Arrow offers ICs to facilitate the addition of IO-Link Master

As a member of the IO-Link consortium since April, Arrow Electronics has wasted no time in introducing a 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.

The first device launched by the distributor is an 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 four-port solution, will help to simplify designs, accelerate development schedules, reduce software development efforts and cut down on non-recurring engineering costs, says Arrow.

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 increased the importance of integrateing IO-Link (IEC 61131-9) connectivity 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. This approach still has “considerable NRE costs” reports Arrow 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 TEConcept IO-Link Master stack and supports the connection of up to four independent IO-Link Devices at cycle times down to 400 micro seconds. It is controlled via a simple SPI-based command interface by host systems that typically connect to field busses or proprietary backplane buses.