To keep pace with the rapid evolution of Industry 4.0, industrial IoT system
developers rely on smart, secure connected devices to automate factories and
buildings. Electric motors in particular are a cornerstone of today’s factory
and automation processes, and motor control equipment represents a substantial
segment of today’s automation market.
Multi-axis industrial drives, Ethernet-based time-sensitive networking (TSN)
communications and industrial automation control system (IACS) security are
critical technologies for automation applications. Because of their complex
motor drive, communications and security requirements, these industrial
applications can be challenging to develop without optimized processing
platforms. Intelligent industrial IoT (IIoT) systems must communicate, share
data and interact with both users and other machines – and handle all of these
To address these Industry 4.0 application needs, NXP has announced the i.MX RT
Industrial Drive Development Platform to enable system designers to develop
and test industrial use cases on a single, all-inclusive platform, speeding
time to market while maintaining a secure-by-design approach. NXP’s i.MX RT Industrial Drive Development Platform provides a comprehensive, modular
solution that brings together essential technologies that will redefine the
next era of secure IIoT devices and drive the transition to truly smart
Electric motors—A cornerstone of smart factories and building automation applications.
Start planning your next project
with this flexible and modular
Designed to simplify IIoT development, the platform supports multi-axis motor
control, deterministic TSN communications, human machine interfaces (HMI),
machine-to-machine (M2M) interfaces and cyber-resilient industrial security
required for Industry 4.0. Target applications include robotic arms, mobile
industrial robotics, 3D printers, motor drives, multi-axis machinery and AC
and servo drives. Although optimized for industrial applications, the platform
can also be used for building automation such as HVAC and elevator/escalator
motor control and for consumer applications such as white goods (e.g., large
appliances with motors including refrigerators, washing machines and dryers).
Introducing the i.MX RT Industrial Drive Development Platform
NXP has unified the latest Industry 4.0 technologies into a comprehensive
hardware and software platform to enable smart, secure industrial IoT
application development. The flexible, modular i.MX RT Industrial Drive
Development Platform supports multi-motor control and deterministic TSN
communications while providing a solid foundation for standards-compliant
industrial cybersecurity. The platform hardware is built on the i.MX RT1170
crossover microcontroller (MCU) family and EdgeLock® SE05x
Leveraging the 800 MHz performance of the industrial-qualified i.MX RT1170
crossover MCU, the i.MX RT Industrial Drive Development Platform showcases the
i.MX RT1170 MCU’s capability to control up to four permanent-magnet
synchronous motors (PMSM) simultaneously. In addition to handling advanced
motor control algorithms, the i.MX RT1170 device has bandwidth to spare to
support displays, deterministic Ethernet TSN, data logging, fault detection
and a security approach that will be certified to meet the ISA/IEC 62443-4 SL3
standard. Together with the on-board EdgeLock SE05x secure element, the
platform provides a ready-to-go, multi-board solution that accelerates the
evaluation and validation of today’s industrial applications.
Flexible Multi-Board Approach
The industrial drive development platform consists of three main boards: a
daughter card, which integrates a single i.MX RT1170 crossover MCU device, a
digital board, which acts as the expansion peripheral board for the daughter
card, and a power stage board, which handles 200W output power to control
sensored and sensorless motors. Depending on application specifications,
developers can add from one to four power stage boards to the system,
providing added flexibility for unique design requirements.
i.MX RT Industrial Drive Development Platform
Let´s take a closer look at some of the key features and functions you can
explore with the development platform:
Multi-Axis Motor Control
A typical approach to a multi-axis system in a factory shop floor uses several
single motor drives connected through a real-time communications protocol. The
latest platform provides a more efficient approach for multi-axis
applications. Controlling up to four motors with a single MCU device helps
reduce the amount of drives, cables and networking components required for a
factory automation application. The platform demonstrates and guides how to
leverage MCU peripherals and gate drivers for single, dual, triple or quad
Industrial Deterministic Communication
Today, it is very rare to find an industrial device deployed in a standalone
mode, i.e., not connected to a network. Deterministic communications is
essential to support the evolution toward Industry 4.0, and Ethernet TSN is
becoming the backbone of that communication. For end node devices, especially
those controlling actuators such as motors, it is a key requirement to support
TSN and seamlessly integrate with the operational technology (OT) network.
