STMicroelectronics organised an online media engagement on 8 September 2020, on the subject ‘ST Industrial Leadership in Automation’ presented by Francesco MUGGERI, Regional Vice President Marketing & Applications, Power Discrete and Analog Products, Asia Pacific, STMicroelectronics and Allan LAGASCA, Marketing Director, Industrial Products, Head of Automation Competence Center, Power Discrete and Analog Products, Asia Pacific, STMicroelectronics. The session was designed to understand ST’s strategy for the Automation Industrial Segment. As ST’s portfolio is wide in terms of the number of products, the company’s technology and innovation differentiates its products intended for several segments. The article focuses on automation i.e. automation and artificial intelligence solutions, low voltage motor control for battery and power devices and medical solutions.
ST’s strategic objectives
ST’s strategy is built around four pillars namely: Automotive, Industrial, Personal electronics and Communications Equipment and Computers & Peripherals. Out of which industrial is one of the most important one. These pillars together with the infrastructure communication are representing the strong revolution. The industrial strategy is built around products for embedded processing, industrial sensors, analog devices, power and energy. The focus is about acceleration of growth with key customers who are capable to lead the technology.
ST industrial strategy for Asia
ST Asia target is to become the leader in the industrial market – focus on main segments like motor control, power, energy and automation. ST’s Strategic Objectives revolve around – Leadership in Asian industrial market, boost growth focusing on power & energy, motor control and automation, partner with technology leaders and key industrial customers to accelerate growth and address Asian Mass Market opportunities through dynamic distribution network. In the automation sector ST has application focus on Factory Automation, Industrial IoT, Home & Building Automation and Industrial Drives. In the Motor Control segment ST has applications on Home & Professional Appliances, Industrial Power & Tools and Climate Control. Under Power and Energy segment ST has application focus on Power Supplies and Converters, Energy Generation & storage, LED Lighting and Controls and Metering & Power Line Communication.
Automation trends and markets
Automation requires a high level of technology. It leads to 8% CAGR in demand acceleration from 2019 to 2023. This is the age of intelligence, not just of artificial intelligence, but also the embedded processing, robotic innovation and 5G infrastructure play a major role.
Automation major focus sectors
Automation is split into Factory Automation and Home, Building & City Automation. There are several segments for Home, Building and City Automation. Smart Home and Building is playing a big role and it is more related to the security of individuals and families. Smart cities are more about mobility. ST has a lot of products to offer, for example wireless connection, wireless charging, ViperPlus products for supporting integrated function of power management, STPOWER, SiC products and the core STM32. There are several versions including the STSPIN version, the SPIRIT version, wireless communication and security. For manufacturing and process, ST has big TAM ($3.1 billion) in Asia. For building and home control ST has $1.2 billion TAM in Asia.
Industrial Automation Competence Center: Here ST offers two solutions for automation. They are the solutions for Condition Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance, and BLE-KNX Smart Lighting Control.
Condition Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance: Predictive maintenance is important in industrial 4.0. Predictive Maintenance is able to anticipate possible failures or anticipate line down to decrease breakdowns by 70%, reduce machine downtime by 50%, save 30% cost through earlier failure detection and the scheduled repair cost is much lower. ST has three solutions including the STEVAL IDP 004 and BFA 001, one is for the master IO-link, and the other one is the receiver. IO-link communication is a wireless protocol for communicating seamlessly without error data. The data goes from the sensors, then is edged and processed with micros, then goes to the main board, and receives and shares data with the computing area.
STWIN introduces wireless industrial communication: They can detect vibration, which is the main symptom of failures. Thermal heating can be other big symptoms of failure, and so is magnetic sensing. ST has optimized industrial M12 connectors, and has specialized algorithms. ST can customize this solution with expertise and tailor it to customers’ production line needs.
STEVAL-STWINKT1: This is the best-in-class industrial grade sensor for its ultrasound detection and vibration analysis. So it is not only about sensing, but also analysis. Once you collect your data, you want your data to be communicated with security. For this STSAFE-100 creates a clear safer understanding of secure data. Your data will be with you and your production secrets will stay with you. It requires low power. When these modules/nodes are battery powered, the stand-by power needs to be minimized. The life of battery will be longer. It has BLE connectivity enabled with Bluetooth to connect a lot of other equipment and algorithms are implemented on the STM32L4+.
Complete ecosystem to implement AI on STM32: For vibration monitoring ST has MEMS, for the signal conditioning ST has analog device and interfaces, for processing ST has STM32, for secure power management ST has power management devices and discrete such as STPMIC and MOSFET (the switch), for connectivity ST has devices for power line communication and wireless. STM32 is now supported by the STM32 Cube. AI, a database or library that interfaces with all the software standards around the market, such as Caffe, TensorFlowLite, ONNX and PyTorch. ST not only offers products but also the complete ecosystem to create clear analysis.
STM32: the brain behind smart industry: What hosts this intelligence? The brain is the STM32. STM32G4 represents a solution for the industrial application with high controller capability and computation capability. ST has low power when the battery is a concern. The company has STM32 capable of delivering wireless communication. ST has a rich ecosystem for smart industry: for Safety: X-Cube-STL, for Security: STM32TRUST, for Graphic: TouchGFX and for Motor control SDK.
For factory automation it is very important to have a clear communication inside the production line and the communication from the production line to the control board. So that we are able to create communication with the wired, the wireless, and the communication with interfaces to the main system, especially for home automation. So it interface with the Apple as well as Android.
BLE-KNX smart lighting control with mobile APP.
