Infineon targets EtherCAT installations with XMC4300 MCUs

February 10, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Industrial bus communications can be simplified, reducing EtherCAT implementation complexity and cost, with Infineon’s XMC4300 microcontroller series. Without compromise on EtherCAT communication features, the XMC4300 has been specifically developed for cost-sensitive industrial applications that also make high demands on design flexibility, connectivity and real-time performance.

Target applications comprise factory automation, industrial motor control, I/O modules and robotics. The XMC4300builds on the XMC4800 series, which places special emphasis on communication and actuators and sensors.

XMC4300 and XMC4800 are claimed as the first microcontrollers with integrated EtherCAT node on an ARM Cortex-M processor with on-chip flash and analogue/mixed signal capabilities. Both series enable compact designs because they require no additional components such as dedicated EtherCAT ASIC, external memory or a quartz clock generator to start up the EtherCAT slave controller. An integrated PLL supplies the EtherCAT IP with the necessary 25-MHz clock. Code is executed from the Cortex-M4 processor at 144 MHz from the integrated RAM or flash memory.

The XMC4300 and the XMC4800 offer a solution for mixed networks with CAN and EtherCAT. They allow a gateway from CAN to EtherCAT to be efficiently established through DMA transfers. The XMC4300 has 256 kB of Flash and 128 kB of RAM memory. It features two CAN nodes with up to 64 message objects to be organised into a send/receive FIFO. Hence, communication takes place largely without interaction with the CPU. The XMC4300 series is certified for an ambient temperature of up to 125 °C.

There are currently two XMC4300 series parts, with different temperature ranges, up to 85 °C and up to 125 °C respectively. They are available in a LQFP-100 package and are pin and code compatible with those of the XMC4800 series.

Infineon offers a development board, the XMC4300 Relax EtherCAT Kit, and suitable software development tools for immediate EtherCAT node setup. The XMC4300 Relax EtherCAT Kit is equipped with an XMC4300 and an on-board debugger, EtherCAT, CAN node and USB. For software development, Infineon offers the DAVE development environment with libraries for low-level drives and apps free of charge. For EtherCAT, DAVE uses SSC (Slave Stack Code) from Beckhoff. In addition to the free development environment, commercial EtherCAT slave stacks are on offer