Arrow: IC solution reduces IO-Link development time and costs

Arrow Electronics has announced a new family of IC devices that enable companies to quickly add IO-Link Master functionality to their products without the addition of royalties or licence fees. Arrow joined the IO-Link Consortium in April.

The first device launched is a fully integrated STM32 microcontroller with an IO-Link Master software stack, IOLM4P-STM32L, which can control up to four IO-Link Devices via various IO-Link transceivers. The all-in-one IO-Link Master 4-port solution, will help to simplify designs, accelerate development schedules, reduce software development efforts and cut down on non-recurring engineering costs.

Arrow created the IOLM4P with TEConcept, a German engineering company that is an accredited IO-Link competence and test centre. TEConcept develops IO-Link protocol stacks for masters and devices as well as tools for conformance tests.

Industry 4.0 and smart factory requirements have resulted in integration of IO-Link (IEC 61131-9) connectivity becoming increasingly important when developing products for the industrial market. Manufacturers designing an IO-Link multiport Master typically implement the interface protocol on a dedicated microcontroller. The protocol stack is usually licensed from a third-party technology provider as the development of a new stack can be expensive and time consuming. Nevertheless, this approach still introduces considerable NRE costs and requires porting the stack to a microcontroller and an IO-Link transceiver.

To help developers reduce time to market, Arrow worked with TEConcept to produce a new family of devices based on STM32L-Series microcontrollers and IO-Link ICs like the L6360 and L6362 from STMicroelectronics. The first offering, IOLM4P-STM32L, includes the proven TEConcept IO-Link Master stack and supports the connection of up to four independent IO-Link Devices at cycle times down to 400 µs. It is controlled via a simple SPI-based command interface by host systems that typically connect to field busses or proprietary backplane busses.


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