The fieldbus is the next generation of cabling technology in machine and plant building, building automation and shipbuilding. It will replace existing cable looms and centralised control systems. At the moment a plethora of incompatible systems blocks the broad acceptance of fieldbus, due to a lack of a widely agreed standard.
Based on the previous work of one of the partners, a programmable fieldbus interface macrocell will be developed, as an addition to the European Cell Library, which can be connected to all existing fieldbus systems.
This macrocell will be a small (10 kgates) special-purpose RISC processor with an optimised architecture and instruction set to handle serial bit streams at speeds up to 2 Mbit/s. Due to its programmability, the macrocell will be able to implement a slave node in full or the real-time aspects of the higher protocol layers of a master node as well as serving as an embedded application processor.
As a prototype implementation, the macrocell will be used to realise a programmable fieldbus controller that can be directly integrated into simple sensor and actuator components. It will be a single-chip solution to connecting sensors and actuators directly to any fieldbus.
The systems and software support for the component will consist of a prototyping board, an assembler, a debugger and firmware for some industry standard fieldbus protocols (AIS-Master, CAN, FIP-Slave, INTERBUS-S, P-NET and PROFIBUS-FMS-Slave).
A systems integrator will utilise the controller in a remote input/output node as a pilot application in order to connect existing sensors and actuators with digital and analogue input/output to fieldbuses.
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