XMOS has plans for rolling out during the coming year a range of its multi-core multi-threaded processors specifically targeted at industrial control where the architecture’s ability to execute several real-time tasks, DSP, and control flow all at once will make it a unique offering.
Initially it is adding new industrial Fieldbus capabilities within its xCORE family of multicore microcontrollers, as well as Fieldbus xSOFTip soft peripherals and an industrial serial bus (IS-BUS) I/O card (sliceCARD) for its modular sliceKIT development system, enabling communication via RS485, CAN and LIN. Further industrial products will follow throughout 2013.
According to Paul Neil, VP of Product Management at XMOS, the new industrial solutions bring the benefits of the deterministic, ultra-low latency xCORE architecture to developers of industrial products ranging from simple sensors and actuators to protocol bridges, high-performance PLCs and motor controllers.
He said xCORE processors are ideally suited for use in industrial applications because they combine flexible and time-sensitive communications capabilities with the ability to implement latency-critical control functions.
“These demanding applications need to close multiple asynchronous control loops in real time, and often require distributed intelligence and communication over real-time networks,” said Neil.
He points to industrial protocol bridging as a good example of some of the challenges faced by producers of industrial systems. “Current solutions are not ‘real-time’; they are expensive and inefficient; and separate devices are needed to support the different protocol tasks,” he said.
“In these applications XMOS can replace multiple devices with a single xCORE multicore microcontroller. xSOFTip cores make the development task simple and the system can be developed, debugged and tested using an easy-to-use software-based design flow that is familiar to any programmer.”