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MPUs for industrial Ethernet simplify network functionality

New Products |
By Rich Pell

Renesas Electronics has announced the RZ/N2L microprocessor units (MPUs) for Industrial Ethernet communication that are designed to make it easy to add network functionality to industrial equipment and devices. The RZ/N2L devices comply with many industry-standard specifications and protocols to facilitate the development of industry automation devices that require real-time capabilities.

The new products support the increasingly popular Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) Ethernet standard that ensures real-time communication. Equipped with an integrated TSN-compliant 3-port Gigabit Ethernet switch and an EtherCAT slave controller, the new devices also support all major industrial network communication protocols, such as EtherCAT, PROFINET RT, EtherNet/IP, and OPC UA, as well as the new PROFINET IRT.

By using the RZ/N2L as a companion chip complementing the host CPU, says the company, user can add Industrial Ethernet functionality to their equipment without major changes to its internal configuration, enabling them to develop industrial equipment utilizing rapid and precise synchronized control for factory automation.

“Revising the full design of equipment in order to implement Industrial Ethernet functionality creates a substantial development burden in terms of both time and cost,” says Hitoshi Shirakabe, Vice President of the Industrial Automation Business Division at Renesas. “To address this challenge, Renesas developed the RZ/N2L, which is optimized as an add-on to existing systems. I am confident that it will enable customers to quickly deploy cutting-edge industrial networks with minimal system modifications.”

The RZ/N2L MPUs have both parallel and serial host interfaces that connect to the host CPU for external applications. This allows direct connection between the RZ/N2L and the CPU for high-speed access. In addition, the external CPU can directly access communication data stored in the system RAM of the RZ/N2L. Since the RZ/N2L can perform network processing independently of the external CPU, Industrial Ethernet can be added to systems without the need for major changes to the existing application software.

The RZ/N2L family is built around the Arm Cortex-R52 with a maximum operating frequency of 400 MHz. It integrates large capacity ECC RAM and peripheral functions such as a delta-sigma interface, A/D converter, and PWM timer, allowing the RZ/N2L to be used as a standalone device to develop applications such as remote I/O, sensor hubs, and inverters. The UART and CAN functions enable the RZ/N2L to serve as a gateway for converting from a fieldbus based on RS485 or CAN to Industrial Ethernet.

The RZ/N2L devices can also be used as an MPU that supports functional safety. The company’s functional safety solutions such as self-diagnostic software for the RZ/N2L, functional safety platform software soon to be offered by Renesas and secure networks can reduce the time and workload associated with development. The company says it plans to release a functional safety solution for the RZ/N2L in 2023.

The company has released two new “Winning Combinations” with working PoC (proof of concept) boards using the RZ/N2L devices. These solutions use complementary Renesas devices that work together seamlessly.

The Gigabit Industrial Ethernet SOM Solution uses the company’s power management ICs, photocouplers, EEPROM and other mixed signal devices to provide a configurable industrial Ethernet in SOM + Carrier board architecture. This solution has two Gbit Ethernet interfaces and Pmod & Arduino interfaces to build a system with different peripherals. It also uses a single configurable power supply to support different RZ MPUs.

The 220V AC Servo Solution integrates motor control and EtherCAT to provide high-speed and high-precision motor control through time-sensitive industrial Ethernet communications. It includes a physically isolated motor encoder, power drive and system control blocks with high degree interconnect. Using this monolithic solution helps reduce bill of materials cost, when compared to a two-chip system that handles motor control and EtherCAT separately.

The company provides these solutions together with reference circuits, Gerber, and sample program code to accelerate product development. The RZ/N2L MPUs are available now. The Renesas Starter Kit+ for RZ/N2L, which is ideal for initial evaluation of applications, is also available today.

Renesas Electronics


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