Texas Instruments EtherCAT Microprocessor now available

  • March 09, 2012
  • News

March 9, 2012 - Announced in April 2011, and now available: the Texas Instruments Sitara microprocessor with EtherCAT slave interface. The first and so far only standard microprocessor product line with hardware-integrated real-time Ethernet is now a reality. In line with that release, Beckhoff Automation has adapted the EtherCAT Slave Protocol Stack and provides it free of charge for download. “The announcement of the Texas Instruments Sitara product line with integrated EtherCAT interface gave our technology yet another boost. Now the first of these chips are available, and this will open additional doors for EtherCAT, both within the traditional automation market and well beyond.” says Martin Rostan, ETG Executive Director.

Matthias Poppel, Director Embedded Processing EMEA at Texas Instruments (TI), adds: “I am pleased that Beckhoff, at the same time, provides the slave protocol stack. This reference implementation also supports our integrated EtherCAT Slave Controller on the Sitara AM355x from day one. This stack developed by the inventor of EtherCAT ensures compatibility. With the integration of the flexible real-time Ethernet and the powerful ARM Cortex A8 CPU our customers can cover a wide range of automation applications within one chip. Because of the 45nm process technology of the AM335x, one can implement an EtherCAT node with less than 500mW power consumption.” The Slave Stack Code (SSC) from Beckhoff is the most used protocol stack for the implementation of EtherCAT slave devices and is therefore considered to be the unofficial reference. The C-code package not only comprises the software part of the EtherCAT slave interface, but also contains sample applications for drives and I/O devices as well as a tool that helps the developer adapt the code to the required functionality. The SSC has been available since 2004 and has since been continuously maintained and enhanced. It was recently modularized, so that it became independent of the EtherCAT Slave Controller hardware and can be used with the new TI processor. The SSC has been shipped with the Beckhoff slave implementation kits; with the availability of the Sitara product line with EtherCAT interface, ETG members now can download the stack free of charge.  

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