Facilitating Smart Factories
Analog and mixed-signal ICs play important roles in industrial automation and process control applications. These system applications depend heavily on innovations in motor drivers, vibration sensors, power modules, I/O transceivers and more.
Traditionally, the industrial control and factory automation marketplaces are notoriously reluctant to change. But when the economic benefits of smart, modernized systems come into play, the motivation to revamp and redesign kicks in. Feeding those demands, advances in a variety of analog IC types are playing a critical role in this space. Everything from industrial motor drivers to vibration sensors to I/O transceivers must meet the performance levels for industrial designs while also living within the harsh environmental demands of the factory floor.
To keep pace with the needs of industrial system developers, over the past 12 months analog ICs vendors have continued to roll out new chips designed to meet a variety of industrial design needs, including factory robotics, sensors for machine condition monitoring and advanced motor systems. This crop of products includes both ICs specifically designed for the industrial market and those for which industrial is one among a range of other suitable applications.
MOTOR DRIVE SOLUTIONS
Industrial motor drives have particular needs when it comes to power technology. For its part, ON Semiconductor’s latest expansion of its industrial motor drive power module offering includes the NXH25C120L2C2, NXH35C120L2C2/2C2E, and NXH50C120L2C2E, which are 25A, 35A and 50A versions of Transfer-Molded Power Integrated Modules (TM-PIM) for 1200V applications (Figure 1). They are available in Converter-Inverter-Brake (CIB) and Converter-Inverter (CI) configurations.
The modules consist of six 1200V IGBTs, six 1600V rectifiers and an NTC thermistor for system level temperature monitoring. The CIB versions use an additional 1200V IGBT coupled with a diode. The new modules feature transfer-molded encapsulation, extending the cycling lifetime for both temperature and power. The modules measure just 73mm × 40mm × 8mm, have solderable pins and have a standardized pin-out for CIB and CI versions.
The company also announced the NFAM2012L5B and NFAL5065L4B, expanding its Intelligent Power Module (IPM) portfolio, which includes voltage ratings of 650V and 1200V, and current ratings from 10A to 75A. These 3-phase inverters—with integrated short circuit rated Trench IGBTs, fast recovery diode, gate driver, bootstrap circuits, optional NTC thermistor and protection—provide compact, reliable modules with UL 1557 certification via an isolation rating of 2500VRMS/minute. These IPMs feature direct bonding copper substrate and low loss silicon, enhancing power cycling lifetime and thermal dissipation.
With on-chip galvanic isolation, the NCD57000 and NCD57001 IGBT Gate Drivers enable compact, efficient, reliable gate driver designs by reducing system complexity. The devices deliver 4A and 6A of source and sink current respectively, while also integrating DESAT, Miller clamp, UVLO, Enable and regulated VREF.
The NCS21871 zero-drift op amp provides precision signal conditioning with a low input offset voltage of 45µV and maintains that precision from -40°C to +125°C with low input offset drift of 0.4µV/°C. These parameters make it ideal for low-side current sensing. The NCP730 LDO Regulator delivers 150mA with ±1% output voltage accuracy, and has an operating input voltage range of 2.7V to 38V with low dropout. The integrated soft-start to suppress inrush current, and short-circuit and over-temperature protections for overload conditions, make the device ideal for industrial automation applications.
ISOLATED GATE DRIVERS
Gate drivers are a critical component in systems like industrial drives and other systems. In December, Infineon Technologies expanded its EiceDRIVER 1ED Compact isolated gate driver family with its new X3 Compact (1ED31xx) family. This gate driver provides separate output options together with active shutdown and short circuit clamping in DSO-8 300 mil package (Figure 2). The active Miller clamp option is best suited for silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFET 0V turn off. The X3 Compact offers a benchmark CMTI of 200kV/μs, and typical 5A, 10A and 14A output current. It is aiming at industrial drives, solar systems, EV charging, uninterruptible power supplies, commercial air conditioning as well as other applications.
The EiceDRIVER X3 Compact is recognized under UL 1577 with an insulation test voltage of 5.7kVRMS. Its 14A high output current is well suited for high switching frequency applications as well as for IGBT 7, which requires a much higher gate driver output current compared to IGBT 4. With the same high CMTI robustness as the X3 Enhanced of more than 200kV/µs, the X3 Compact also avoids faulty switching patterns. The tight propagation delay matching of 7ns (max.) leads to shorter deadtime. All variants integrate input filters, which reduces the need for external filters, provides accurate timing, and leads to lower BOM costs.