KNX is a protocol for Smart Home solutions. Everyone tries to cable with new lines in house. Why don’t we just use the power line there to distribute energy to each building and home? The smart idea is using the existing power line in building. For that we need to enable each equipment we download with smart switch capability, and then connect them to the centralized intelligence system. Sometimes the line is interrupted between different offices in the building, then wireless communication could be the solution. ST has integrated the system with the same protocol KNX in wireless communication, so three different boards can be stacked together. You can assemble and play them together as a Nucleo board, and combine them into more complex and optimized solutions.
KNX advantages: The advantage of KNX protocol is the capability to integrate in existing IT infrastructure and network, low energy consumption with the introduction of Smart controls and introducing Automation to the heating control, lighting, ventilation when it is necessary, window shades control and avoiding the light when it is necessary, and shutting down fans in the ventilation system when no one is there.
ST Bluetooth low energy: This is supported by a wide range of portfolios for wireless. ST has Bluetooth 5 certified product support, and BlueNRG brand supported together with the STM32. STM32 connects with any of the main mobile platforms and is compatible with systems like Zigbee, Thread and Bluetooth. ST can also share proprietary solutions and protocols.
ST products for medical and low voltage motor control
Medical ultrasound imaging solution
ST has several boards that are reinforced by the products. STM32, STHV family of pulsers for 4-channnel, 8-channel, 16-channel, and supported by a 64-channel Bi-directional MUX STHV64SW. The key features of these boards includes a USB ready connector for the STM32 PC interface for the graphical user interface(GUI), better flash memories and load simulators to satisfy the most advanced requirements of customers development.
ST product offering for healthcare
ST has wide product offering for healthcare. For data acquisition ST has sensors, for data processing ST has microcontrollers and artificial intelligence technology, for motion control ST has motor driver family of devices for Security ST offers STSAFE which includes unique ID in silicon, digital signature and confidentiality via encryption and for connectivity ST has both wired and wireless solutions. Medical imaging, Focused ultrasound, Energy harvesting and neuro stimulators, Non-destructive testing, Electrocardiography (ECG), Photo plethysmo graphy (PPG), Galvanic skin resistance (GSR), Bio impedance functionalities, Oxygen saturation, Respiratory rate, Skin temperature are available in the market.
Data acquisition: For data acquisition, ST offers motion sensors, pressure sensors, microphones, and temperature and humidity sensors in addition to ultrasound.
STM32 range for healthcare applications
ST has wide product offers for STM32 microcontrollers for healthcare applications. ST has STM32G4 and STM32L4 +. For mainstream MCU, they offer flexibility in terms of computation capability, interface capability and cost. For ultra-low power, they are used when battery device and battery life is a concern. As mentioned before, we also have the MCUs addressing wireless connectivity.
STM32G4 series: For the industrial sector, STM32G4 key benefits are the computation capability, rich integrated analog and digital (very compact and integrated, for example, the digital comparators to take signals, 213DMIPS and 550 CoreMark results,12-bit ADCs 4Msps for hardware oversampling and USB type-C power delivery capability).
High security with STSAFE-A: For homes, offices and hospitals, we need security. ST’s STSAFE device offers a unique ID in silicon, secure boot process, digital signature and confidential data communication, thanks to the encryption.
Low Voltage Motor Control for Medical, Servo and Power Tools: ST offers three kits which are available in the market. They can be implemented in medical, servo modules and power tools. For example, for factory automation ST talks about one specification about the design machine. We need to run in parallel to ensure the movement of the thread is coming with the same speed. So you need a high level of performance and we have low voltage motor control solutions to manage motors at the same time. ST has devices and solutions that create very high precision dual motor control solutions and support both hardware and firmware.
Power and Garden tools: ST has STSPIN32F0 which is able to drive the device with battery up to 36V, and ST has the solution with 36V to 60V high voltage capability. ST offers STSPIN and low voltage boards.
Low voltage architectures to fit all requirements: What is important is to combine ST product portfolios with different solutions. The system architecture can be customized to meet different customer needs.
If the customer need more compact solutions ST can provide quite differentiated support. For example 3x HB gate drivers STDRIVE601 represents one package only. STDRIVE601 can drive three half bridges, the discrete MOSFET can be outside, whereas the MCU can be integrated with some comparators. Also we can have the 3X HB gate drivers with the MOSFET in 1 package, and have STM32 integrated with 3 gate drivers inside like our STSPIN32 family. In addition, we can have the STSPIN family integrated with a wide range of power devices and get the flexibility to have the power stage with the STripFET, being outside.
Low voltage MOSFETs: ST offers low voltage MOSFET portfolios i.e. STripFET F7, which is at the edge of technology innovation. They are offered in 40V, 60V, 80V and 100V in different packages.
Replying to ELE Times on one of the questions – With the growing focus of Industry 4.0 in India & worldwide, which application segment will grow at a robust rate for ST and why, Francesco MUGGERI replied, “Overall, ST has several segments. But I think here the attention is on the industrial side. We have more aggressive expectations around the motor control side, because the demand is big and the average price for each product is quite high. When you go to big modules, that is, where the big TAM and big opportunities are. When we talk about motor control, we have huge demand for the heating and ventilation systems for buildings. The big demand also comes from another segment, which is for the differentiated intelligence. This means the MCU is having a big response, thanks for the industrial automation of the IoT. So you need all these nodes, and each of these nodes requires MCUs, and that is a big area we are expected to see growing. So it presents big opportunities. When we talk about power and energy, we intend all the power supplies, especially with the GaN devices. With the new technologies like the SiC, we mostly expect big growth with the GaN (switch devices) in the next few years. This is where we see the big growth, segments like adaptor, chargers etc. This is ST’s internal expectation. As for the external market, we see automation as the big driver overall. The demand for new energy will be one of the drivers for the industrial”.