Factory automation is concerned with automatic control of process machinery. A process controller monitors and measures operational and environmental variables and sends actuation commands out to control devices or alarms. The controllers are usually microcontroller-based machines with architecture optimized to meet the needs of the factory and application.
Industrial power ICs span a wide range of DC-DC converters, including those with high input voltages and isolated power outputs.
Many industrial applications use 24V or 48V DC inputs to provide power to distributed applications that are not line powered. Once down converted to 12V or 5V, point-of-load conversion can be applied.
Industrial applications, especially those that maintain communications with remote sensors and actuators, also need isolated power domains to mitigate the effects of transients, EMI, and differing ground potentials.
Many industrial signal communication standards employ analog voltage or current levels to communicate information to a controller. Analog signals sent to and received from remote sensors and actuators must be converted to the digital domain to be processed by the digital controller, while satisfying the precision levels required by the application.
Digital I/O products transmit and receive high-voltage binary signals between a central controller and an industrial sensor or actuator. For most digital sensors and actuators, the digital I/O function must either detect an on/off voltage level from a binary sensor, or maintain an on/off voltage for control of a binary actuator.
There is an emerging market for smart digital I/O applications. Smart digital sensors send and receive packets of information, much like a field bus protocol. However, these sensors are generally point-to-point and communicate between a single sensor and one control point.
IO-Link is an example of this emerging smart digital I/O technology. IO-Link is the first worldwide, standardized (IEC 61131-9) IO technology for communication with sensors and actuators. This powerful point-to-point communication technology is based on the established 3-wire sensor and actuator connection.
In industrial control applications where remote sensors and actuators must be managed, galvanic isolation must be established in the signal path between the remote device and the controller. This ensures that the controller operates reliably and maintains high availability, for analog and digital signal paths.
Today, digital isolation technologies provide much more economical isolation than in the past when signals were isolated using either isolation amplifiers or opto-isolators.
Security is increasing in importance for many industrial control applications due in large part to a greater use of distributed network-attached sensors and control nodes. Secure control modules can detect counterfeit products and ensure that the correct modules are being used with a controller.
Fieldbus and Networking
Fieldbuses are relatively high-bandwidth communication protocols designed to communicate between controllers in an industrial environment. Modern fieldbuses use layered protocols similar to, if not exactly the same as, those found in modern IT data networks. There are quite a few fieldbus standards, but industrial Ethernet is an emerging dominant standard.
Industrial Power Step-down Power ModulesHigh-efficiency, high-voltage DC-DC step-down power modules
These power modules combine an efficient Maxim switching regulator, a fully shielded inductor, and numerous other passive components into one low-profile, thermally-efficient system-in-package (SiP). These modules operate over the industrial temperature range.
2.75kVRMS Isolated RS-485 TransceiverMAX14853
Full-duplex, 500kbps RS-485 with ±35kV ESD protection and integrated transformer driver
IO-Link master transceiverMAX14824
This IO-Link master transceiver is integrated with an auxiliary digital input and two linear regulators and is scalable to 16 channels.
Industrial Power Himalaya Switching RegulatorsHimalaya step-down regulators
These high-voltage (up to 60V), synchronous step-down DC-DC converters with integrated MOSFETs are accurate to within ±1.75% over the -40°C to +125°C temperature range. This family contains regulator ICs that can deliver output currents in the range of 25mA to 5A.
Four-Channel, 5kVRMS Digital Isolators
Our PLC design solution provides interactive block diagrams for each of the five module types commonly found within a PLC, along with design consideration commentary.
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