IO-Link is the new standard serial digital communications protocol used for sensors and actuators in industrial automation systems. IO-Link offers the following key advantages:
• Compatible integration into existing fieldbus or Industrial Ethernet environments
• Process, parameter and diagnostics data in one cable
• Compatible cabling to existing sensor communication
Renesas Electronics’ master solution is the world’s first single chip device to integrate a complete two-channel master transceiver along with the master software stack operating on the 78K0R CPU core. As a result, it significantly reduces the required board space. The concept allows development of a scalable solution with up to 32 channels when combining several of the IO-link master chips via a single SPI based sum protocol. Alternatively, system designers can connect an upper layer device through the UART protocol. The key benefit for the system designer is the offload of the master related stack functions from a central controller that usually operates the application software of an IO module or IO box and the uplink protocol such as PROFINET or Ethernet/IP.
The master stack - currently under development by TMG Karlsruhe - will support IO-Link Version 1.1. Alternatively, system designers can develop and maintain their own software stacks. The transceiver integrates significant analogue components, which enable system designers to eliminate the use of additional external components and develop a complete IO-Link master product at low cost.
To support system designers in using the IO-Link single-chip solution, Renesas Electronics provides a comprehensive development kit at lower cost than most of the other kits on the market. The 78K0R kit is available from Q1 FY2011 onwards and supports developments for the new master lineup.
Renesas Electronics is well placed to enable system designers to quickly and easily achieve differentiated designs using the only single-chip two-channel master IO-Link solution available on the market.