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

Japanese semiconductor manufacturer Renesas Electronics Corporation has extended 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.

September 29, 2020. By Manu Tayal

Japanese semiconductor manufacturer Renesas Electronics Corporation has extended 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 certification, an international standard for functional safety.

The company’ 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.

Commenting on the development, Sakae Ito, Vice President of the IoT Platform Business Division at Renesas, said “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.”

Sakae Ito further said “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.”

Moreover, 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.

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