The EiceDRIVER X3 Compact is well suited as a driver for superjunction MOSFETs such as CoolMOS, SiC MOSFETs such as CoolSiC, and IGBT modules. It is designed for markets that demand easy-to-use drivers with a small footprint for quick design-ins. With 40V absolute maximum output supply voltage, 1ED31xx is well suited for rugged environments.
SOFTWARE CONFIGURABLE I/O
Industrial systems have perhaps the most complex I/O architectures in all of embedded electronics. To make things simpler, Analog Device Inc. (ADI) offers its Software Configurable Input/Output (I/O) product line for building control and process automation, allowing manufacturers and industrial operators to achieve greater control system flexibility while reducing their own product complexities (Figure 3). According to ADI, traditional control systems require costly and labor-intensive manual configuration, with a complex array of channel modules, analog and digital signal converters and individually wired inputs/outputs to communicate with the machines, instruments and sensors on the operating floor.
ADI’s AD74412R and AD74413R enable flexible control systems to be designed with reconfigurable module channels quickly, easily and remotely without requiring extensive re-wiring. This drastically increases speed of implementation, flexibility and the ability to make changes without significant cost and downtime.
With ADI’s software configurable I/O, manufacturers can more efficiently implement new projects and achieve more flexible automated control, resulting in reduced design and installation costs, as well as reduced commissioning delays. In using software configurable I/O, manufacturers can develop a platform that replaces multiple aging fixed function I/O modules or be applied across multiple customer applications where the I/O dynamic changes with each installation.
For systems traditionally reliant on control cabinets with multiple I/O modules and specified wiring for each channel type, the need for hardware diminishes because end users can now install a single module type programmable from the control room, helping to decrease logistic, manufacturing and support costs. Software configurable I/O also acts as a bridge to Ethernet-based control networks, as it can further be applied to brownfield installations requiring updates to 10BASE-T1L industrial ethernet systems. It enables development of standardized, configurable field I/O units capable of translating between installed HART-enabled 4-20mA sensors and actuators and 10BASE-T1L or 100M fiber backhaul.
I/O HUB FOR INDUSTRY 4.0
For its part, Maxim Integrated offers an industrial I/O solution called IO-Link. Maxim’s I/O-link technology also made news in February with the announcement that its dual IO-Link products were adopted by OMRON for the company’s NXR-Series IO-Link Controller and IO-Link I/O hubs, expanding its IO-Link bi-directional controller and digital IO capabilities (Figure 4).
The NXR-Series gives OMROM customers a new way to add I/Os to factory automation systems and bring intelligence to the edge of their manufacturing lines, using Maxim Integrated’s MAX14819A dual IO-Link controller and MAX14827A IO-Link device, as well as MAX14912 and MAX14915 digital output devices. OMRON’s NXR-Series allow continuous diagnostics and monitoring of the health and status of manufacturing equipment at OMRON’s customers’ production sites.
IO-Link’s bi-directional links bring intelligence to sensors and actuators and drive smarter manufacturing by enabling equipment to adapt to product changes on-the-fly and make decisions in real time. Maxim Integrated’s IO-Link technology, combined with its portfolio of extensive software-configurable digital output products, provides OMRON with new opportunities for IO-Link I/O hub solutions. OMRON’s use of IO-Link is expected to help accelerate the adoption of this standard in the industry.
OMRON is adding the first remote digital output IO-Link I/O hub (NXR-CD166C-IL2 module) to its offerings, extending the use of IO-Link beyond the sensor world. The company is addressing the dual problems caused by customers’ chronic shortage of manufacturing-line engineers: reducing manufacturing line downtime and improving the efficiency of commissioning new equipment. OMRON analyzed unnecessary and inefficient work in production processes and developed the NXR Series that comes equipped with various functions to save time.
Maxim says that OMRON has achieved a 90% reduction in setup and commissioning times by using the new NXR IO-Link controller (NXR-ILM08C-EIT) and IO-Link I/O hub (NXR-D166C-IL2). In addition, these new NXR series of IO-Link controller and I/O hub products reduce downtime by leveraging the smart diagnostics capability to gather real-time operational information across the manufacturing line.
