Drives and Controls Magazine
Real-time Ethernet chip supports a variety of protocols
Published:  28 February, 2017

Yaskawa’s Profichip subsidiary has developed a multi-protocol, real-time Ethernet communications chip that supports Yaskawa’s own Mechatrolink-III master/slave system, as well as Profinet IO RT/IRT, and EtherCat. The Antaios chip also supports Profibus, CANopen, RS-485 and USB, while Ethernet/IP adaptors are being developed.

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.

Yaskawa acquired German-based Profichip when it bought the controls-maker Vipa in 2012. As well as developing chips for Vipa's control products, Profichip also sells devices to external customers.

Multilingual: Profichip's Antaios Asics

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.