Rockwell Makes Industrial Workplace Safer with TI's DSP Technology

8/13/2003 - Helping to increase industrial workplace ergonomics and safety, the TMS320LF2401A digital signal controller from Texas Instruments (TI) (NYSE: TXN) is enabling Rockwell Automation to be the first manufacturer to bring the power of digital signal processing (DSP) to operator interface applications. Implemented in Rockwell Automation´s Zero-Force Touch Button product line from Allen Bradley, the LF2401A, at only 7 x 7 millimeters, processes 40 million instructions per second (MIPS) and is ideal for space constrained applications that need the power and integration of TI´s leading DSP technology, and the control peripheral set and ease of use of a microcontroller (MCU). To obtain more information on the LF2401A digital signal controller, see

Industrial operator interfaces increase safety by requiring the user to activate push buttons that keep hands away from moving equipment. However, traditional push buttons require repetitive force to operate and can lead to fatigue and strain related injuries. Rockwell's Zero-Force Touch Buttons use independent, embedded sensors to convert an operator's touch into an electrical output that initiates operation when hands or fingers are placed over the button. The buttons also use precise capacitive sensor timing combined with a complex algorithm driven by the LF2401A to discriminate between a person's touch and a foreign substance, such as clothing, fluid films or splashes that could lead to accidental equipment operation.

"We needed a processor that could handle this complex task and algorithm, as well as meet our strict size restrictions," said Rachael Karisny, senior marketing engineer, Rockwell Automation. "The LF2401A was the only embedded processor that met these requirements along with the price, service and support that we needed."

The LF2401A controller offers a fast five-channel analog to digital converter (ADC) with a 500 nanosecond conversion time, making it ideal for applications that require real time processing like Rockwell's Zero-Touch Buttons. The embedded controller also offers 8K of sectored reprogrammable flash memory that features encrypted security to protect intellectual code property. Even in the field, designers can now reprogram their products and know their code and intellectual property are secure. Also available are 1K words of on-chip random access memory (RAM), as well as read-only memory (ROM) for boot-up into Flash memory. Additional peripherals include an event manager, a serial communications interface (SCI), a watchdog timer and 13 general-purpose input/output (GPIO) channels.

"Embedded control designers now have an ultra small die equipped with the peripheral integration and ease of use of a microcontroller and the real-time processing performance of a DSP," said Todd Solak, C2000TM worldwide marketing manager, TI. "The LF2401A is code compatible with the full line of C2000 controllers, which provide the broadest range of embedded control optimized solutions available."

There are 17 digital signal controllers in the C2000 platform designed for virtually all control applications. Along with industry leading silicon, TI provides designers with application-focused hardware and software tools designed to speed time to market, and a full array of complementary analog solutions designed to work with all C2000 controllers.

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