TI says Cortex-A8 chip cuts cost in industrial design

Texas Instruments is targeting industrial automation designs with its first ARM Cortex-A8 processor which supports multiple integrated industrial communication protocols.

The Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 microprocessors include a programmable real-time unit (PRU) on-chip interface to enable  real-time industrial communications capability (master and slave) to support popular protocols, such as EtherCAT, Ethernet/IP, PROFIBUS, PROFINET, POWERLINK and SERCOS III.

TI claims it can remove the need for an external Asic or FPGA which will simplify system design and save on bill of materials costs by “more than 30%”.

The AM335x microprocessor also includes on-chip industrial peripherals for CAN, ADC, USB + PHY and two-port Gigabit Ethernet with IEEE1588.

It can be used for networking sensors, actuators and in motor control.

Other industrial automation applications include input/output (I/O) devices, human machine interfaces (HMIs) and programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

“Offering high performance of up to 720 MHz, the AM3356 and AM3357 ARM microprocessors are well suited for high-performance PLC applications that need to control various I/O devices in an automation system such as electric motors, pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders, magnetic relays solenoids and more,” said the supplier.

For HMI designs there is an on-chip 3D graphics accelerator, which combined with the integrated touch screen controller, enables rich and intuitive graphical user touch screen interfaces.

AM3359 Industrial development kit (IDK) can be used to evaluate a range of industrial communications and motor control applications.  The AM3359 IDK has many different evaluation features such as 512Mbyte of DDR2 memory, dual motor drivers, digital I/O, a C2000 Piccolo microcontroller with integrated analogue to digital converters, a Stellaris ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller, USB, Ethernet, SPI, I2C and much more.

A software development kit (SDK) comes with free, production-ready, certified software for industrial automation, supporting Linux, Android and Windows Embedded Compact 7 for high-end applications.


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