Earlier this year, Toyota, the world’s largest carmaker, selected EtherCAT® as its Industrial Ethernet technology for all its new factories around the world. That announcement came on the heels of China, arguably the world’s largest automation market, recommending EtherCAT as a national communications standard for intelligent manufacturing.
EtherCAT, a real-time Industrial Ethernet protocol originally developed by Beckhoff Automation GmbH, excels in real-time performance and topology flexibility.
Clearly, EtherCAT is on a roll and Texas Instruments is making it easier to jump on the bandwagon with a new reference design that helps ease the development of EtherCAT slave nodes. The reference design – an add-on card with multiple interface options — demonstrates how to connect a high performance, dual-core C2000™ Delfino™ MCU to Beckhoff ‘s ET1100 slave controller ASIC.
EtherCAT and C2000 MCUs are a good match, since both are designed for real-time applications and for containing overall system cost
Each CPU core on the MCU provides 32-bit floating-point-processing capabilities at 200 MHz, and dual real-time control accelerators (CLAs) also running at 200 MHz each. Each C28x CPU is augmented by its own trigonometric math unit (TMU) accelerator that provides hardware-based acceleration useful for control-based tasks.
In an industrial drive application one CPU + CLA + TMU can be used to implement control-side functionality; i.e., the torque loop. The other CPU + CLA + TMU can be used to implement the application side of the system; i.e., tracking speed and position, computing trajectories, comparing motion profiles and so on.