Bernecker+Rainer, Altera form partnership to add automation flexibility

Bernecker+Rainer Industrie-Elektronik GmbH (B&R) and Altera GmbH recently created a partnership to develop programmable components for industrial PCs, controllers, drive systems, and industrial networks based on the Ethernet Powerlink protocol.


Bernecker+Rainer Industrie-Elektronik GmbH (B&R) and Altera GmbH recently created a partnership to develop programmable components for industrial PCs, controllers, drive systems, and industrial networks based on the Ethernet Powerlink protocol.

Altera has also become a member of the Ethernet Powerlink Standardization Group (EPSG), so it can work actively with the real-time industrial Ethernet standard, and offer optimized components for implementing Ethernet Powerlink systems. This cooperation focuses on current and planned Altera products using its integrated, 32-bit RISC processor, such as its NIOS solution.

Klaus Bode, B&R's purchasing manager, says he sees advantages in implementing Altera's field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) in its systems. These technical advantages and competitive prices helped B&R decide to seek the partnership.

"The high degree of integration included in Altera's technology corresponds 100% to our vision of flexible and programmable system solutions," says Eduard Pexa, B&R's design manager. "The ASICs we've used up to now are becoming more and more obsolete for cost and performance reasons. The scope of functions provided by Altera's FPGAs, drastically reduced up-front costs, and shorter development times allow us to respond more flexibly to market changes, and at lower cost, while reducing actual time-to-market."

B&R has used FPGAs for many years already, but the new opportunities presented by Altera's FPGAs make it possible to provide low-cost complete systems that can be programmed on one chip. "This strategic cooperation with B&R provides Altera with a strong partner in automation engineering," adds Udo Renz, Altera's managing director. "They know exactly what users need, as well as which demands will have to be met, in this market segment in the future. For example, the Ethernet Powerlink Initiative introduced by B&R represents an extremely promising platform for Altera. We can implement this leading real-time industrial Ethernet technology on the basis of FPGA, which was unusual up until now, but is also something we can do both flexibly and at low-cost."

—Jim Montague, news editor, Control Engineering,

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