Ramtron International Corporation (Nasdaq: RMTR), a leading developer and supplier of nonvolatile ferroelectric random access memory (F-RAM) and integrated semiconductor products, has announced that Blue Planet Co. Ltd., a leading Korean supplier of retrofit diesel particulate filter (DPF) systems and diagnostic modules, has designed Ramtron’s FM3130 and FM3104 Processor Companions into its DMS-series retrofit DPF data loggers.
The FM3130 incorporates 64-kilobit (Kb) of F-RAM memory with an enhanced real-time clock (RTC) and highly integrated support and peripheral functions for processor-based systems. F-RAM has replaced EEPROM in DMS-series DPF systems, where the combination of F-RAM and an RTC is ideal for intensive data collection and storage of vehicle exhaust temperatures, system back pressure, and time logs. Ramtron’s 4Kb FM3104 Processor Companion is also designed into the DMS-series, where the F-RAM plus RTC are used as a buffer memory that writes to a secure digital (SD) card, which stores exhaust temperature profiles and other parametric data.
“We have opted for F-RAM instead of EEPROM on our advanced retrofit DPF data loggers to extend write endurance and improve overall system reliability in a harsh engine environment,” said Blue Planet CEO, Kyung-Woon Kim. “The combination of the RTC and the F-RAM on the FM3130 has also enabled us to reduce component count and board space.”
“The fact that a company such as Blue Planet, which has close to 65% of Korea’s retrofit DPF market, has chosen F-RAM is a testament to its reliability in stringent automotive environments,” says Craig Taylor, Ramtron Technical Marketing Director. “F-RAM’s fast writes and high endurance combined with an enhanced RTC are ideal for such demanding applications.”
Diesel particulate filters remove particulate matter in diesel engine exhausts. Via a catalytic chemical reaction, the filter burns off trapped materials, essentially cleaning or “regenerating” itself. The DPF requires intensive data logging to generate an exhaust temperature and pressure profile. The profile is based on sets of exhaust temperature and pressure variables versus time logs and is used to diagnose which kind of filter and catalyst the target equipment needs – a passive regenerating filter or an active regenerating filter. The data logging, performed by Ramtron’s F-RAM Processor Companions, must be extensive enough to provide a valid representation of the variety of situations in which the equipment is used.
Particles emitted by diesel engines have raised both health and environmental concerns worldwide. In response, the United States, the European Union, South Korea and Japan have established emission limits for diesel engines. To date, more than 200,000 diesel vehicles worldwide have been retrofitted with a DPF and about half a million such vehicles are expected to be retrofitted by 2010.
About the FM3130 and F-RAM Processor Companions
The FM3130 combines 64Kb of F-RAM with an RTC that incorporates an alarm, a programmable frequency clock output, and a common 12pF watch crystal. The alarm compares user-programmed alarm values to corresponding RTC time/date values, creating an ideal solution for automatic on/off, channel switch and parental control, and personal video recorder (PVR) functions. An industry-standard 2-wire bus is used to access the memory and to control the RTC. Available in an 8-pin TDFN package that is footprint-compatible with TSSOP8s, or a standard 8-pin, 150-mil SOIC package, the device operates from 2.7 to 3.6 volts over the entire industrial temperature range (-40 degrees C to +85 degrees C).
Ramtron Processor Companions are highly integrated F-RAM enhanced system management solutions that support virtually any microcontroller- or microprocessor-based design. By integrating nonvolatile F-RAM with common analog and digital functions, the number of discrete components used in the system is minimised in favour of a single-chip solution with lower bill-of-material cost and reduced board space.
F-RAM memory offers the benefits of RAM technology, but is nonvolatile. F-RAM provides NoDelay(TM) write access, virtually unlimited write endurance (approximately 1e14 write cycles), a minimum 10 years of data retention, and low power consumption.
Ramtron International Corporation, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is a fabless semiconductor company that designs, develops and markets specialised semiconductor memory and integrated semiconductor solutions used in a wide range of product applications and markets worldwide.
About Blue Planet
Blue Planet is a technical R&D-oriented company that focuses on developing technologies to clean the atmosphere, especially practical use of automotive emission control, via CRT & partial DPF systems, SCR, plasma-DPF-catalyst systems, engine test and engine development consulting.