Yaskawa points out that using dedicated Asics (application-specific integrated circuits) for individual network protocols can be “a considerable burden” and that the new chip will give users a single hardware design that supports high-performance networking with PLCs, servodrives, VSDs, sensors, I/O and gateways. The chip, which incorporates an advanced real-time Ethernet switch, is based on a 288MHz Arm Cortex-A5 processor.
Mechatrolink is a motion-control network that integrates motor-based applications requiring fast control cycles and I/O. It was originally developed by Yaskawa as a proprietary protocol, but was released as an open protocol in 2003. It is now maintained by the Mechatrolink Members Association, which has more than 2,800 member companies – about half of them from China, which has recently adopted Mechatrolink as a national standard.