MPUs for industrial Ethernet simplify implementation of network functionality

10-08-2022 | Renesas | Semiconductors

Renesas Electronics Corporation now offers the RZ/N2L MPUs for Industrial Ethernet communication making it simple to add network functionality to industrial equipment and devices. The devices comply with many industry-standard specifications and protocols to aid the development of industry automation devices that need real-time capabilities. The new products support the increasingly popular TSN Ethernet standard that provides real-time communication. The new devices, with an integrated TSN-compliant three-port Gigabit Ethernet switch and an EtherCAT slave controller, support all major industrial network communication protocols, including EtherCAT, PROFINET RT, EtherNet/IP, and OPC UA, and the new PROFINET IRT.

By utilising the MPU as a companion chip complementing the host CPU, customers may add Industrial Ethernet functionality to their equipment with no major changes to its internal configuration. This allows customers to develop industrial equipment using rapid and precise synchronised control for factory automation.

“Revising the full design of equipment to implement Industrial Ethernet functionality creates a substantial development burden in terms of both time and cost,” said Hitoshi Shirakabe, vice president of the Industrial Automation Business Division at Renesas. “To address this challenge, Renesas developed the RZ/N2L, which is optimised as an add-on to existing systems. I am confident that it will enable customers to quickly deploy cutting-edge industrial networks with minimal system modifications.”

“I anticipate that the RZ/N2L, which supports the fast-growing TSN standard, will further accelerate the spread of Ethernet in the factory automation market,” said Dietmar R. Franke, CEO/CFO at port industrial automation GmbH. “We are planning to release GOAL middleware for the RZ/N2L targeting multi-protocol real-time communication to help our customers implement Industrial Ethernet communication technology to their devices.”

Optimised as a Dedicated Networking Companion Chip

The RZ/N2L has parallel and serial host interfaces that connect to the host CPU for external applications. This enables a direct connection between the RZ/N2L and the CPU for high-speed access. Also, the external CPU can directly access communication data stored in the system RAM of the MPU. Since it can perform network processing independently of the external CPU, Industrial Ethernet may be added to systems without requiring major changes to the existing application software.

The device is constructed around the Arm Cortex-R52 with a maximum operating frequency of 400MHz. It combines large capacity ECC RAM and peripheral functions such as a delta-sigma interface, A/D converter, and PWM timer, enabling the MPU to be employed as a standalone device to develop applications, including remote I/O, sensor hubs, and inverters. The UART and CAN functions allow the device to serve as a gateway for converting from a fieldbus based on RS485 or CAN to Industrial Ethernet.

The MPU can also be employed as an MPU that supports functional safety. The company’s functional safety solutions, such as self-diagnostic software for the MPU, functional safety platform software soon to be offered, and secure networks, can decrease the time and workload associated with development.