Renesas Electronics Europe Introduces New IO-Link Reference Design for Small Scale Smart Industrial Sensors

Stock Price
Investor Relations

19 Nov 2013

Dusseldorf, November 19, 2013 — Renesas Electronics Europe, a premier provider of advanced semiconductor solutions, today announced the upcoming release of a reference design for small scale IO-Link smart industrial sensors. The solution is the result of a close cooperation between Renesas Electronics Europe and its business partners TMG Technologie und Engineering and Maxim Integrated. The hardware platform of the new IO-Link solution combines Renesas Electronics’ RL78, its 16-bit ultra-low power microcontroller, an IO-Link transceiver and a miniature sensor from Maxim Integrated. TMG TE completes the solution from the software and applications side with its IO-Link v1.1 device stack operating on the microcontroller.


  Renesas introduced the first integrated solutions for both IO-Link devices and master modules in the industry. The company continues to lead in innovation by working with experts in the automation field to develop new concepts for flexible and highly efficient solutions. These activities enable IO-Link technology to be used for the enhancement of sensor networking in an increasing smart and automated world.


  The IO-Link protocol is an open standard according to IEC61131-9, making use of conventional 3-wire sensor cables for the transmission of serial digital communications between sensors/actuators and industrial automation systems.


IO-Link offers the following key benefits:

  • Visibility down to field device level
  • Automatic parameterisation and central data management
  • Process, parameter and diagnosis data transmission over one bi-directional medium
  • Remote configuration and commissioning
  • Backward compatibility to current sensor switching technology


With this new solution, Renesas introduces the new RL78 microcontroller family in IO-Link applications and addresses the challenges met by designers wanting to bring smart and intelligent features to miniature sensors.


Board Description and Features

The solution fits on a PCB no larger than 6mmx25mm, making it possible to interface directly with the board via an industry standard M12 connector and cable. Despite its small size, the board offers the key benefits of a development platform, including a debug interface that allows users to flash/debug the on-board microcontroller with ease, and develop their applications. The board comes packaged with full software evaluation setup and a programming/debugging adapter doubling as an extended prototyping area, where the user can access a high accuracy 12-bit A/D converter and multiple serial communications.


The reference design includes a RL78/G1A microcontroller. Within a 25-pin 3x3mm package, it offers ultra-low power consumption ranked among the best in the industry. In addition to reduced current consumption down to 66uA/MHz, the RL78/G1A offers multiple new features. These include 64KB on-chip programmable flash memory with 1.8V operating voltage, high accuracy 12-bit A/D converters, and 32MHz high speed on-chip oscillator with +/- 1% accuracy over the temperature and voltage range. The RL78/G1A also features 4KB on-chip data flash with background operation for IO-Link sensor data storage, numerous advanced safety features, an on-chip temperature sensor, 16-bit multi-function timers, and multiple serial communication channels for interfacing with sensor components. Two DMA channels ensure high speed data transfer between peripherals without affecting the CPU load.


The on-board MAX44008 offers the user a variety of options for sensor application development. It integrates six sensors: red, green, blue (RGB) sensors; an ambient light sensor; a temperature sensor; and an ambient infrared sensor with an I2C interface. The device has a wide and dynamic range of light measurement, providing robust and precise information for ambient colour sensing and colour-temperature measurement.


The MAX14821 transceiver acts as the physical layer interface to the microcontroller running the data-link layer protocol. It supports all the specified IO-Link v1.1 data rates. In addition to the IO-Link channel (Pin-4 of the M12 connector), additional 24V digital inputs and outputs are provided (Pin-2 of the M12 connector). The on-board C/Q and DO drivers are independently configurable for push-pull, high-side (PNP), or low-side (NPN) operation. The device detects the IO-Link C/Q wake-up condition and generates a wake-up interrupt signal to the microcontroller. The C/Q input and digital inputs have selectable current loads for use in actuators. The C/Q output and the digital output have a 100mA drive capability.


The IO-Link device stack supports the IO-Link functionality according specification V1.1. It is based on a modular software design with a strict separation of protocol stack, application and hardware abstraction. The stack provides the highest performance and efficiency, whereby the sensor data is already prepared before the reception of the master command. It also ensures the consistent process data exchange.


The stack is provided free of charge for evaluation purposes, along with a sensor demo and accompanying IO-Link description file.



The release of this new kit is planned for Q1/2014. Availability is subject to change without notice.

More information about Renesas Electronics' solutions for the industrial automation market can be found at


About TMG Technologie und Engineering GmbH

TMG TE is one of the leading service providers in industrial communication technology and focused to PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, PROFIBUS and IO-Link as well as TCI, FDT and EDD. TMG TE is member of PROFIBUS International, ODVA and the IO-Link consortium and is accredited as competence centre for PROFINET, PROFIBUS and IO-Link. TMG TE possesses own basic technology and has already realized various master and device integrations based on own or partners’ technology. Further information can be found at /


About Maxim Integrated

At Maxim Integrated, our designs make the world more integrated. And with analog integration, the possibilities are endless. In Fiscal 2013, we reported revenues of $2.4billon.
Follow Maxim Integrated on Twitter and Facebook.

About Renesas Electronics Europe

Renesas delivers trusted embedded design innovation with complete semiconductor solutions that enable billions of connected, intelligent devices to enhance the way people work and live – securely and safely. As the number one global supplier of microcontrollers, and a leader in A&P and SoC products, Renesas provides the expertise, quality, and comprehensive solutions for a broad range of Automotive, Industrial, Home Electronics (HE), Office Automation (OA) and Information Communication Technology (ICT) applications to help shape a limitless future.

Renesas Electronics Corporation was established in 2010 and is headquartered in Japan.With over 800 hardware and software alliance partners worldwide, it has the industry’s largest local support network. Renesas Electronics’ European structure is comprised of three business units – the Automotive, the Broad-based and the Industrial Solution Business Unit.

Further information about Renesas Electronics Europe is available at at
Renesas Electronics Europe is also on social media at, and

The content in the press release, including, but not limited to, product prices and specifications, is based on the information as of the date indicated on the document, but may be subject to change without prior notice.