Communication Modules

Renesas Introduces Functional Safety over EtherCAT for 32-Bit RX Microcontrollers

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Renesas Electronics announced the extension of the RX Functional Safety solution, with the release of its Functional Safety over EtherCAT (FSoE) Application Software Kit, the first software offering that 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 (Note 1) certification, an international standard for functional safety.

Renesas’ new FSoE software is based on the FSoE standard published by the EtherCAT Technology Group, the world’s largest industrial Ethernet organization. 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, speeding up the development of industrial equipment incorporating FSoE. This 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.

“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, which is 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.”

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. Using the certified software eliminates the need for users to develop MCU-specific functional safety software and allows them to focus on developing their own 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 certification of user-developed equipment. The complete functional safety support enables users to shorten the certification acquisition process by more than one year. Specifically, 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 an explanation of the complex aspects of functional safety standards, helps them learn how to set up a dual MCU architecture structure, aids in the acquisition of certification for the actual software, and helps with recertification when additional functionality is added to the system, thereby significantly reducing the development burden.

In addition, Renesas has expanded functional safety support to its RA Family of 32-bit Arm® Cortex®-M MCUs. RA users will have access to IEC 61508-certified software that performs self-diagnostics at the individual MCU level for the RA4M1, RA6M1, RA6M2, and RA6M3 Series at no charge starting in September 2020. Renesas plans on increasing functional safety solutions for RA MCUs in the future.

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

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