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Technical Issues for Factories

Factories and production facilities today are becoming more advanced in order to improve productivity and safety. These advances are based on converting to open or Ethernet network communication.

Several technical requirements demanded of equipment used at factories are:

  • Support for an open network communications protocol
  • High-speed real-time performance and low power consumption to achieve high productivity
  • Support for functional safety to realize safely operating equipment

Industrial equipment vendors need to develop equipment that satisfies these requirements, and users need to implement and use this equipment.

One activity performed by the R-IN Consortium is to combine technologies provided by Renesas Electronics and partners to aid in the development of products and the building of systems that satisfy the above requirements.

Here, we give an overview of what the R-IN Consortium can offer.

Industrial Ethernet Protocols

There are multiple existing protocols used in industrial networks. A summary of typical industrial Ethernet protocol standards is shown below (in alphabetical order).

There are R-IN Consortium partners who are industrial Ethernet protocol vendors and partners who provide protocol implementation services. Please check the Solutions and Partners pages linked above.


CC-Link IE

Driving organization CLPA (CC-Link Partner Association)
Website http://www.cc-link.org/
Overview The CC-Link IE protocol was released in 2007.
The 1Gbps communication zone is used for communications for I/O control, enabling high-speed and large-capacity communications.
CC-Link IE Control is suitable for the core trunk network in a production facility, and CC-Link IE Field is suitable for a field bus.
Notes on development Must join CLPA (regular member, executive member, or board member).
In addition, an ASSP (Application Specific Standard Product) (or a communications module that contains an ASSP) must be applied in order to perform communications.
Example Renesas Electronics product R-IN32M3-CL (supports intelligent device station)



Driving organization ETG (EtherCAT Technology Group)
Website http://www.ethercat.org/default.htm
Overview The EtherCAT protocol was released in 2003.
Instead of sending a single Ethernet frame for a single node, data for multiple nodes is stored in a single frame. As the frame passes through each node, the node reads the data addressed to it and inserts its data. This ensures high speed and real-time performance.
The EtherCAT master uses the standard Ethernet controller, so an ASIC or other special chip is unnecessary. Thus, the EtherCAT master can be implemented on any controller that has an Ethernet port, irrespective of OS or application environment.
Notes on development There is no fee to join the ETG. Membership grants various benefits such as a vendor ID and specifications document and access to technical information.
In addition, although an ASSP is unnecessary for the master, an ASSP (or a communications module that contains an ASSP) must be applied to the slave in order to perform communications.
Example Renesas Electronics product R-IN32M3-EC



Driving organization ODVA (ODVA Inc.)
Website http://www.odva.org/
Overview The EtherNet/IP protocol was released in 2001.
It implements the CIP (Common Industrial Protocol) on top of a standard TCP/IP protocol. CIP is a common communications protocol also used by DeviceNet and CompoNet, thus offering seamless two-way communications with these other networks. In addition, by using the object model and device profile prescribed by CIP in specifications definitions, compatibility between multiple vendors can be realized. Furthermore, precision time synchronization conforming to IEEE 1588, multi-axis motion control, and safe networks can be built.
Notes on development It is not necessary to become an ODVA member in order to develop a device that supports EtherNet/IP. You can perform development by becoming a licensed vendor.
However, ODVA members receive benefits such as preferred pricing on purchasing specifications and conformance testing. In addition, an ASSP is unnecessary for performing communications.
Example Renesas Electronics product R-IN32M3 Series



Driving organization PI (PROFIBUS and PROFINET International )
Website http://www.profibus.com/
Overview The PROFINET protocol was released in 1999.
It is a communications standard designed to support all applications in a plant with a single bus cable. Standard TCP/IP communication is used, and RT (Real-time) and IRT (Isochronous Real-time) are defined by the level of real-time performance they demand. In IRT, very fast real-time performance is guaranteed by using a dedicated function to split the Ethernet communication band.
Notes on development It is not necessary to join PI in order to use PROFINET in development.
However, members receive benefits such as the right to use patents owned by PI.
In addition, although an ASSP is unnecessary for at the RT level, in general an ASSP or FPGA is needed to develop at the IRT level.
Example Renesas Electronics product R-IN32M3 Series and TPS-1

Approach to High-Speed Real-time Performance and Low Power Consumption

In order to achieve high-speed real-time responsiveness, both communications and control must be taken into account. There are efforts to achieve this through various hardware and software methods. Renesas Electronics uses distinctive technologies to help users achieve real-time performance and low power consumption.

R-IN Engine Enhances Communications

The R-IN engine has the flexibility to support various protocols and upgrades, while accelerating OS processing and TCP/IP communications.

Conventionally, the processing related to RTOS and Ethernet communications was performed by the CPU itself. The R-IN engine has built-in hardware functions for the common processing related to OS and Ethernet communications. This processing is also accelerated to lighten the CPU processing load to achieve faster performance.

The RTOS accelerator and Ethernet accelerator built into the R-IN engine enable the following.

  • Stable processing time (low jitter)
  • High-speed Ethernet communications

A comparison of OS processing times:

This stable processing performance and high speed play a large role in reducing the OS processing time that makes up a large part of conventional Ethernet communications, and the margin required for absorbing fluctuations in processing. This results in better real-time performance. This is especially meaningful in the industrial segment where small-size data is communicated frequently. Thus, the R-IN engine helps improve productivity, lower power consumption, and advance multifunctionality.

The R-IN engine can be found in the following Renesas Electronics products.
Please refer to the below product pages for details.

Tightly-Coupled Memory (TCM) Improves Real-time Control

To improve real-time control, overhead must be reduced. High-speed processing and definitive real-time response processing can be achieved by incorporating built-in tightly-coupled memory (TCM), which can be accessed from the CPU without passing through the cache.


The following Renesas Electronics products are equipped with tightly-coupled memory.
Please refer to the below product pages for details.