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Micro-controllers for industrial control

Automotive MCUs with ISO CAN FD interfaces have been announced by several chipmakers. Infineon and Spansion have also launched industrial chips.

The XMC4000 series might be the first industrial MCU line featuring the ISO CAN FD protocol (Photo: Infineon)

THE CAN FD PROTOCOL TO BE STANDARDIZED IN ISO 11898-1 is called ISO CAN FD. This version is different from the non-ISO CAN FD protocol, which doesn’t provide additional safeguards. Bosch has already finished its M_CAN core. The automotive supplier also offers the C-CAN FD8 core limiting the payload to 8 byte.

Infineon is one of the first companies launching two series of CAN FD micro-controllers for industrial applications: XMC4000 and XMC1000. The low-priced XMC 1000 series (in the 1-€ range in volumes) provides up to two CAN FD ports. The other family of more powerful micro-controllers features up to three CAN FD interfaces. Both implementations currently support the non-ISO CAN FD version. According to Infineon representatives, there are plans to upgrade the XMC4000 MCUs to the ISO CAN FD protocol. Perhaps the chipmaker will use the optional TTCAN core for this purpose. Those chips will be available soon. The smaller XMC1000 family will be updated later. Nothing is scheduled yet.

The XMC4000 series might be the first industrial MCU line featuring the ISO CAN FD protocol (Photo: Infineon)

Spansion, soon to be integrated into Cypress, plans to migrate from non-ISO CAN FD to the standardized protocol, too. For automotive applications, both versions will be on-chip. In future, the industrial micro-controllers of the FM4-series will support ISO CAN FD. But there is no scheduled date yet, according to Wolf Fronauer.

Nevertheless, manufacturers of industrial devices can start the development of protocol stacks such as CANopen FD and application software including IEC 61131-3 runtime systems. This is possible because the non-ISO and ISO CAN FD protocols are transparent for the user. There are just a couple more bits that have to be distributed on the data link layer. The application programming interface is the same.

At the Embedded World tradeshow, visitors developing devices for building automation, industrial machine control, and mobile machinery requested information about CAN FD micro-controllers. Microchip has industrial MCUs featuring CAN FD in the pipeline as well. STM already supports non-ISO CAN FD, but has not announced a migration plan. Atmel, Freescale, and NXP are other candidates for an industrial micro-controller with ISO CAN FD cores. Perhaps NXP and Freescale will migrate jointly, after the acquisition of Freescale by NXP has been finalized. Renesas and Toshiba are more automotive-oriented, but they might also introduce ISO CAN FD solutions for industrial applications by the end of this year.