Standards

Simplifying IEC 61508 SIL3 Certification for Industrial Applications

Renesas Electronics Corporation announced the company’s new “RX Functional Safety” solution for industrial applications that reduces the complexity of IEC 61508 SIL3 (Note 1) certification, an international standard for functional safety.

Based on the RX family of microcontrollers (MCUs), the new solution delivers advanced functional safety for industrial equipment, including functions for chip self-diagnostics, the first SIL3-certified functional safety software and reference documents for users to develop the safety part of industrial applications. The complete functional safety support for industrial applications allows users to shorten the certification acquisition process by a year or more.

Featuring a dual-MCU configuration, the RX Functional Safety will support all Renesas MCUs based on the RXv2 core to enable simple safety verification and a highly efficient diagnostics software. With the SIL3-certified software, the solution eliminates the need for users to develop functional safety software dependant to Renesas MCUs and allows them to focus on development of software for their own application components.

“The need for functional safety is expanding to an ever wider variety of products, driving increased needs for shorter development times and lower costs,” said Masataka Nakao, Manager, Functional Safety Industrial Service Division, at TÜV Rheinland Japan. “The Renesas solution that we have now certified provides both the diagnostic functions required in a functional safety MCU and the functions that make it easy to reuse software assets. We expect that the solution will allow both customers new to developing functional safety products, and customers with functional safety experience to improve their development efficiency.”

“As robot-human interaction in industrial environments becomes more common, we have seen many customers struggling with the complex and often time-consuming challenge of functional safety, which is becoming a significant barrier for the industry,” said Akira Denda, Vice President, Industrial Automation Business Division, Renesas Electronics Corporation. “We are confident that our new RX Functional Safety will contribute to saving their time and resources and can dramatically accelerate the broad adoption of industrial equipment supporting functional safety.”

Renesas points out that when starting on a new functional safety system, developers face a large number of difficult technical problems, including the interpretation of exacting standards, acquiring methods for constructing dual-structure MCUs, and selecting third parties for support. Users experienced in configuring functional safety systems are also challenged with development burdens such as acquiring software certification and the recertification associated with the expansion of system functions.

To resolve these issues, Renesas has developed a comprehensive, software-based solution combining the RX Functional Safety – SIL3 System Software Kit, the RX Functional Safety – Self-Test Software Kit, RX Functional Safety reference hardware, and RX Functional Safety reference documents.

RX Functional Safety – SIL3 System Software Kit

Achieves the world’s first SIL3 certification by performing required mutual diagnostics in a dual MCU architecture structure and a function that isolates multiple software applications to implement functional safety.

  • Functional safety platform software*
  • Safety manual*
  • User guide*
  • IEC 61508 SIL3 certification documents (certification document, test report)
  • Software development handbook
  • Configuration tool for generating and evaluating configuration files that set up the functional safety platform software and set user application behaviour
  • Configuration tool manual

Asterisks (*) indicate items that have received IEC 61508 SIL3 certification from TÜV Rheinland.

RX Functional Safety – Self-Test Software Kit

Performs self-diagnostics at the individual MCU level.

  • Self-diagnostics software library*
  • Safety manual*
  • User guide*

Asterisks (*) indicate items that have received IEC 61508 SIL3 certification from TÜV Rheinland

RX Functional Safety – Reference Hardware

Dual-structure MCU evaluation board using the RX71M and RX651 MCUs, and related technical documentation (manuals, circuit diagrams, parts lists, and other items)

RX Functional Safety – Reference Documents

Technical documentation to help developers acquire SIL3 certification for their applications.

About the RX Functional Safety – SIL3 System Software Kit

The new solution features the first SIL3-certified software, which includes mutual diagnosis that presupposes a dual MCU structure and software isolation functions (safe and non-safe isolation functions) that isolate multiple application software programs from affecting each other. In situations where software changes occur in association with the deployment to multiple versions, the software isolation function allows certification of only the software sections that have changed. This can significantly reduce the time required for recertification of the application and certification of the application itself, reducing the burdens involved in developing dual-MCU configuration systems.

Application software not related to functional safety – such as the system control software and safety monitoring software – can be embedded in a single MCU using the software isolation function, minimizing the need for additional devices for safety monitoring.

Availability

All four elements of the RX Functional Safety are available now. To reduce developers’ initial costs and conduct trials, Renesas will also provide a free version of the RX Functional Safety – Self-Test Software Kit and a free evaluation version of the RX Functional Safety – SIL3 System Software Kit. (Availability subject to change).

(Note 1) Safety Integrity Level (SIL) is a measure of risk reduction. IEC61508 defines the levels from 1 to 4, with 4 providing the highest level of safety integrity and 1 the lowest level.

Renesas Electronics Corporation
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