CAN do: Old and new markets utilize CAN networks

Erlangen, Germany—An increase of CiA members in the last two years from 417 to 517 indicates increasing acceptance of CAN networks in many markets and diversified application areas, according to organization. CAN in Automation (CiA) international users’ and manufacturers’ group supports all those interested in CAN (Controller Area Network).


Erlangen, Germany —An increase of CiA members in the last two years from 417 to 517 indicates increasing acceptance of CAN networks in many markets and diversified application areas, according to organization.

CAN in Automation (CiA)

international users’ and manufacturers’ group supports all those interested in CAN (Controller Area Network). The nonprofit group, founded in 1992, develops and updates CANopen specifications, which comprise CANopen application protocols and device- and application-specific profiles.

One of the “old” CAN markets is the automotive sector . This year, approximately 600 million CAN controllers have been installed in embedded vehicle networks. “This makes CAN one of the most successful serial bus systems”, said CiA managing director Holger Zeltwanger. “CAN will dominate in all kinds of vehicles in the future, too.” CAN is being used in motorized rikshaws, motorized scooters, and bicycles with add-on motors. The CANopen profile for light electric vehicles is being developed in cooperation with the EnergyBus nonprofit group. In passenger cars, CAN will take on tasks such as networking of electronic control units and sensors in driver assistance systems and pedestrian protection systems. Taxis, police cars, and handicapped-driver cars will use the CAN-based higher-layer protocol CANopen to network add-on devices.

In the “old” market machine control , CANopen has been successful in embedded networks. The higher-layer protocol is “invisibly” at work, especially in machine controls that move something.
Now CANopen is also suitable for distributed controls and for machine modules from third parties.

Another “old” market for CAN and CANopen is medical technology. CANopen networks are found in large (computer tomographs) and in small (endoscope controls) medical devices. CIA members are currently working on standardized profiles for intensive care units, including patient beds, but also laboratory automation devices.

Energy generation is one of the “new” markets for CAN networks . Even though the CANopen application profile for photovoltaic plants has already been specified, other industries in this market have just started standardizing of CANopen profiles -- wind-powered energy generation is one of them. CANopen-based local energy-management systems are in the pipeline.

CiA expects increased acceptance in railway vehicle systems , since CANopen has been standardized internationally as vehicle bus system in IEC 61373-3-3. For elevator networks, some large manufacturers discuss the CiA 417 CANopen application profile. Special vehicles also use CANopen.

CiA is planning to develop CANopen profiles for programmable energy supplies, vacuum and hydraulic pumps, low-voltage switchgear and deep sea measuring systems for oil rigs. These will be published in 2008 in cooperation with organizations, such as VDMA (German Engineering Federation), EPSG (European Petroleum Survey Group), and PNO (Profibus users group).

CiA has also relaunched its Web site to provide information for device designers, another part for system designers, and a third part (“About CiA”) targets marketing and the general public. The site integrates the group’s electronic product guides for CANopen, CAN, and J1939 products and services. Soon to follow is partial translation into Chinese, Japanese, and Russian with data targeted to countries. Members may download specifications and enter discussions online.

In related news, registration is open for CANopen Seminar, Stuttgart (DE), Dec. 4, 2007, and for the 12th international CAN Conference, Barcelona (Spain), March 11-13, 2008.

Also CiA has published the CAN Product Guide (and other product guides) on the Internet


For other recent CiA news from Control Engineering , read

Easier RFID integration to CANopen networks


Control Engineering News Desk
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