ASIX Launches New EtherCAT to IO-Link Gateway Solution

By Chad Cox

Associate Editor

Embedded Computing Design

February 04, 2022


Image Courtesy of ASIX Electronics

ASIX Electronics launched its AX58400 EtherCAT to IO-Link Gateway Solution. This new solution combines EtherCAT industrial Ethernet fieldbus technology and IO-Link intelligent communication technology.

With the demand of the global industry 4.0 smart manufacturing market, ASIX Electronics Corporation  launched the AX58x00 family EtherCAT slave controllers/microcontrollers solution to further provide a complete industrial Ethernet fieldbus solution.

Using this EtherCAT slave to IO-Link master gateway solution, customers can easily install the newest IO-Link smart sensors and actuators on EtherCAT industrial Ethernet networks in smart factory.

Fetures include:

  • The IO-Link intelligent communication standard (IEC61131-9) is an open standard point-to-point serial communication protocol for communicating with smart sensors and actuators. 
  • The IO-Link communication system consists of an IO-Link master and IO-Link devices such as smart sensors and actuators. 
  • The IO-Link master can access information such as manufacturing process data, device configuration parameters and self-diagnosis results from IO-Link devices, and can establish two-way digital data exchange with industrial Ethernet fieldbus PLC.

Therefore, the industrial PLC can remotely receive the manufacturing process data from IO-Link smart devices, monitor the health status of IO-Link smart devices for preventive equipment maintenance or replacement, and configure the parameters of IO-Link smart devices to meet various manufacturing needs.

The IO-Link intelligent communication technology and industrial Ethernet fieldbus technologies, such as EtherCAT, PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP, etc., are a cooperative relationship and not a competitive one. 

According to ASIX, the AX58400 EtherCAT to IO-Link gateway solution supports up to 8 IO-Link devices, such as smart sensors and actuators, through AX58400 EtherCAT Slave Controller with Dual-Core MCU and ASIX's own IO-Link Master Protocol Stack. AX58400 is equipped with the highest-performing 480MHz ARM® Cortex®-M7 core, 240MHz ARM® Cortex®-M4 core that can operate in parallel, EtherCAT Slave Controller integrated with two embedded Fast Ethernet PHYs, and embedded 2Mbytes dual-bank Flash memory and 1Mbyte SRAM. This solution uses the highest-performing ARM® Cortex®-M7 core to process the IO-Link master protocol stack operation for supporting up to 8 IO-Link devices; and uses the ARM® Cortex®-M4 core to process EtherCAT slave protocol stack operation in parallel. Using AX58400 dual-core MCU architecture can effectively reduce the CPU load of microcontroller and generate a higher-performance EtherCAT slave to IO-Link master gateway solution.   

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