Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Arrow reduces IO-Link development time

Steve Rogerson
July 12, 2018

Arrow Electronics has announced a family of ICs that enable companies to add IO-Link Master functionality to their products without the addition of royalties or licence fees. Arrow joined the IO-Link Consortium in April.
The first device launched 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 offering should help to simplify designs, accelerate development schedules, reduce software development efforts and cut down on non-recurring engineering costs.
Arrow created the IOLM4P with TE Concept, a German engineering company that is an accredited IO-Link competence and test centre. TE Concept develops IO-Link protocol stacks for masters and devices as well as tools for conformance tests.
Industry 4.0 and smart factory requirements have resulted in integration of IO-Link (IEC 61131-9) connectivity becoming increasingly important 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. Nevertheless, this approach still introduces considerable NRE costs and requires porting the stack to a microcontroller and an IO-Link transceiver.
To help developers reduce time to market, Arrow worked with TE Concept to produce a family of devices based on STM32L microcontrollers and IO-Link ICs such as the L6360 and L6362 from ST Microelectronics.
The first offering, IOLM4P-STM32L, includes the TE Concept IO-Link Master stack and supports the connection of up to four independent IO-Link devices at cycle times down to 400µs. It is controlled via an SPI-based command interface by host systems that typically connect to field busses or proprietary backplane busses.