Continuing to offer innovative solutions to meet today's growing safety standards, Altera Corporation today announced an industrial safety data package for automation applications. The announcement was made at the Embedded World Exhibition and Conference in Nuremberg, Germany.
Working in conjunction with TÜV Rheinland, a German safety certification body, Altera has created a pre-qualified development tool chain, including safety manuals and safety intellectual property (IP) cores. The Altera solution will shorten development time and lower total system cost in safety-critical industrial applications, such as servo and inverter drives, safety devices, and automation controllers.
Due to new and strict safety regulations as defined in the new European Machinery Directive, industrial automation equipment manufacturers are required to develop their safety-critical designs according to ISO 13849 and IEC 62061 standards. Both standards are based upon the generic standard IEC 61508, which defines requirements for the development of safety products using FPGAs. To meet these standards, designers of safety-critical systems must validate the software, every component, and all development tools used in the safety design. This lengthy process can extend development time by as much as two years.
By offering a safety data package with safety manuals that include information on TÜV-validated Altera FPGAs, standard IP cores and the standard development tool flow, Altera reduces its customers' development time significantly. Additionally, Altera's safety data package contains safety IP cores to ensure system integrity in accordance with the IEC 61508. All of Altera's FPGAs supported in Quartus II design software version 9.0 SP2 have been pre-qualified by TÜV Rheinland. The unique partnership between Altera and TÜV Rheinland has resulted in a verification/validation flow that embeds Altera's complete tool chain for the development of VHDL and C code, as well as for simulation and verification.
"Despite the initiative to apply safety standards in all relevant industrial automation equipment, many manufacturers are still behind when it comes to getting their designs validated and certified," says Stephan Haeb, business unit manager for functional safety products at TÜV Rheinland. "Altera is speeding up the development process by offering TÜV-qualified FPGA tools, IP cores, and manuals to reduce some of the work for those manufacturers. With Altera's unique safety data package, customers can skip the TÜV qualification process for tools and IP cores and start development of the safety requirement specification. By using Altera's FPGAs and tools, they can be confident their parts and tools have passed our strictest safety validation process."
The ability of Altera's FPGAs to integrate the functionality of digital signal processing (DSP) devices, microprocessors, and ASSPs traditionally found in industrial safety designs can also help manufacturers lower their total system cost. Manufacturers can reduce board space and system complexity by integrating functions such as motor control and Industrial Ethernet networking capabilities into one FPGA.
"Altera's new safety data package is a big indicator that Altera FPGAs will eventually take over where ASSPs and microprocessors once reigned," said Michael Samuelian, director of the industrial and automotive business unit at Altera. "By teaming up with TÜV Rheinland, a highly respected safety certification body, we're able to reduce customers' development time and lower total system cost. Altera's FPGAs will become the new standard for the industrial safety market."
Altera's industrial safety data package will be available early in the second quarter of this year. For more information on Altera's safety data package, see Altera at the Embedded World 2010 Exhibition and Conference in Nuremberg, Germany at Booth EW Hall 9/9-259.