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The time to market for the CLPA’s CC-Link IE Field gigabit open industrial Ethernet standard will now be even shorter than before, following the announcement of support for the network by Renesas and Altima — both specialists in the semiconductor industry.

Renesas and Altima both showcased CC-Link IE Field products at the SPS/IPC/Drives 2012 fair in Nuremberg, Germany, in November.

The products are focused around two key technologies widely used for the implementation of devices: application-specific standard products (ASSPs) and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).

Both technologies are used in automation and are designed to allow companies to quickly develop products or modify them to changing market demands.

Products in detail

ASSP

  • This is being offered by Renesas and is based on the company’s R-IN32M3 series of devices; these include features such as the Ethernet Accelerator and the Real-Time OS Accelerator.
  • The device incorporates industry-standard ARM Cortex-M3 technology, ensuring that development engineers have a familiar platform to work with.
  • Renesas expects to make the devices available on a sample basis from January 2013.

FPGA

  • The FPGA is a complementary solution to the ASSP.
  • Altima is well known for development of so-called intellectual property (IP) cores for FPGA devices; these are effectively the designs that configure an FPGA to perform a specific function.
  • In the case of CC-Link IE Field, Altima offers an IP core that duplicates the functionality of the existing CP220 ASIC.
  • By offering the CC-Link core, Altima offers companies the ability to quickly implement this network in supported FPGA-based devices, increasing design flexibility while reducing the time to market.
  • The first device to be supported will be the Altera Cyclone IV E.
  • Expected availability is March 2013.

CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA)

The CLPA is the organisation of manufacturers of CC-Link compatible products and users of CC-Link technology. The CLPA oversees and manages the CC-Link specifications, provides technical support and conformance testing and promotes the worldwide adoption of the CC-Link open automation network technologies. The CLPA was formed in November 2000. Global adoption of CC-Link is demonstrated by the following:

  • Over 12 million CC-Link devices have been installed
  • There are more than 2,100 members of the CC-Link Partner Association
  • There are more than 1,300 certified CC-Link products available from over 280 manufacturers

CC-Link is acknowledged by third party research to be the leading choice for open automation networks in Asia. By adding CC-Link to their portfolio, companies will be able to access up to 20% of the Asian market not accessible to Western technologies. To assist companies with this, the CLPA offers the “Gateway to Asia” (G2A) programme, G2A provides development and marketing assistance to companies who join the CLPA and develop CC-Link products.

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