Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Making computer components interoperable

The ability of microelectronics components to be able to communicate with one another is becoming increasingly important as the number and complexity of components increases rapidly. A German company has developed an innovative suite of commercially available interfaces based on the results of internal research and development efforts.
Making computer components interoperable
In industrial environments like production areas, laboratories, test stands etc. there is an increasing demand for communication between typical process devices such as sensors, actuators, measuring gauges, displays, controllers etc. Typically fieldbus solutions (Profibus, CAN, Modbus etc.) or Ethernet based systems are used. Many manufacturers in this field are SMEs with relatively low production values for devices per year. For them, the development of several bus interfaces for their existing devices is very expensive. All too often they also do not have the know-how to do this.

Therefore, it makes sense for them to use ready-to-run bus interfaces that only have to be implemented into their existing devices. The bus interfaces should implement all mechanisms of physical data transmission and protocols that are specified for a special bus system. Therefore the manufacturer does not have to become familiar with those details. Of course, there is a basic need that interfaces for several bus systems have the same simple interface to the electronics of the device.

In order to ensure interoperability, the ability of one component to be able to operate in conjunction with another, a German company undertook research and development efforts, in particular for devices with RS-232 interfaces. RS-232 is one of the most common methods of serial binary data interchange.

A family of intelligent interfaces was developed that connect serial RS-232 components to PROFIBUS-DP, Ethernet (TCP/IP, UDP, RFC1006), Modbus (ASCII, RTU) and CAN bus systems. The PCB boards are the size of a credit card (also available in a separate boxed housing), easy to mount and offer competitive data transfer rates. A default transparent data mode permits device connection without any additional development work. The company can also develop device specific protocols upon request.

The manufacturer is looking for resellers for its innovative products throughout Europe. It is also looking to promote its on-site training and protocol development services to its clients.
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