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CiA story

In the year 1992, eight companies founded the CiA nonprofit organization, in order to provide an independent body to collect and to distribute technical, product, and marketing information on Controller Area Network (CAN). The aim of this step was to promote CAN’s image and to provide a path for future developments of the CAN protocol. In the same year the first joint stand for CiA members was organized at the Interkama exhibition in Düsseldorf (Germany). Additionally, the first issue of the CAN Newsletter magazine was published. The number of CiA member companies increased quickly and staff was needed to be hired. Today, about 700 companies worldwide joined the international users’ and manufacturers’ group and the number of staff has grown to 15 employees. Here is a little background:

In November 1994, CiA published the very first version of the CANopen specification: CiA 301 is one of the most successful Esprit research projects. In the same year, the first international CAN Conference (iCC) took place in Mainz (Germany), where CAN experts from all over the world exchanged their knowledge and experiences.

1997 was the year in which CiA released the CiA 402 CANopen device profile for drives and motion control. This set of profile specifications standardizes the functional behavior of controllers for servo drives, frequency inverters, and stepper motors. It also introduces several operation modes and corresponding configuration parameters. 2001, CiA 304 (CANopen Safety) followed while 2003, the CiA 417 CANopen application profile for lift control systems was released. It is also known as CANopen Lift specification and specifies the communication interfaces for different virtual devices. In 2009 then the first CANopen Lift plugfest was organized. The purpose of these events is to check and improve the interoperability of CANopen devices. It helps device designers to optimize their device software.

2017, CiA 1301 was released. The CANopen FD application layer and communication profile specification makes use of the CAN FD data link layer providing higher bit-rates and larger payloads (up to 64 byte per data frame). In the same year, CiA 601-1 (CAN FD device interface) provided specifications and guidelines on the physical layer interface design.

To improve the use of CAN FD networks, in 2019 CiA has developed the SIC (signal improvement capability) transceivers. CiA released the 601-4 specification standardizing these SIC transceivers. With the published CiA 510 document in 2020, CiA specified the mapping of CANopen protocols to J1939 parameter groups (PGs).

With CAN XL another milestone is planned for 2021: The CAN XL data link layer specification (CiA 610-1) is already mature and needs just a last review before it will be released CiA-internally as Draft Specification Proposal. CiA 610-4 provides more than 2 048 byte of payload including a 1-byte protocol type field indicating the content of the 4-byte address field and the 2 048-byte data field. By the way, CAN FD and CAN XL are not in competition. They address different use-cases.

CiA milestones

Join the community!

Established in March 1992, the CiA nonprofit association fosters the image of CAN technology. CiA members jointly develop specifications for different CAN application fields. The CAN community also finances CiA’s active participation in international standardization and organizes events in order to exchange knowledge and experiences. These opportunities for networking belong to the most important benefits of CiA membership

CiA also offers other services. These include seminars and conferences, publications, CANopen testing, and last but not least the promotion of CAN technology.

For more information please contact CiA office (headquarters(at)can-cia.org).