing non-networked designs, such as motor drives to networked systems, by adding industrial Ethernet or other fieldbus standards.

Unlike custom ASICs, which may only support a single industrial Ethernet standard, AMIC110 SoC’s programmable real-time unit (PRU-ICSS) supports EtherCAT, Profinet, Ethernet/IP, PROFIBUS master and slave, HSR, PRP, POWERLINK, SERCOS III and CANopen, and more protocols are in development.

As the market moves to Industry 4.0, a programmable solution opens the door for designs to support more standards with no or minimal hardware changes.

The device family makes use of the same peripherals, industrial temperature ranges and unified software support in the rest of the Sitara family, based around a 300MHz ARM Cortex-A8 32bit processor core with ARM’s NEON SIMD Coprocessor to handle the protocols.

The AMIC110 can serve as a companion communication device to a microcontroller such as TI’s C2000 MCU for connected drive applications.

By combining the C2000 LaunchPad development kit and the AMIC110 industrial communication engine (ICE) development board, developers can create a highly integrated and scalable Industry 4.0-ready system.

TI has developed an EtherCAT Slave and Multiprotocol Industrial Ethernet Reference Design that uses the AMIC110 alongside the DP83822 Ethernet PHY device and an optional microcontroller such as the C2000.

The design uses an SPI interface with flexibility to run EtherCAT slave stack with onboard AMIC110 processor or external processor and uses a single power management chip to supply the entire board from a pre-regulated 5-V supply.

This provides a total board power consumption of less than 1.25W in typical use case with no heatsink required for operation up to 85˚C.