Low-power industrial Ethernet communication chips features integrated real-time OS offload engine

November 26, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
Renesas Electronics has introduced the low-power R-IN32M3 series of industrial Ethernet communication chips with support for multiple communication protocols in response to the rapid adoption of industrial Ethernet communication technology.

One of the features of the R-IN32M3 is the high-speed operation with the basic function of the real-time OS in hardware to implement high-speed real-time response and high-precision communication control for industrial Ethernet communication. Because the hardware in the new R-IN32M3 series covers heavy load operations for the CPU, the combination of the CPU and integrated real-time OS offload engine (HW-RTOS) result in ultra-high-speed real-time responsiveness five to ten times that of a conventional software real-time OS. In addition, the fluctuation caused by inconsistencies in the operation time with conventional CPU processing is reduced substantially from one-fifth to one-tenth of the previous level.

The new R-IN32M3 series include an integrated ARM Cortex-M3 CPU (100 MHz). The new Ethernet controllers accept protocols for industrial Ethernet communication such as CC-Link IE and EtherCAT and will accept the control area network (CAN) which is heavily used in industries and generic interface such as universal asynchronous receiver transmitter (UART). There are also plans to provide support for the SSCNET III/H optical network standard, which uses fully synchronous communication to deliver improved performance.

The industrial Ethernet communication market, which demands faster communication between devices and their efficient central control, is growing rapidly because there is increasing need to boost factory production efficiency and improve the precision of machine control. Increasing high-speed real-time responsiveness and reducing processing time deviation in communication and machine control are particularly important issues. Also, cutting costs, reducing power consumption, and improving safety are much more important than in other markets. The newly developed R-IN32M3-CL and R-IN32M3-EC are designed to meet the industrial network market requirements.

Industrial Ethernet communication applications require support for a large number of tasks, high-speed time synchronization, and low power consumption. By implementing real-time OS processing in hardware, which previously imposed a substantial load on the CPU, and standard Ethernet communication protocol processing such as checksum calculation and header sorting, processing speed is increased five to ten times.