Freescale Semiconductor, Cirrus Logic team to develop solutions for growing digital utility meter market


Tom Stein, Vice
President & General
Manager, Cirrus Logic
September 23, 2010 – Freescale Semiconductor and Cirrus Logic  are working together to provide a proven, turnkey reference design for the growing digital utility meter market. The reference design, which is available today, pairs Cirrus Logic’s CS5463 analogue front end (AFE) chip with Freescale’s 8-bit AC60 microcontrollers (MCUs), giving smart meter original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) a superior solution that allows for increased performance, design flexibility and lower system costs.

Smart power meters provide an economical way to measure energy usage in residential settings, provide real-time pricing based on demand and minimise energy consumption during peak periods. This enables utilities to reduce their need to build more electrical generation capacity.

A new report from Berg Insight concludes that the worldwide deployment of smart electricity meters will reach 302.5 million at the end of 2015, based on a compound annual growth rate of 31.1 percent between 2009 and 2015. During the next five years, penetration rates for smart meter technology are projected to more than double to nearly 50 percent in Europe and North America, while Asia-Pacific is projected to reach 25 percent by 2015, from less than one percent today. The report anticipates that growth will continue into the second half of this decade, with many markets approaching 100 percent penetration by 2020. Key market drivers include global efforts to upgrade the electric grid, such as the United State’s $43 billion energy sector stimulus package that includes $4.5 billion for intelligent grid projects like advanced metering infrastructure (AMI).

Leveraging Cirrus Logic’s long history and expertise in mixed-signal solutions for residential utility metering applications, the CS546X family provides best-in-class energy measurement accuracy for next-generation smart grid devices. As power quality and grid efficiency efforts gain momentum, Cirrus Logic energy measurement chips benefit utility industry customers by generating the high-quality energy measurement data needed to deliver on-demand energy usage information accurately.

“Across all markets, customers value the superior measurement accuracy capabilities and cost effectiveness of our products,” said Tom Stein, vice president and general manager, Cirrus Logic Energy, Exploration and Lighting Division. “Teaming with Freescale to develop smart meter reference designs will give OEMs a ready-to-use system to complete designs quickly, with significant performance enhancements, design flexibility, lower system costs and faster calibration than SOCs can provide today.”

The Freescale Kinetis portfolio of MCUs gives OEMs the flexibility to choose among a variety of MCUs that are ideal for their system. Freescale’s MQX real-time operating software and algorithms run on a dedicated digital signal processor and are programmable to run on the MCU. Freescale and Cirrus Logic plan additional single-phase meter reference designs in the future that feature new AFE and MCU products.

"We believe Freescale’s extensive portfolio of processors with the range of on-board flash memory size, 90 nanometer Thin Film Storage technology and metering-specific features built in will give our customers the ultimate flexibility to address various meter types and topologies and provide them with a ready platform for their smart energy products,” said Aiden Mitchell, director of Industrial and Multi-market MCUs for Freescale’s Microcontroller Solutions Group.