Every industrial device in the field should be able to detect and react to
various system faults. Ranging from current spikes, abnormal voltages, high
temperatures or external signals coming from other sensors, the device must be
able to enter into a fail-safe mode until the fault is removed. This
functionality is included in the industrial drive development platform,
leveraging instant interrupt services within its comprehensive software
Production data, user access, alarms, errors and faults are all essential for
monitoring, analyzing and auditing the normal operation of a factory or
building. Recording a comprehensive log is a key capability for field
engineers who need to determine how to get industrial systems to an optimal
state. The industrial drive development platform can provide a reference point
for developers to design and integrate their own data log subsystem within
their IIoT devices.
The IoT revolution has brought us hyper-connected homes, buildings and
factories. Most of the data being transferred has a monitoring purpose, from
full digital twins to SCADA systems. The realization of these examples is only
possible by ensuring reliable remote monitoring of IoT devices in the field.
The i.MX RT Industrial Drive Development Platform guides developers on how to
establish a secure channel between the end device and a monitoring system
(e.g. a laptop, server or other field machine).
Secure User Interaction
Industrial devices must only interact with trusted users or other machines.
Leveraging the NXP security-by-design approach, the industrial drive
development platform enforces security policies that are commonly required in
factories that manage critical infrastructure. Only after a proper
authentication and verification will the platform allow trusted user and
machine-to-machine interaction. The platform demonstrates how designers can
take advantage of credential provisioning capabilities to enable this feature.
Cyber-Resilient Industrial Security
While being prepared for cyber-physical attacks is a necessary strategy, it is
also important to know that if an attack succeeds, the affected IIoT device
can return to a previous trusted state. This is what the cyber-resilience
principal is all about. Built with an embedded EdgeLock SE05x secure element,
the industrial drive development platform implements a cyber-resilient
approach that enables the device to detect if it has been compromised (e.g.,
from malicious code injection) and then automatically boots to a trusted
image, making sure to remove the non-trusted code.
Reference for ISA/IEC 62443-4
The i.MX RT Industrial Drive Development Platform provides meaningful guidance
and collateral to help developers ease their industrial security certification
journey with NXP products. Although the platform serves as a valuable
reference for ISA/IEC 62443-4-1,-4/2 compliance, it does not grant automatic
certification to their end products at this time. NXP plans to achieve IEC
62443-4-1/2 certification for the platform toward the end of 2022.
i.MX RT Industrial Drive Development Platform System Diagram
Core Platform Technology
The i.MX RT Industrial Drive Development Platform provides the essential
technologies developers need to create smart, secure and connected industrial
devices. The development boards support the following NXP technologies:
i.MX RT1170 crossover MCU family: Part of the EdgeVerse™
edge computing platform, the MCUs feature a dual-core architecture
incorporating the Arm®
Cortex®-M7 and Cortex-M4 cores, real-time functionality and
exceptional MCU usability at a cost-effective price.
NAFE next generation analog front end (AFE) platform with software
configurable analog inputs for high-precision data acquisition and condition
PF5020: The multi-channel PMIC is designed for high-performance industrial
and automotive applications with integrated functional safety options.
GD3000: The field effect transistor (FET) pre-driver is designed for
three-phase 12-48V motor control.
TJA115x: The CAN transceiver with hardware firewall, intrusion detection and
intrusion prevention support offers a hardware-based, non-cryptographic
foundation for layered security on CAN networks.
TJA146x: The CAN signal improvement capability transceiver with standby mode
implements CAN FD communication at 5 Mbps.
PN7462 NFC reader: The NFC Cortex-M0 is an all-in-one MCU with an optional
contact interface for access control.
EdgeLock SE05x: The certified EdgeLock secure element family provides
extended crypto functionality for multi-industrial IoT use cases.
What’s the best MCU for your motor control design?
Explore our comprehensive
motor control guide
for the latest solutions.
Simplify Your Industrial Design Process
Industrial drive development boards will be available from NXP and through NXP
distribution channels later this year. The application software pack includes
sample code and design files, along with comprehensive technical
For more details about the i.MX RT Industrial Drive Development Platform,