In another example of Maxim’s IO-Link in use, in November Maxim introduced its Trinamic-branded PD42-1-1243-IOLINK intelligent actuator. The device enables modern smart factories to quickly and remotely adjust an actuator’s electrical characteristics to minimize factory downtime and maximize throughput, says Maxim. It combines a NEMA-17 stepper motor with controller and driver electronics. Maxim Integrated acquired Trinamic last year. The PD42-1-1243-IOLINK marries the flexibility of Maxim Integrated’s MAX22513 IO-Link transceiver to allow seamless configuring of all modes of Trinamic’s TMC2130-LA motor driver (Figure 5).
Maxim claims the device as the industry’s smallest, lowest-power NEMA-17 PANdrive solution. The intelligent actuator monitors 50% more configuration and performance parameters to reduce commissioning times as well as improve the quality of predictive maintenance data. The chipset solution of TMC2130-LA motor driver and MAX22513 IO-Link transceiver builds upon the benefits of IO-Link’s two-way universal interface.
The MAX22513 IO-Link transceiver is 3x smaller than the closest competitive solution, making it the industry’s smallest ±1kV/500Ω surge-protected, dual-driver IO-Link transceiver (4.2mm × 2.1mm WLP package). It features high integration with a DC-DC regulator, protection diodes, auxiliary digital input, I2C or SPI control, integrated oscillator and selectable 3.3V or 5V LDO, which help to provide high configurability and reduce SKU. It enables 4x lower power dissipation due to low 2.0Ω (typical) C/Q driver on-resistance compared to the competitive solution.
The other chip in the chipset, the TMC2130-LA motor driver, offers stall detection with no sensors necessary, unlike the competitive solution, to flag unwanted mechanical behavior. It provides extremely smooth and precise motion with up to 256x microstepping compared to the 16x industry standard, resulting in accurate positioning and minimized resonance. Key integrated functions include a complete driver stage with low RDSon N-channel power MOSFETs configured as full H-bridges to drive the motor windings up to 1.2ARMS at 5V-46V, an SPI interface for configuration and diagnostics, as well as a step-direction interface.
Industrial factory systems make heavy use of all kinds of sensors. The trend will only increase as industrial designs add more intelligence. Last summer Texas Instruments (TI) introduced what it claims as the industry’s first zero-drift Hall-effect current sensors (Figure 6). The TMCS1100 and TMCS1101 enable the lowest drift and highest accuracy over time and temperature while providing reliable 3-kVRMS isolation, which is especially important for AC or DC high-voltage systems such as industrial motor drives, solar inverters, energy-storage equipment and power supplies.
Ongoing demand for higher performance in industrial systems is driving the need for more precise current measurement, in addition to reliable operation, which often comes with the cost of increased board space or design complexity, says TI. The company has applied its expertise in both isolation and high-precision analog to the TMCS1100 and TMCS1101, enabling engineers to design systems that will provide consistent performance and diagnostics over a longer device lifetime, keeping its solution size compact without increasing design time.
The zero-drift architecture and real-time sensitivity compensation of the TMCS1100 and TMCS1101 enable extremely high performance, even under operational conditions such as temperature changes and equipment aging. With an industry-leading total sensitivity drift over temperature of 0.45%, maximum, which is at least 200% lower than other magnetic current sensors, and a maximum full-scale offset drift of <0.1%, the devices provide the highest measurement accuracy and reliability across a wide range of current. Further, a 0.5% lifetime sensitivity drift, which is at least 100% lower than other magnetic current sensors, significantly reduces the performance degradation associated with system aging over time.
Additionally, the ultra-high accuracy of the TMCS1100 (1%, maximum) and TMCS1101 (1.5%, maximum) eliminates the need for device calibration, which reduces equipment maintenance over time. The devices also provide typical linearity of 0.05%, which minimizes signal distortion and helps maintain accuracy across the extended industrial temperature range (-40°C to 125°C).
The high-quality construction of the TMCS1100 and TMCS1101 provides inherent galvanic isolation capable of delivering 3-kVRMS of 60-second isolation per the UL 1577 standard for demanding environmental conditions in grid-connected or power systems. Both devices support a ±600-V lifetime working voltage—up to 40% higher than competitive devices in the same 8-pin SOIC package and have been rigorously tested beyond industry-standard UL and VDE requirements for greater design margin and an extended device lifetime.
