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The Controller Area Network was originally developed by the Robert Bosch Corporation as a robust, low-speed messaging protocol for automotive use. The CAN protocol is now maintained by the ISO standards organization.

CANopen is an open protocol developed by the CAN in Automation (CiA) organization in Nuremburg, Germany. Like many other application protocols, CANopen uses the robust and ubiquitous CAN physical and link layers for data communication.

The CANopen physical layer is specified for a range of transmission speeds between 10 Kbits/second and 1 Mb/second. Because of the nature of the underlying CAN error checking protocol, the maximum cable length for a CANopen network depends upon the bit rate chosen. At the lower speeds, CANopen can be used for controlling all the cars in a passenger train, whereas the higher speeds are primarily reserved for communications within a few meters.

As an open member organization, CiA publishes a collection of standard CANopen device and system profiles for a variety of uses in the transportation, construction, agriculture, industrial automation, and medical device industries. Dozens of manufacturers are members of the CiA and supply hundreds of CANopen products to customers all over the world.

The CiA also publishes a safety version of the CANopen protocol, and provides a piece of special hardware which will allow CANopen devices to be used in Safety Shutdown Systems.

All CANopen devices are required to provide an Electronic Data Sheet (EDS) file which describes the device capabilities and objects to human engineers and CANopen controllers. The CiA requires all CANopen devices to pass a standard compliance test. The CiA also holds "PlugFests" two or three times a year so your product can be connected with and tested against other company's equipment for interoperability.

What Can AB Tech Solution Do for Your CANopen Product Development?
  • Obtain membership in the CiA for you, which also provides you with the required Vendor ID for all your CANopen products
  • Develop a fully-compliant product for you
  • Add CANopen capability to your existing product
  • Enhance the features and functionality of your product
  • Perform conformance / interoperability testing
  • Take your product to a scheduled PlugFest
  • Obtain CiA certification for your products