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Microchip Licenses EtherCAT Technology

25 February 2015

Microcontroller vendor Microchip Technology Inc. said Wednesday (Feb. 25) it has licensed EtherCAT industrial Ethernet technology for use in the company’s next-generation Ethernet controllers. Financial terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.

Microchip (Chandler, Ariz.) said adding EtherCAT technology to its Ethernet controllers would provide system developers with high-levels of integration, flexibility and stability for creating products that meet evolving industrial standards. The license combined with Microchip’s Ethernet product portfolio will also enable the Ethernet controllers to increase system efficiency and reduce costs, Microchip said.

EtherCAT technology, an open, real-time Ethernet network technology, is said to offer “on the fly" processing and use of standard Ethernet cabling, eliminating expensive switch fabrics.

The EtherCAT standard, which boosts 3,000 members from 58 countries, has been continually enhanced without fundamental interface changes since its adoption in 2004, ensuring interoperability with existing devices while providing improvements to meet the evolving needs of designers. Backers claim EtherCAT technology has been shown to have the highest throughput of any industrial Ethernet standard.

Microchip said Ethernet controllers with EtherCAT technology are in the latter stages of development.

"The EtherCAT standard is a proven and robust industrial communication protocol that is expanding its market presence in drive and I/O applications," said Mitch Obolsky, vice president of Microchip's USB and Networking group, in a statement.

Obolsky said adding the Ethercat technology to Microchip’s Ethernet controllers would provide designers with compelling new connectivity options for designs, specifically for products supporting the Internet of Things.

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