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Network chips will come in three formats

30 January, 2013

Following its development of a new chip that allows industrial devices to communicate with almost any industrial network, HMS Industrial Networks has announced that it is to offer the technology in three formats.


For high-volume OEM users, it will provide the chip by itself for them to incorporate into their own circuit boards (above, left). For users with space restrictions or who want to add their own network connectors, the chip will be available installed on a plug-in fieldbus option card – which HMS calls a “brick” – thus reducing their design efforts (above, centre). And for manufacturers of equipment such as variable speed drives, the chips will be available in modules that can be swapped quickly, depending on the end-user’s network requirements (above, right).

HMS is selling all versions under the Anybus CompactCom name. Users can choose between the company’s original NP30 chip which supports around 20 general automation networks, and the new, more powerful NP40 version which can handle more demanding high-level networks, including motion and safety systems, with larger I/O capacities.

More than two million of the NP30 chips are already in service and they are used by many of the world’s major automation suppliers. These chips are optimised for general-purpose applications such as sensors, HMIs and drives.

The new NP40 network processors are aimed at high-performance applications with low latency requirements, and support synching and motion profiles. If new networks emerge or existing ones are upgraded, new firmware can be downloaded to the chip.

There is backwards compatibility between the NP40 and NP30 chips. It is possible to embed a CompactCom module in an automation device and later re-use the same software for a brick or chip implementation.

HMS was founded in Sweden 25 years ago. It now has more than 250 employees and a turnover of €40m. The company has recently moved into a new headquarters building and opened a dedicated r&d facility.




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