Easy real-time Powerlink Ethernet network connection
B+R adds real-time Ethernet connection to products, using a new Ethernet Powerlink slave for field program gate arrays (FPGAs).
With the Powerlink slave for FPGAs, B+R said it offers an ideal solution for automation component manufacturers, adding a real-time Ethernet connection to B+R products. The solution focuses on all cost-sensitive products such as extremely compact sensors with very few electronic parts, powerful drives or modular I/O bus connection modules, the company said.
The new Ethernet connection consists of a reference design that speeds up fast time-to-market and makes all of the features of the Powerlink technology easy to use. The user does not need detailed knowledge of Powerlink itself. A simple API, which can be used with a serial port (SPI) or an 8/16-bit µC interface, is included in the delivery and allows any host processor, such as ARM, x86 or DSPs, to be connected to a Powerlink network. Sensors with simple data links can be connected directly to the Powerlink FPGA and do not require an external micro-controller. The FPGA solution can handle additional tasks in the application and therefore further reduce total costs, the company said. The offer is supplemented with accompanying training measures, commissioning support, a business-level maintenance package and a B+R test system for getting the new Powerlink product up and running quickly.
Different from ASIC-based solutions, this provides an o"pen FPGA platform and manufacturer-independence. The explicit policy is that runtime licenses are not required. This is a decisive factor for many sensor manufacturers when selecting an Industrial Ethernet solution," said Stefan Schönegger, manager of the open automation business unit at B+R.