The R-IN32M3-EC, which is designed for the industrial Ethernet-protocol EtherCAT, includes a special real-time OS offload engine and a 2-port 10/100 Mbps Ethernet media access control (MAC).
Software solutions for the EtherCAT protocol, an industrial Ethernet communication standard developed by Beckhoff, an industrial equipment manufacturer based in Germany, needs a very high CPU performance due to the high real-time requirements. For this reason, Renesas integrates for the first time a so-called OS offload engine that takes over the complete EtherCAT communication.
The actual CPU, an ARM Cortex-M3 (100 MHz), is therefore fully relieved and is entirely sufficient for the remaining tasks. Overall, this combination results in five to ten times faster reaction times compared to the use of a conventional real-time operating system implemented in software. At the same time, the processing speed is increased five to ten times and an extremely accurate adherence of real-time timings is ensured.
The R-IN32M3-EC has a corresponding media access control (MAC) including low-latency 2 port switch function for this task as well as additional communication interfaces such as CAN, SPI and UART. Thus, the R-IN32M3-EC can also be used as gateway module for an industrial Ethernet network.
In order to enable a cost-effective overall system, the R-IN32M3-EC can be booted from a serial flash memory. Furthermore, the device has a 768 KB on-chip RAM, from which the entire application software can be executed. Additional memory that may be required can be connected via the external bus interface.
The HW-RTOS driver is µITRON compliant. Support for additional operating systems is being developed. Samples of the R-IN32M3-EC low-power industrial Ethernet communication chip will be available in January 2013 and mass production is scheduled to begin in June 2013.
Source: MSC Vertriebs GmbH