Texas Instruments pushes POWERLINK

The AM335x ARM-Cortex A8 microprocessor family by Texas Instruments is the first single chip microcomputer with integrated POWERLINK master and slave functionality, eliminating the need for external circuitry. This makes it a giant step for industrial automation.” (PresseBox) ( Berlin, )
With their AM335x microprocessor family, Texas Instruments has recently announced an important step toward easier design of industrial automation applications, including the integration of the real-time Ethernet solution POWERLINK. This microprocessor family is cost-effective enough for use in generic I/O devices and has the power and graphics support required in controlling and HMI systems.

What makes it most attractive for industrial control designs is its integrated support for Industrial Ethernet. It features both master and slave functionality for POWERLINK. Communication is performed by the integrated Programmable Real-time Unit (PRU). This guarantees POWERLINK's uncompromised real-time properties without charging the CPU with the extra load.

"Integration of the protocol stack with the microprocessor's PRU considerably reduces the effort of designing powerful POWERLINK-compatible automation devices," says Sebastian Sachse, Technology Marketing Manager for POWERLINK. "As it makes dedicated ASIC designs unnecessary, it also saves time to market, board space and considerable cost."

Company background

The Ethernet POWERLINK Standardization Group (EPSG) is an independent organization founded in 2003 by leading companies from the fields of motion control and automation technology. Its aims are the standardization and further development of the POWERLINK protocol first introduced by B&R in 2001. This high-performance real-time communication system is an advanced protocol based on the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard designed to ensure real-time data transfer in the microsecond range. The EPSG cooperates with leading standardization organizations such as CAN in Automation (CiA) and the IEC. Anton Meindl, business manager of Controls at B&R, is the organization's CEO.
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