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Fieldbus-on-a-chip does it all

01 May, 2001

Fieldbus-on-a-chip does it all

A Swedish company has managed to cram almost all of the elements needed to create a fieldbus interface onto a single chip. HMS Industrial Networks says that its AnyBus-IC will make it easy for manufacturers of devices such as rotary encoders, sensors and motor controls, to incorporate interfaces for popular field bus networks.

Although fieldbus connection chips have been available before, analogue functions such as DC/DC conversion, bus drivers and optocouplers have needed extra components, leading to bulky interface modules. HMS claims that its new IC is the first to combine all of the necessary digital and analogue functions onto a single chip. This will make it easy for manufacturers of even the smallest and simplest components to add fieldbus connections without having to get involved in the details of the bus protocols.

The chip can either be used either in intelligent devices with their own processors, or in "dumb" components such as valve terminals and modular I/Os.

At present, the chips are available in Profibus DP, DeviceNet and Ethernet versions. Other versions, including CanOpen, are planned. Because the mechanical, electrical and software interfaces have been standardised, it will be easy for manufacturers to offer different versions of their equipment simply by choosing the appropriate chip.

More than 160 automation suppliers - including ABB, GE, Omron, Parker Hannifin, Rockwell, Schneider and Yaskawa - already use AnyBus products.

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