Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Functional Safety over EtherCAT for 32-Bit Microcontrollers

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Functional Safety over EtherCAT Application Software Kit reduces complexity for industrial automation applications

Renesas Electronics has extended the RX Functional Safety solution, with the release of its Functional Safety over EtherCAT (FSoE) Application Software Kit, which supports functional safety on EtherCAT from a semiconductor manufacturer. Renesas’ RX Functional Safety solution is a solution for industrial automation applications that reduces the complexity of IEC 61508 SIL3 certification, an international standard for functional safety.

The new FSoE software is based on the FSoE standard published by the EtherCAT Technology Group. Developers can obtain an FSoE protocol stack in addition to an RX microcontroller (MCU) with functional safety support and the software all in a single package, thus speeding up the development of industrial equipment incorporating FSoE. This also allows the quick implementation of communication functions needed to support functional safety, such as essential alarms indicating danger or emergency stop signals using an RX MCU.

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RX Functional Safety support is now extended to all MCUs built around the RXv3 core (e.g., the RX72M, RX72N, RX72T, RX66N and RX66T) in addition to the previously supported MCUs built around RXv1 and RXv2 cores. The use of the software eliminates the need to develop MCU-specific functional safety software and allows to focus on developing self-made application software. RX MCU users can also utilize their existing software assets when developing equipment with functional safety support, thereby significantly reducing overall development time.

About RX Functional Safety

RX Functional Safety is a solution that provides everything from self-diagnostics at the individual MCU level to comprehensive development support aimed at the certification of user-developed equipment. The complete functional safety support enables users to shorten the certification acquisition process by more than a year. 

The solution is comprised of:

  • RX Functional Safety – Self-Test Software Kit, which performs self-diagnostics at the individual MCU level
  • RX Functional Safety – SIL3 System Software Kit, a SIL3-certified software that performs required mutual diagnostics in a dual MCU architecture structure and provides functionality that isolates multiple software applications
  • RX Functional Safety – Reference Hardware board, which consists of a dual MCU configuration circuit design know-how that can be used as an evaluation board
  • RX Functional Safety – Reference Documents, which contain knowledge and expertise developers can use to acquire SIL3 certification for their equipment overall.
  • RX Functional Safety – CCRX Safety Compiler and Certification Kit

This solution provides developers with:

  • Explanation of the complex aspects of functional safety standards.
  • Setting up a dual MCU architecture structure.
  • Acquisition of certification for the actual software.
  • Recertification when additional functionality is added to the system, thereby significantly reducing the development burden.

Expanded Functional Safety

Renesas has also expanded functional safety support to its RA Family of 32-bit Arm Cortex-M MCUs. RA users will now have access to IEC 61508-certified software that performs self-diagnostics at the individual MCU level for the RA4M1, RA6M1, RA6M2, and RA6M3 Series. The company plans on increasing functional safety solutions for RA MCUs in the future.

“As the trend toward smart factories continues, there is a growing need for autonomous machine-to-machine communication, robust communication bus systems that support safety implementation through industrial Ethernet and redundant systems design to ensure safety and reliability,” said Sakae Ito, Vice President of the IoT Platform Business Division at Renesas. “By providing early access to the FSoE (the de facto standard for the industrial Ethernet), I am confident that Renesas will accelerate the development of functional safety products to meet their needs.”

The software can now be obtained.

Renesas aims to continue to offer product developers solutions that provide added value in the form of functional safety and security as part of efforts to extend the adoption of intelligent endpoints and in this way to contribute to the realisation of a smart society.


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