New NXP Architecture Improves Factory Productivity

NXP Semiconductors said its new NXP analog front-end (N-AFE) family for high-precision data acquisition and condition monitoring systems for factory automation. Accordingly, the new N-AFE family helps enable the software-defined factory, making it easier for operators to configure a smart factory and adjust settings based on shifting market needs.

Even as factories have become smarter over time, adapting to rapidly shifting market trends has remained a challenge. This results to often requiring large-scale equipment overhauls to reconfigure a factory to meet a new need. For that reason, the addition of software-configurable components allows more nimble factory operators. This enables them to make changes more quickly and easily to the factory floor to address rapidly shifting trends.

Next Evolution to Industry 4.0

Jens Hinrichsen, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Advanced Analog at NXP Semiconductors noted software-defined factories are the next evolution of the Industry 4.0. Hence, this software-configurable analog front-end family will help achieve that milestone. In addition, Hinrichsen said, “By combining configurability with enhanced accuracy and precision for improved product quality, as well as advanced diagnostics to identify issues before they occur to reduce downtime, this device enables a new era of the smart factory.”

Schneider Electric has worked closely with NXP to incorporate the N-AFE family into its industrial solutions. Most importantly, the single-chip N-AFE solution helps to reduce the complexity of hardware design for the company, whose industrial customers benefit from the software configurability delivered by the N-AFE.

Ralf Neubert, Vice President, Research & Development, Digital Factory, at Schneider Electric said, “The impact of a software-defined factory, both in terms of productivity and overall costs saved, is immeasurable. NXP’s new analog front-end software configurability and high precision accelerate hardware design, improving time to market.”

In addition, Neubert said the N-AFE family enables flexibility in our designs to allow our customers to quickly respond to market trends. More importantly, it also helps reduce unplanned downtime, enabling a more productive factory overall.

N-AFE System Solution

The N-AFE family of devices integrates up to eight universal analog inputs at a lower system cost for data acquisition systems in factory and process automation. Particularly, it combines signal chain protection, precision amplification, and high-speed data conversion. At the same time, it filters and highly accurate self-diagnostics to monitor factory conditions, helping to ensure a more consistent and repeatable quality of product. The device also integrates additional advanced diagnostics to reduce factory downtime with predictive maintenance and anomaly detection, while its factory calibration and self-calibration features help reduce test costs.

The addition of the N-AFE Analog Front-End family of devices brings new analog capabilities to NXP’s portfolio targeting industrial applications. The N-AFE devices expand the industrial system solution offering, while helping customers to accelerate development time and reduce time to market. Particularly, the solution combines NXP’s MCU and power management portfolios, including devices such as the i.MX RT1180 high-performance crossover MCU and PF5020 and PCA9460 power management ICs (PMICs).