Fieldbus & Industrial Ethernet protocols
for multiprotocol capable SitaraTM microcontroller
Get your devices ready for industrial communication
Today‘s key factors in product development are availability, product quality and time-to-market. In particular the time-to-market factor is becoming more and more important and leads to shorter product life cycles and faster development of new products. The trend is therefore away from a rather rigid product development towards a flexible, modular platform strategy.
Texas Instruments‘ Sitara™ processor family forms such a platform that meets today‘s challenges, such as easy and flexible integration into different industrial networks. For Sitara, KUNBUS provides a wide range of fieldbus and Industrial Ethernet protocols that can be used to equip your automation device with Master or Slave/Device capabilities.
Sitara processor platform
The processors of the Sitara family from Texas Instruments have been developed as SOCs (System on a Chip) especially for industrial applications. The processors cover a wide range of applications and performance. The main CPU of a Sitara processor consists of one or more ARM cores of different types, as well as other co-processors. Starting with AMIC110 as communication controller with ARM Cortex-A8, the Sitara family scales up to the currently largest model AM6548 with four ARM Cortex-A53 cores, 2 Arm Cortex-R5F cores. Texas Instruments ensures long-term availability of processors according to industry standards.
The so-called ICSS (Industrial Communication Sub System) makes the Sitara family highly attractive for industrial applications. An ICSS consists of two RISC cores (PRU), each of which is directly coupled to an MII. This enables real-time communication, as required for many common industrial protocols, e.g. EtherCAT.
Key benefits using Sitara processor
- Control and communication tasks carried out by only one processor
- Scalable platform concept with wide performance range
- Multiprotocol capability
- Master & Slave capability
- Processor life cycle in excess of 10 years
However, the application is not limited to Ethernet-based protocols. Fieldbuses such as PROFIBUS or other real-time applications such as IO-Link or encoder interfaces such as EnDAT can also be implemented. The ICSS of the Sitara AM6x series even supports Gigabit Ethernet. This allows you to run various fieldbus, Industrial Ethernet and other industrial protocols parallel to your application on one controller.
The integrated real-time subsystem thus enables control and communication tasks to be mapped on a single chip. Expensive special hardware or FPGAs are no longer required. This saves space on the board and enables flexible product design. Last but not least, it saves manufacturing costs. The multi-protocol capability ensures fast and simple integration of different industrial networks such as PROFINET, EtherCAT or EtherNet/IP. This considerably reduces the development effort and your products are faster on the market.
The controller range consists of different series (e.g. AM65x). The controllers of one series have the same architecture and have the same ARM cores, e.g. ARM Cortex-A9 in the AM4x series. The individual models within a series differ in clocking, number of cores and other properties. The ICSS of the individual series are compatible with each other. The Sitara SDK from Texas Instruments offers a simple and constant interface.
If you want to scale your application or take parts of your application from an existing to a new one, porting within the Sitara family is child's play. In particular, a platform strategy for a large number of products with different requirements and performance data can be implemented smoothly. In addition to the ICSS, the Sitara controllers offer a variety of additional features. Some Sitara models offer comprehensive security mechanisms such as Secure Boot or a dedicated Crypto unit for common encryption and hashing algorithms.
Protocol stacks for Sitara
We offer software stacks for various fieldbus and Industrial Ethernet protocols. Currently PROFINET, EtherCAT and EtherNet/IP are available as slave/device versions. Further protocols are in the pipeline.
The software stacks are tailored to the Sitara platform and run on all current Sitara controllers. Together with the stacks, you receive a driver package for the respective controller and the operating system used. You can also use the stacks without the operating system. You get the package you want and don't have to make any adjustments yourself and you don't have to spend a lot of time searching for errors. This allows you to concentrate fully on your core competencies.
The stacks of the different protocols have largely identical interfaces (fieldbus-specific functions excluded). The adaptation effort for the integration of several protocols is therefore minimal. All this reduces your development efforts and enables a fast time-to-market.
The key advantages of KUNBUS stacks
- Ready adapted for Sitara platform
- Largely identical API for all fieldbus protocols
- Extensive support during implementation