Renesas adds functional safety over EtherCAT for RX microcontrollers

Believed to be the first software to support functional safety on EtherCAT from a semiconductor manufacturer, the Functional Safety over Ethernet (FSoE) application software kit has been added to the RX Functional Safety suite by Renesas.

RX Functional Safety reduces the complexity of IEC 61508 SIL3 (Note 1) certification, the international standard for functional safety, for industrial automation.

The software is based on FSoE standard published by the EtherCAT Technology Group. Developers can obtain an FSoE protocol stack, an RX microcontroller with functional safety support and the software all in a single package. This speeds up the development of industrial equipment incorporating FSoE, says Renesas. The kit means that the communications functions needed to support functional safety, such as essential alarms indicating danger or emergency stop signals using an RX MCU can be implemented quickly.

The introduction extends RX Functional Safety support to all microcontrollers built around the RXv3 core (e.g., the RX72M, RX72N, RX72T, RX66N, and RX66T) in addition to the previously supported microcontrollers built around RXv1 and RXv2 cores. The certified software eliminates the need for users to develop microcontroller-specific functional safety software and allows them to focus on developing their own application software. Existing software can be used with RX microcontrollers when developing equipment with functional safety support. This also reduces development time, says Renesas.

The complete functional safety support enables users to shorten the certification acquisition process by more than one year, Renesas claims. The self-test software kit performs self-diagnostics at the individual microcontroller level, while the SIL3 system software kit is a SIL3-certified software that performs mutual diagnostics in a dual microcontroller architecture structure and provides functionality that isolates multiple software applications.

There is also the reference hardware board, which consists of a dual microcontroller configuration circuit design that can be used as an evaluation board. There are also reference documents and a CCRX safety compiler and certification kit.

Together, these elements explains the complex aspects of functional safety standards for engineers and helps them learn how to set up a dual microcontroller architecture structure. The kit can also be used to acquire certification for the software and help with recertification when additional functionality is added to the system.

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