MESCO is authorized partner of ST Microelectronics

Friday, 1. September 2023

MESCO Engineering, an expert in the development of functionally safe electronics, shows that products with functional safety and the use of commercially available microcontrollers do not have to be a contradiction in terms. With the right architecture and the appropriate know-how, engineers can easily implement cost-effective solutions for functionally safe products.

For more than ten years, MESCO Engineering has successfully used various microcontrollers to ensure safety in product developments for its customers. Numerous projects have already been successfully implemented and certified with controllers from STMicroelectronics. MESCO customers benefit from cost-effective hardware, scalable solutions, shortened development times, excellent support and optimal development performance. These benefits have also led MESCO to become an ST Authorized Partner.

Over 15 years of experience with ST microcontrollers

Over 15 years ago, MESCO performed its first electronics development project for a customer using an ST microcontroller. Because of the good experience with these microcontrollers and the technical support, ST became the preferred choice for the next project. MESCO now uses a wide range of STM32 microcontrollers, from the low-cost STM32L0 to the high-performance STM32H7. This decision is based on clear and structured documentation, scalable architecture concepts and continuous enhancements of both the core and the peripherals.

For example, the STM32F7 enables fully DMA-controlled I²C communication. In addition, the Rx/Tx pins of the UARTs are interchangeable via software. On the STM32H7 this feature also applies to the MISO and MOSI lines of the SPI interfaces, which is of great advantage in industrial communication. The STM32Cube environment provides additional support for development with HAL libraries, pin managers and more. ST’s 10-year longevity program guarantees the long-term availability of the controllers used, which is especially important for MESCO’s industrial customers.

Competitive advantage through standard STM microcontrollers

While Functional Safety product developments can also be realized with Lockstep or other specialized processors, MESCO demonstrates its competitive advantage for the process and factory automation industry by realizing cost-effective safety hardware and software with standard STM32 microcontrollers. Most customer projects running at MESCO are sensors, actuators, safety-related inputs and outputs or safety option cards for drives with encoder connections, based on IEC61508/SIL2 or SIL3 with short response times. In these cases MESCO often chooses a two-channel architecture and realizes the necessary communication between the microcontrollers, e.g. via a UART with speeds up to 27Mbit/s for STM32F7.

The dual-channel architecture facilitates the required diagnostics for cross communication and data synchronization between both processors. Its advantage is that the diagnostic time can be longer than the safety response time, since one of the channels can still perform the safety function in the event of an error. This reduces the requirements for self-tests (RAM and CPU tests).

Based on this proven dual-channel architecture with STM32 microcontrollers, MESCO Engineering offers proven and versatile solutions for individual customer projects. With the help of MESCO’s modular design packages and suitable evaluation boards, concepts can be quickly turned into functional prototypes.

Interested customers are invited to contact MESCO Engineering to learn more about the possibilities in Functional Safety product development.

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