Microcontrollers (MCUs), as the heart of Electronic products, are widely used in consumer and industrial electronic products. Today, the development of industrial automation, next-generation automobiles, intelligent analysis, and the Internet of Everything pushes up the performance requirements for edge-side MCUs. The performance of MCU products, real-time control capabilities, and communication diversity and high-speed real-time requirements are getting higher and higher. For example, in specific industrial applications: emerging applications require higher levels of system integration and edge intelligence; industrial and automotive systems rely on precise real-time control and decision-making; distributed communication and automation trends require higher network bandwidth…
Three key technologies to realize industrial automation
Industry 4.0 and industrial automation are developing at scale, real-time control, industrial networking and edge analytics can effectively improve efficiency and productivity in automated factories.
Real-time control:Since the system has strict requirements on time, in real-time control, the system needs to have the ability to process raw data and control the signal within the required precise time. Precise control of analog signals is critical, a process that leverages improved control algorithms to increase the reliability of motor drives and the efficiency of electric vehicles. These processing requirements are beyond the capabilities of traditional MCUs.
Industrial Network:Factories need to exchange different types of data, so multiple Industrial Ethernet standards must be quickly adopted, enabling real-time communication between machines to improve system performance, safety, and reliability. Therefore, there is a need for an integrated network solution that is not only compatible with many different protocol standards, but also operates at rates up to 1Gbps.
Edge Analysis:Improvements in machine learning algorithms facilitate local optimization, where each machine or node does not need to wait for a centralized decision to perform an action. Edge processing can significantly reduce response times, enabling better and safer human-machine collaboration.
In many factory systems, such as motor control and robotics, the processor oversees the analog-to-digital conversion and digital-to-analog conversion process, but people’s high-performance computing and control needs place more demands on the processor’s capabilities.
Recently, TI has launched a new Sitara AM2x series MCU to meet the system design challenges of high computing power, high communication speed and high reliability requirements.
Combines processor-level computing performance with the design simplicity of an MCU
TI’s Sitara brand has a long history and has been widely used in the industrial field. The AM2x series MCU is a new series of Sitara brand single-chip microcomputers, which are characterized by high computing performance at the processor level and MCU-level design. Convenience and ease of use.
(Source: TI Company)
MCU is a complete system, including CPU, flash memory and RAM, and general control, such as motor control, power processing conversion and fast IO control needs, real-time peripherals are the outstanding advantages of MCU; in addition, more and more MCU products will be Focusing on functional safety and information security, traditional MCUs also add many accelerators or coprocessors related to information security, or integrate related functions.
The biggest feature of traditional MPU processors is that the CPU core performance is relatively high, basically reaching 1 GHz or more processor performance, and most of them are multi-core. By far, the largest share of MPUs on the market are high-end ARM processor cores. At the same time, the MPU will integrate high-performance RAM and DDR interfaces to achieve high-speed performance of the entire system memory and data throughput. As more and more computing power is required on the MPU, coprocessors such as deep learning, DSP and real-time control cores are integrated inside the processor. The speed, real-time and confidentiality of the communication bus required by the processor are getting higher and higher, so more and more industrial communication interfaces are integrated, such as the high-speed communication core required by industrial fields such as Gigabit Ethernet and TSN.
Sitara AM2x is a product that combines traditional MCU and traditional MPU. According to Shi Ying, director of embedded and DLP® application technology in Texas Instruments (TI) China, TI integrates high-performance ARM core, high-performance RAM, high-speed signal processing, and high-speed real-time bus interface for industrial communication. Common functional safety and information security functions and real-time peripherals unique to MCUs have resulted in the design of the Sitara AM2x series of MCUs. Engineers can leverage the AM2x family to increase computing power by a factor of 10 compared to traditional flash-based MCU products.
Low-power MCUs achieve processor-level performance
AM243x MCUs are the first models in the AM2x family of devices, featuring up to four Arm Cortex®-R5F cores, each running at up to 800MHz. These 4 R5F Cortex cores plus some internal accelerators and co-processors can provide up to 6000 DMIPS of computing power.
(Source: TI Company)
In factory equipment such as robots, fast computing power and high-speed access to MCU internal memory can simultaneously help improve the robot’s motion accuracy and motion speed, thereby increasing productivity. In typical applications, AM243x devices can reach 6000 DMIPS computing performance levels while consuming less than 1W of active power.
Integrated design realizes real-time control and multi-protocol network support at the edge
Sitara AM243x MCU integrates sensing and driving peripherals, and can cooperate with the processor to complete high-precision motor control or fast IO control tasks, enabling factory automation to achieve low-latency real-time processing and control.
AM243x devices extend TI’s support for multiple Gigabit Industrial Ethernet protocols and Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) to enable next-generation factory networking. With the AM243x, engineers can fully support industrial communication standards such as EtherNet/IP™, EtherCAT®, PROFINET®, and IO-Link master with certified, TI-provided protocol stacks, while providing proprietary support for industrial automation customers, Customize a set of its own TSN-based or Industrial Ethernet-based proprietary protocols.
Meet SIL3 standard to ensure safety
The AM243x MCU’s on-chip safety features support new cryptographic requirements, integrating functional safety mechanisms, diagnostics, and auxiliary functions to help system integrators achieve the IEC 61508 standard’s Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 3 requirements in their industrial designs, or automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL)-D, which complies with functional safety standards required in the industrial and automotive sectors.
TI integrates all functions and performance on a single chip, enabling the AM2x series to realize real-time control of industrial communication, analytical processing, information security and functional safety at the edge. At the same time, in order to further reduce the complexity of design and development, TI’s official website also provides many easy-to-use development tools, such as Sitara AM2x MCU evaluation kit AM243x LaunchPad, as well as software packages, SDK and other supporting special software; in addition , through MCU+ Academy, a brand new online resource, engineers can define the content and course progress to be learned, complete the learning of processors, supporting tools and SDKs, and then help engineers accelerate their product design.
According to reports, currently for the AM243x series, TI can provide pre-production versions AM2431, AM2432 and AM2434 in 17mm × 17mm or 11mm × 11mm packages. The market is positioned in industrial automation, PLC, motor control, robotic arms, robots, or industrial The application of a wide range of high-speed communication interfaces such as multi-protocol.
The industrial application field involves a variety of terminal equipment, and different terminal equipment has different requirements for the electronic control system. TI’s Sitara AM2x series complements the “short board” of MCU in processing performance. One chip can integrate ease of use, real-time performance, high processing power, security, etc., to meet the needs of different application scenarios for high-performance computing , real-time control, real-time communication, high integration and ease of use requirements, so it can help customers expand design options. MCU or MPU? Try Sitara AM2x MCUs!