VIBRATION SENSING FOR CONDITION MONITORING
Machine-condition monitoring ranks as one of the highest priority improvements that today’s industrial system developers are focusing on. To meet those needs, STMicroelectronics (ST) offers a vibration-sensing solution optimized to enable smart maintenance of factory equipment. ST’s IIS3DWB vibration sensor and supporting STEVAL-STWINKT1 multi-sensor evaluation kit accelerate development of condition-monitoring systems that boost productivity by inferring equipment maintenance needs (Figure 7). Analyzing the sensed vibration data locally or in the cloud helps owners create strategies that maximize uptime, minimize servicing costs and avoid emergency repairs.
The IIS3DWB is a 3-axis MEM1 accelerometer optimized for industrial vibration sensing. The STEVAL-STWINKT1 simplifies prototyping and testing by integrating the IIS3DWB with additional sensors, an ultra-low-power microcontroller (MCU) and algorithms for vibration processing, Bluetooth wireless module, and USB connection. Housed in a plastic enclosure with a battery, the kit is ready to begin application development and presents a convenient reference design. High-speed data-logger and cloud-dashboard utilities are included to help collect, analyze and visualize the results.
ST’s IIS3DWB 3-axis ultra-wide-bandwidth MEMS accelerometer detects vibrations that are prime indicators of a machine’s service requirements. The device, which is covered under ST’s 10-year availability assurance for industrial products, is optimized for vibration monitoring. The frequency response is tailored to be fully flat and with low noise up to 6kHz and then with a sharp cut-off and high attenuation to remove frequency-aliasing concerns and to detect machine-related faults with accuracy and consistency. Low power consumption maximizes the operating lifetime of independently powered sensor nodes.
The IIS3DWB includes an accelerometer with wide and flat frequency response over 3-axis that saves external signal conditioning and complexity needed by competing sensors. The device provides digital plug-and-play capability, integrating signal conditioning, analog-to-digital converter (ADC), filtering and bandwidth equalization on-chip. Other specs include low noise: 75µg/√Hz in 3-axis mode or 60µg/√Hz in single-axis mode selectable on the fly. Operating-temperature range is -40°C to 105°C. A 1.1mA operating current at full performance is possible in all three axes.
HIGH-SPEED SENSOR FOR INDUSTRIAL IMAGING
Today’s industrial imaging systems have to work in applications with high-speed image capture and transfers. Feeding those needs, in October ON Semiconductor expanded its XGS family of image sensors with high performance, low noise sensors that offer 12-bit image quality at a high frame rate. The offerings include the XGS 45000, the XGS 30000 and the XGS 20000, which provide detailed imaging with up to 45Mpixel for resolution critical applications and up to 60fps in 8K video mode (Figure 8).
Also available is the new XGS 5000, designed with low power performance and state-of-the art image quality for compact 29mm × 29mm camera designs. Alongside the XGS 5000, 3Mpixel and 2Mpixel variants have been released for production.
All XGS devices feature a 3.2µm pixel size giving high resolution while the advanced pixel design ensures low noise performance and image quality that is essential in challenging IoT applications such as machine vision and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). A global shutter ensures that moving objects can be captured without any motion artifacts. To simplify and accelerate time-to-market, the XGS devices offer a common architecture which allows one camera design to be developed easily with multiple resolutions.
Proving the ease-of-use and image quality of the XGS family, several leading manufacturers have successfully integrated the technology into their designs. Teledyne Imaging announced the availability of its new Genie Nano-5G M/C8100 area scan camera designed using the XGS 45000.
JAI A/S, a leading provider of camera solutions for traffic imaging/vehicle recognition in Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS) has integrated the XGS 45000 into its new 45Mpixel industrial camera. The SP-45000M-CXP4 provides 44.7-megapixel monochrome resolution at a 52fps and supports full 8K resolution at over 60fps.
