Arrow Electronics, Altera and National Semiconductor Launch MotionFire Motor-Control Platform to North American Customers

FPGA-based Development Platform Reduces Design Time, Increases Flexibility, Saves Energy for Motor Applications

January 19, 2009 - Arrow Electronics (NYSE:ARW), Altera Corp. (NASDAQ: ALTR) and National Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: NSM) today announced the availability of their jointly developed MotionFire motor-control development platform to North American customers. The FPGA-based MotionFire platform helps engineers quickly and cost-effectively design, prototype and test motor applications used in a variety of industrial, automotive, medical, instrumentation and consumer electronics equipment.

Launched in Europe in 2008, the MotionFire development platform is based on Altera's Cyclone® III FPGA, delivering a flexible and power-saving motor-control environment that supports and bridges multiple industrial networking protocols and mitigates obsolescence risk. MotionFire comprises the FireFighter FPGA-based communication baseboard and the FireDriver motor driver power modules. The platform supports state-of-the-art motor-control algorithms and communications IP, and can be used to control various motor types, including stepper, servo, and AC and DC motors, demonstrating the value FPGAs provide in multi-axis motor-control applications.

"After a successful launch in Northern Europe, we're pleased to be able to offer this technology to our North American customers," said Robert Behn, vice president supplier marketing, Arrow Electronics. "Working in tandem with Altera and National, Arrow can now offer a new level of performance and efficiency in a comprehensive motion-control solution."

The MotionFire platform's FireFighter baseboard connects up to six FireDriver plug-in power modules or 12 motors, offering motor control, user input/output and real-time Ethernet network communications capabilities. The Cyclone III FPGA featured in the FireFighter baseboard drives a wide variety of communication options such as Ethernet/IP, EtherCAT, Profinet, SERCOS III, CAN, USB, RS485 and other current and next-generation protocols. The MotionFire platform also includes an Altera Nios® II embedded processor and motor control IP that supports digital encoder or hall sensor-based motor-control interfaces (VHDL source included) and advanced algorithms for current, speed and position.

"The MotionFire platform delivers a compelling environment for designers to quickly and cost-effectively develop motor-control solutions," said Michael Samuelian, director of Altera's industrial/broadbase business unit. "With the FPGA-based MotionFire platform, designers can build in adaptability and an obsolescence-proof design path into their products."

"National is pleased to work with Altera and Arrow to develop platforms that allow customers to improve the energy efficiency of their systems," said Todd D. Whitaker, National Semiconductor's worldwide vice president of marketing.

The FireFighter baseboard and FireDriver power modules accept a wide input power supply range, and National Semiconductor's PowerWise® power management products provide the various voltage requirements of the digital circuitry. The FireDriver power module performs the motor control, analog signal sensing and conditioning through the combination of Altera's MAX® II CPLD and National Semiconductor's high-performance signal-path products including 12-bit analog-to-digital converters and high-precision amplifiers.


The MotionFire platform is now available to North American customers through Arrow. Arrow provides the complete MotionFire development kit with all the hardware, software and documentation for creating motion-control systems. For more information, visit

About Arrow Electronics, Inc.

Arrow Electronics ( is a global provider of products, services and solutions to industrial and commercial users of electronic components and enterprise computing solutions. Headquartered in Melville, N.Y., Arrow serves as a supply channel partner for approximately 700 suppliers and 140,000 original equipment manufacturers, contract manufacturers and commercial customers through a global network of more than 300 locations in 50 countries and territories.

About Altera

Altera programmable solutions enable system and semiconductor companies to rapidly and cost-effectively innovate, differentiate and win in their markets. Find out more at

About National Semiconductor

National Semiconductor creates energy-efficient analog and mixed-signal semiconductors. Its PowerWise products enable systems that consume less power, extend battery life and generate less heat. Headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., National reported sales of $1.89 billion for fiscal 2008, which ended May 25, 2008. Additional company and product information is available at

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