Infineon has continued the reshaping of its industrial microcontroller portfolio, moving away from proprietary 16bit devices and 8051 based 8bit parts to an ARM based platform. It has now announced the next step in the process – a Cortex-M0 based range addressing low end applications.
Talking exclusively to New Electronics, Dr Stephan Zizala, senior director, industrial and multimarket microcontrollers, said Infineon's Cortex-M4 based XMC4000 family has been successful because it has been targeted at three main applications: industrial drives; power and energy; and automation. "We are taking the same approach with the XMC1000 family," he said, "but there will be four main application segments – general purpose; led lighting; power conversion; and motor control. And low end motor control will be an important target market." He contended that mcus at the low end of the market need to compete on five features: performance; peripherals; program memory; portfolio scalability; and price. Like other mcu developers, Infineon recognises that 8bit mcus have run out of steam. "They can only compete on price now," Dr Zizala contended. "But while 32bit mcus solve many problems, price remains an issue and vendors have solved this problem in the past by reducing the peripheral set. Our target is to break this barrier." Infineon says it is meeting 8bit price points in three ways. "Firstly," Dr Zizala explained, "we're targeting the XMC1000 family at a 65nm embedded flash process on 300mm wafers. The ARM core is also important, but we're also reusing peripherals developed for the XMC4000 family, as well as adding some innovate new peripherals. We're offering 32bit power at an 8bit price." The entry level XMC1100 family is aimed at general purpose and sensing applications. "Even though the devices are packaged in 16pin tssops," said Dr Zizala, "14 of the pins are functional. Also included are six a/d converters capable of 1.8Msample/s and a capture/compare unit (CCU) with four 16bit timers." Devices will have from 8 to 64kbyte of embedded flash, 16k of ram and two serial interface channels. The XMC1200 family, intended for use in led lighting applications, adds a brightness and colour control unit to the peripheral set. According to Dr Zizala, there's enough headroom to run Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI) and stage lighting (DMX) applications. These parts have from 16 to 200k of embedded flash and 16k of ram, with the addition of two fast analogue comparators. The number of a/d converters is doubled and two are sample and hold devices. Meanwhile, the XMC1300 family is aimed at motor control. "Often, controllers have to decide whether current is above or below a threshold," Dr Zizala said, "so it needs comparators." The event request unit – common to all XMC1000 devices – takes the output from the comparators and links it to the CCU. "It's a concept we've taken from the XMC4000 range," he noted. The CCU also brings asymmetric PWM functionality, as well as a position interface which, along with the maths coprocessor, allows the devices to support sensorless field oriented motor control. Infineon claims this feature is 'unique for Cortex-M0 based products'. Available in 16, 28 and 38pin tssops, devices in the XMC1300 range have from 8 to 200kbyte of embedded flash and 16k of ram. All devices in the XMC1000 range can operate from supplies in the range from 1.8 to 5.5V and are supported by Infineon's DAVE development environment. Samples of all devices will be available from March 2013, with volume production planned for Q4 2013.