TI rolls up industrial automation protocols with higher-performance ARM cores

July 02, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
TI positions its latest processor family as offering higher performance with real-time processing; the Sitara AM437x processors, based on an ARM Cortex-A9 core, provide options for enhanced processing performance and industrial connectivity

Sitara AM437x processor family members integrate support for industrial protocols for both automation and industrial drives and include new features such as dual camera for data terminals with bar code scanning. AM437x processors enable real-time processing with available quad core programmable real-time units (PRU). The PRU offloads real-time processing from the ARM to manage deterministic tasks such as controlling motors and is robust enough to enable complex functions like multiple industrial fieldbus protocols. The combination of the high performance ARM Cortex-A9 with the integration of peripherals and the PRUs allows you to develop applications such as factory automation, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), home automation and Internet of Things (IoT) gateways, human machine interface (HMI), and more.

With a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 core and other sub-systems, this SoC offers up to 40% more system performance than the previous generation of Sitara processors

A quad core PRU-ICSS (industrial communications subsystem) connectivity peripheral enables dual, simultaneous industrial protocols such as EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP, Profibus, PROFINET-RT/IRT, POWERLINK, Sercos III, IEC61850, as well as motor feedback protocols such as EnDat or interfaces for sensors and actuators like BiSS

An on-chip quad core PRU co-processor achieves deterministic, real-time processing, direct access to I/Os and ultra-low-latency requirements

In addition, a host of new peripheral options addressing specific application needs are integrated;

Dual port 1Gb Ethernet switch for networking

Two parallel camera ports for applications such as bar code scanners

Two independent, up to 867ksps, eight-channel ADCs for servo motor control, audio sampling and sensor monitoring

Improved Vector Floating Point unit for motor control and audio algorithms

9-channel Sinc3 filter sigma-delta ADC for higher precision current sensing, a trend in industrial drives

In addition to the expansion of the portfolio to provide more performance with the use of the ARM-Cortex-A9 core, Sitara AM437x processors also contain up to 512 kB of on-chip memory, a POWERVR SGX 3D graphics accelerator and a display subsystem that enables colour space conversion, overlays,