Yaskawa Electric Co., Ltd. has released the JL-L000A communications ASIC for use with the MECHATROLINK-4. Specifically, JL-L000A is an integrated circuit (IC chip) mounted on controllers for various electronic and industrial equipment. Mainly, the new ASIC speeds up transmission efficiency four-fold that of the MECHATROLINK-III.
New Phase of Industrial Revolution
Yaskawa aims to realize a new industrial automation revolution in its long-term business plan “Vision 2025”. In relation, it has been proposing the i3-Mechatronics solution concept. Specifically, it aims to improve productivity and create zero downtime lines through digital data solutions by visualizing production sites.
The company has been providing communication ASICs compatible with MECHATROLINK. This time, it has developed ASICs compatible with MECHATROLINK-4, a new generation industrial network, to enhance the integration aspect of i³-Mechatronics.
The MECHATROLINK-4 takes over the functionality, performance, and usability of the MECHATROLINK-III. Mainly, it improves transmission efficiency and adds multi-master functions to achieve more efficient and advanced control. By combining this product with the host CPU, customers can easily develop MECHATROLINK-4 compatible devices (master/slave). By utilizing more efficient and highly controllable features, this will contribute to customers’ further development of high-performance products.
Main Features of JL-L000A
Create environment of products compatible with both MECHATROLINK-III and 4
The combination of this device (JZPMC-MD001A) and the host CPU enables customers to easily develop MECHATROLINK-4 compatible products. Specifically, MECHATROLINK-4 can achieve approximately four times the transmission performance under the same conditions as MECHATROLINK -III.
The developed product supports both MECHATROLINK-III and MECHATROLINK-4 communications and is switchable.
High efficiency and flexible system construction
The highly efficient communication procedure enables precise control in a short transmission cycle. It also allows connection of many slave devices in the same transmission cycle. Thus, these features contribute to larger scale and higher accuracy of devices. By allocating free communication bandwidth to IP communication, customers can integrate general-purpose communication devices into the same network.
Multiple settings for the transmission cycle
There is no need to match the maximum transmission period of all connected slave devices, since the transmission period can be freely set for each slave device. Moreover, each slave device achieves maximum performance. Also, the transmission frequency can be decentralized among slave devices, consequently the transmission cycle can be shortened.
Multi-master (Decentralized control) * 1
Multiple master devices can be connected to the same network. This contributes to higher speed through the decentralization of the master load, improved development efficiency through the modular design of equipment, and flexible line construction.
*1 Note that this is a feature under development and will be addressed in an update to the access driver.
Support for PCI Express
PCI Express is used for the interface between the JL-L000A and the host CPU, enabling high-speed data transfer.
The new product consists of the communication ASIC “JL-L000A” and the serial Flash (MX 25 L 6433 FM 2 J-08Q-Y00). The serial Flash stores the boot firmware for transferring the MECHATROLINK communication firmware to the JL-L000A.
MECHATROLINK is an open industrial network developed by Yaskawa to connect controllers and various components. Many equipment manufacturers and end users have adopted it because it enables high-speed communication and guarantees of synchronization, making the system faster and more functional. MECHATROLINK has evolved into MECHATROLINK-II and MECHATROLINK-III for faster communication and enhanced functions.
The communication specifications of the MECHATROLINK-4, developed as a next-generation network, were released in March 2019. Yaskawa has also commercialized controllers and servo packs compatible with these specifications.
Masters and slaves compatible with MECHATROLINK -4 and MECHATROLINK-III can be developed according to the customer’s intended use rather than a specific application.