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Industrial Automation Design Platform speeds network and system development.

Press Release Summary:

Industrial Automation Targeted Design Platform can be used to integrate multiple Ethernet protocols and custom processing algorithms into industrial network and automation systems using Spartan®-6 FPGA. Along with Avnet Spartan-6 LX150T FPGA development board and FMC-based industrial networking daughter card, kit includes third-party evaluation EtherCAT core from Beckhoff, ISE® Design Suite Embedded Edition software environment, and EtherCAT Targeted Reference Design.

Original Press Release:

Xilinx Simplifies Development of Real-Time Ethernet Networks for Industrial Automation Applications

New Spartan-6 FPGA Industrial Automation Targeted Design Platform brings high-speed connectivity and real-time processing performance to the factory floor

NUREMBERG, Germany -- At Embedded World 2010 today, Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ:XLNX) introduced the first market-specific Targeted Design Platform optimized for industrial automation system design with low-cost, low-power Xilinx® Spartan®-6 field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). The Xilinx Industrial Automation Targeted Design Platform accelerates development of real-time Ethernet networks enabling high-speed connectivity and reliable communications beyond the industrial enterprise to the factory floor.

Industrial equipment developers can now easily integrate multiple Ethernet protocols and custom processing algorithms into industrial network and automation systems using a single Spartan-6 FPGA as a cost-effective, flexible and reprogrammable alternative to application-specific standard product (ASSP) or application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) implementations. The new platform offers a complete development environment tailored specifically for industrial applications, including network gateways or bridges, programmable logic controllers (PLC), machine vision systems, as well as a variety of embedded control systems. Xilinx is showcasing its industrial automation platform at Embedded World 2010 this week in Nuremberg, Germany from March 2nd through March 4th with live application demonstrations in Hall 12, Booth #12-515 at the NurnbergMesse.

"The worldwide market for industrial infrastructure and wireline networking products exceeded 5 million nodes in 2008 and is projected to grow over 10 percent annually through 2013(1). This convergence of automation technologies and ubiquitous industrial networks is being driven by new manufacturing business models, collaborative manufacturing initiatives, and the need for more energy and cost-efficient operations," said Mark Jensen, director of industrial, scientific and medical marketing at Xilinx. "Our Spartan-6 FPGA industrial automation platform provides the flexibility to address the different requirements of factory and enterprise networks and the scalability to develop highly integrated automation equipment while balancing energy efficiency and real-time performance."

Optimizing for Industrial Networking Applications

The Industrial Automation Targeted Design Platform provides next-generation programmable technologies and smart design methodologies delivered in the Spartan-6 FPGA Industrial Ethernet Kit. Jointly developed with Avnet, the Industrial Ethernet Kit is fully integrated and highly scalable with all the hardware and software needed to design industrial communications protocols right out of the box.

The kit includes the Avnet Spartan-6 LX150T FPGA development board and industrial networking daughter card based on the industry-standard FPGA Mezzanine Card (FMC) specification(2), third-party evaluation EtherCAT core from Beckhoff, ISE® Design Suite Embedded Edition software environment, and an EtherCAT Targeted Reference Design. Future add-ons for the Industrial Ethernet Kit will offer additional daughter cards and reference designs to enable faster time to market for designing factory automation applications.

"Avnet is pleased to offer designers a full-featured, versatile development platform that can help with their Industrial Networking applications," said Jim Beneke, vice president of global technical marketing at Avnet Electronics Marketing. "This kit provides a great deal of flexibility and expandability that developers will appreciate as they explore their design options."

EtherCAT Targeted Reference Design

Industrial product developers can leverage the 32-bit MicroBlaze(TM) soft processor, dedicated DSP blocks, and low-power features of Spartan-6 FPGAs to create single-chip systems with hardware-based processing to accelerate network performance and extraordinary computational bandwidth to implement advanced algorithms. Integrated memory controllers, industry-standard interfaces, and power-optimized serial transceivers embedded in the Spartan-6 LX150T device enable single or multiple industrial Ethernet protocol designs that easily support legacy network standards like CAN while providing a bridge to PCIe®-based networks.

The EtherCAT Targeted Reference Design is supplied in either pre-compiled or source format. The design can be used out of the box with the base board and industrial networking daughter card to quickly set-up an EtherCAT slave device for PC-based automation systems. The instantiated EtherCAT protocol can be used to evaluate data characteristics and performance with the Spartan-6 FPGA, and to send and process real-time data between EtherCAT master and slave devices modifying the evaluation version of the EtherCAT soft IP core as needed to accommodate system requirements. (A full version of EtherCAT core can be purchased from Beckhoff directly.) The reference design also provides a streamlined and easy-to-use environment for developers to add their differentiating value into the FPGA design.

Scalable Development Environment

The Spartan-6 FPGA Industrial Ethernet Kit with the Spartan-6 FPGA LX150T base board leverages dual FMC connectors to simplify development of multiple Ethernet and legacy networks. One FMC connector is utilized to integrate the industrial networking daughter card with market-specific interfaces for dual port 10/100 Ethernet (IEEE1588 capable), dual CAN physical layer (PHY), and legacy serial standards (RS-232, RS-485). The second FMC connector can be used to further expand the system with custom modules. This enables embedded hardware and software engineers to evaluate, test, design and integrate industrial Ethernet protocols in silicon earlier than is typically feasible with ASSPs or ASICs, and to easily update systems throughout product development and production with the latest networking standards and proprietary algorithms.

Pricing & Availability

The Spartan-6 FPGA Industrial Ethernet Kit is available today in limited quantities from Xilinx's distribution partner Avnet with general availability in April 2010. The kit is priced at US$1,895 and comes complete with all tools, reference designs, documentation, and cables, needed to get started. For more information about the Spartan-6 FPGA Industrial Ethernet Kit, visit:

About Xilinx in Industrial

Xilinx is the worldwide leader in programmable logic solutions offering the optimum mix of programmable silicon and IP to meet the high performance, processing, and deterministic operation required for factory automation applications. These capabilities are delivered as part of Xilinx Targeted Design Platforms that simplify development and enable greater differentiation of industrial networking and industrial imaging solutions. For more information on how Xilinx enables industrial electronic manufactures to bring low cost, innovative products to market faster, visit:

XILINX, the Xilinx logo, Spartan, ISE, and other designated brands included herein are trademarks of Xilinx in the United States and other countries. PCI Express is trademarks of PCI-SIG and used under license. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

(1) Source: VDC Research group, Control Engineering, February 2009
(2) FPGA Mezzanine Card (FMC) is a VITA specification.

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