STMicroelectronics (NYSE:STM), one of the world’s leading suppliers of microcontrollers for automotive applications, announced that its ST7FMC microcontroller family has been Automotive-Grade qualified to meet the specific and rigorous demands of the automotive market. Built around an industry-standard 8-bit core and designed for driving Brushless Direct Current (BLDC) motors, the microcontroller family is ideal for use in various car body applications such as fuel and water pumps, cooling fans and interior blowers.
The ST7FMC family features higher system integration compared to alternative microprocessor or Digital Signal Processor (DSP)-based approaches. The micros minimize the need for external components, and reduce Printed Circuit Board (PCB) space, thus lowering the cost of the overall application. The family features an embedded motor-control cell, which includes six-phase Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) control, voltage or current sensing and a highly flexible Back Electromotive Force (BEMF) detector for the sensorless control of permanent-magnet BLDC motors. All the application-specific devices in the family now operate over the full automotive temperature range of -40 degrees C to +125 degrees C and include safety features such as current sensing used for stall detection, asynchronous emergency stop, write-once registers and Clock Security System (CSS). ST’s patented algorithms also enable the motor-control cell to offer unique fail-free motor-starting capabilities.
The higher integration of the family allows reduced code size, while the addition of the motor-control cell minimizes the CPU load to control the motor. In addition an integrated Local Interconnect Network (LIN) communication interface and the availability of a complete set of standard peripherals control various application environments.
All devices in the family are supported by an extensive range of state-of- the-art development tools. Dedicated Automotive evaluation and development kits are designed to allow customers to prove device performance in their own applications. Furthermore, the ST7FMC family, with easy-to-use software and complete motor control C-libraries, delivers advantages in terms of productivity and faster time-to-market.
Housed in tiny TQFP32 and TQFP44 packages, the devices are available now in production volume. Pricing starts from $1.65, depending on the device, in 10,000 unit quantities.
STMicroelectronics has introduced an ‘Automotive Grade’ policy designed to deliver products which comply with the guidelines of the Automotive Electronics Council and adhere to well-defined design, characterization, qualification and manufacturing processes. All products conforming to Automotive Grade criteria carry specific identification on support documentation and product packing. ST’s Automotive Grade distinguishes the products intended for use in automotive applications. As market requirements change, Automotive Grade criteria will evolve to meet them.
STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications. An unrivalled combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing strength, Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio and strategic partners positions the Company at the forefront of System-on-Chip (SoC) technology and its products play a key role in enabling today’s convergence markets. The Company’s shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, on Euronext Paris and on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 2005, the Company’s net revenues were $8.88 billion and net earnings were $266 million.