Xilinx Low Cost Spartan FPGAs Enable MEI's High-Performance SynqNet Motion Control Network

1/8/2003 - Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ:XLNX) announced that Motion Engineering, Inc. (MEI), a leading manufacturer of motion control solutions, utilized Xilinx® Spartan®-IIE FPGAs as a key enabler in the development of SynqNet technology, a high performance motion network designed to dramatically enhance machine performance & reliability. MEI developed the industry-adopted technology based upon Xilinx programmable logic. By utilizing a Xilinx reprogrammable solution, versus standard fixed logic, MEI has helped speed SynqNet's adoption by a growing number of servo suppliers including AMC, Yaskawa Electric, Panasonic, Sanyo Denki, Tamagawa Seiki, and Danaher Motion.

"Xilinx provided a cost-effective alternative to ASICs, eliminating ASIC related development costs and speeding time-to-market," said Phil Strong, CEO of MEI. "And because we used Xilinx FPGAs in lieu of fixed logic, we can provide our customers with an efficient and reliable way to upgrade and customize features, at design time, or in the field."

SynqNet replaces the defacto standard +10V analog interface with a patent-pending real-time synchronous network to deliver superior motion performance and reliability in complex applications. The technology is particularly suited to robotics, precision positioning, and high-speed point-to-point applications.

SynqNet technology delivers high reliability machine operation using a unique fault-tolerant design featuring dual redundant data paths. An intermittent break or short in the primary data cable can be detected in real-time, isolated, and repaired automatically by re-routing data. Additionally, node-to-node transmission data errors are continuously monitored. Abnormally high levels of transmission errors can be used to trigger a maintenance action in the machine. These features maximize machine availability and reduce the risk of costly crashes.

"In the semiconductor business it's all about high performance, lower integration costs, and rapid diagnostics. MEI, which remains focused on the semiconductor market, is leveraging its ability to rapidly innovate," said Sal Spada, director of research for Discrete Industries at ARC Advisory Group, the leader in providing strategic planning and technology assessment services to leading manufacturers. "SynqNet is the result of listening to their customer's needs. For such drive suppliers as Yaskawa, Panasonic, Tamagawa, and Kollmorgen to design a SynqNet interface implies a huge pull from the machine builders."

"MEI's innovative application of Xilinx low-cost FPGAs is a prime example of our ability to deliver a high-performance programmable solution while drastically reducing overall system costs for our customers," said Robert Bielby, senior director of Strategic Solutions at Xilinx. "This further underscores the versatility of the Spartan family to address a wide range of applications and markets from consumer, automotive telematics, and digital video, to industrial applications such as MEI's."

Spartan Series: a proven architecture over four generations
Since introducing the Spartan series more than four years ago, Xilinx has delivered four generations and shipped over 40 million Spartan Series devices starting as low as $2.55 per device. With the Spartan Series, designers get the advantages of high I/O-count gate arrays and ASICs, but with the added flexibility of a general purpose, programmable architecture. In 2003, Xilinx is on track to deliver a fifth generation of the Spartan Series, reaching even higher densities and pin counts at significantly lower price points.

Xilinx eSP
In addition to providing high performance silicon and software, Xilinx provides an online resource for engineers with over four million visits since its introduction early last year. Xilinx eSP (www.xilinx.com/esp) is a comprehensive resource, delivering a powerful array of solutions and information in a single location.

About MEI
Motion Engineering designs, manufactures, markets and sells performance motion control solutions to high value capital equipment builders in the semiconductor, electronic assembly, robotics and medical markets. MEI's core hardware and software technologies combined with advanced tools and engineering services allow OEMs to build better machines, faster. MEI is a privately held company headquartered in Santa Barbara, Calif., with offices and development centers in the US, Europe, and Japan.

MEI's processes and business systems are ISO9001:2000 certified and designed to serve the high standards demanded by the world's leading capital equipment suppliers. Information is available on the web at www.motioneng.com.

About Xilinx
Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) is the worldwide leader of programmable logic and programmable system solutions. Additional information about Xilinx is available at www.xilinx.com.

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