High-accuracy optical isolation is a much-desired requirement for today’s smart factories. With that in mind, last summer, Renesas Electronics announced its RV1S9353A optically isolated delta-sigma (ΔΣ) modulator (Figure 9). The RV1S9353A offers the industry’s highest accuracy compared to other 10MHz clock output optically isolated devices, says Renesas. It includes a precision ADC with ENOB of 13.8 bits (typical) for converting an analog voltage input into a digital output one-bit data stream across the isolation barrier. The RV1S9353A connects directly to an RZ/T MPU and RX72M MCU, or other MPUs, MCUs, SoCs and FPGAs with a digital filter. The RV1S9353A is used in robotic arm controllers, as well as AC servo controllers and NC servo controllers employed in a range of smart factory equipment.
The trend toward improving control accuracy for industrial instruments is driving the demand for high-accuracy optical isolation. Renesas’ RV1S9353A meets this need with best-in-class precision sensing features, including lower offset voltage drift, higher signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), lower reference voltage drift vs. temperature, and higher input resistance. The modulator’s low offset voltage drift simplifies offset correction and its 5kVRMS isolation and 8mm creepage distance is ideal for compact 200V and 400V motor drive equipment.
OEMs want to standardize their designs during development and design certification. The RV1S9353A addresses this requirement with 500kΩ typical input resistance making it capable of both current sensing and voltage monitoring for easier design. Best of all, the ΔΣ modulator’s digital output and connected digital filter removes the need for complex multi-component designs that use a traditional analog isolation amplifier with analog filter and several other components.
CURRENT SENSE AMPLIFIERS
Power consumption can add up quickly in industrial system designs. Every bit of power savings helps for today’s implementations. Along just those lines, in February STMicroelectronics (ST) introduced three precision high-voltage bi-directional current-sense amplifiers that provide the extra convenience of a Shutdown pin to maximize energy savings.
The TSC2010, TSC2011 and TSC2012 amplifiers also allow designers to minimize power dissipation by leveraging their precision characteristics to select low sense-resistor values (Figure 10). The offset voltage is within ±200µV at 25°C, with less than 5µV/°C drift, and gain accuracy is within 0.3%, enabling the devices to detect a voltage drop as low as 10mV full-scale to provide consistent and trusted measurements.
The gain variety—20V/V for the TSC2010, 60V/V for the TSC2011 and 100V/V for the TSC2012—gives flexibility to build precision current measurement, overcurrent protection, current monitoring and current-feedback circuits for many different industrial and automotive systems. Uses include data acquisition, motor control, solenoid control, instrumentation, test and measurement and process control.
With their bi-directional capability, the three new amplifiers help designers trim their bill of materials by allowing a single sensing circuit to measure current flowing in forward and reverse directions. The devices are also suitable for high-side and low-side connection, enabling the same part number to be used in both configurations for easier inventory management.
All the new devices have a wide supply voltage range, from 2.7V to 5.5V, adding further to their flexibility. Their wide input-voltage tolerance allows sensing over a range of common-mode voltages from -20V to 70V at any supply voltage. Thanks to high gain-bandwidth product and fast slew rate—820kHz and 7.5V/µs in the TSC2010—they ensure high accuracy and fast response.
The devices feature an integrated EMI filter and 2kV HBM (Human Body Model) ESD tolerance, ensuring robust performance, and operate over the industrial temperature range -40°C to 125°C. Designers can accelerate time to market by taking advantage of the accompanying STEVAL-AETKT1V2 evaluation kit for a fast start to projects using any of the three devices. The TSC2010, TSC2011 and TSC2012 are available in Mini-SO8 and SO8 packages.
Analog Devices | www.analog.com
Infineon Technologies | www.infineon.com
Maxim Integrated | www.maximintegrated.com
ON Semiconductor | www.onsemi.com
Renesas Electronics America | www.renesas.com
STMicroelectronics | www.st.com
Texas Instruments | www.ti.com
PUBLISHED IN CIRCUIT CELLAR MAGAZINE • APRIL 2021 #369 – Get a PDF of the issueSponsor this Article
Jeff served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxGizmos.com and its sister publication, Circuit Cellar magazine 6/2017—3/2022. In nearly three decades of covering the embedded electronics and computing industry, Jeff has also held senior editorial positions at EE Times, Computer Design, Electronic Design, Embedded Systems Development, and COTS Journal. His knowledge spans a broad range of electronics and computing topics, including CPUs, MCUs, memory, storage, graphics, power supplies, software development, and real-time OSes.