Safety package speeds functional safety implementation on Renesas MCUs

August 26, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Aimed at functional safety systems for industrial equipment, this IEC 61508 TÜV-Certified self-diagnostic software reduces development time and risk for system designers

Renesas Electronics has obtained IEC61508 (Functional Safety) certification for the RX631, RX63N Safety Package, featuring a robust self-diagnostic software and a safety manual for microcontrollers (MCUs) necessary to implement functional safety in industrial equipment. An RX631, RX63N Safety Solution Evaluation Kit will be available in September 2014, providing a hardware evaluation board with the RX63N MCU, the evaluation version of the self-diagnostic software library, and a Users Guide.

Functional safety has become a growing reality for factories, equipment manufacturers, and automation OEMs to reduce economic losses due to equipment failures, production losses, and more importantly, threats to personnel safety. The European Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC mandates support for functional safety, and efforts to bring relevant industrial equipment into compliance with functional safety standards such as IEC 61508 have been moving forward. Functional safety is now implemented on multiple industrial equipment such as industrial motor drives, control equipment, industrial networking equipment as well as sensors.

Compliance with the IEC 61508 functional safety standard not only requires system designers to perform tasks referred to as safety analysis, such as failure analysis of safety-related hardware and study of failure diagnostic methods and their diagnostic yields, but also to meet defined regulations aimed at reducing specification and design errors in the development process of safety-related systems that can result in malfunctions. In particular, maintaining conformance at all stages of the software development process is a key issue.

Of the tasks that need to be performed by system developers, such as safety analysis and study of failure diagnostic methods and diagnostic yields, Renesas has already carried out the aspects related to the MCU. For the testing process, Renesas built on the IAR Embedded Workbench for RX certified for Functional Safety, which fulfilled the requirement for proof of tools safety certification. The tools from IAR Systems offer a complete and high-performance C/C++compiler and debugger toolchain and comprehensive documentation, including certificate, safety guide and report from TÜV SÜD. In addition, the Safety Manual includes the vital information such as FIT rates and diagnostic measures that can be passed on to a certifying body to reduce complexity in conformance.

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