25th anniversary: Triple birthday

CANopen, Devicenet, and J1939 were introduced in 1994. All three CAN-based application layers are still in use and are implemented by many companies.

The nonprofit SAE association has developed the J1939 application profile based on the J1939-21 application layer specifically for commercial vehicles including trucks and buses. In the last 25 years, several markets adapted this application layer, for example agriculture and forestry machines (standardized in the ISO 11783 series) as well as maritime electronics (standardized in IEC 61162).

Devicenet, originally developed by Allen-Bradley (now Rockwell Automation), was also introduced in 1994. It was designed for factory automation and is internationally standard in IEC 62026-3. In the meantime, the ODVA nonprofit association maintains Devicenet. This CAN-based application layer is object-oriented and is mainly used in North America and Japan.

The third application layer celebrating its 25th anniversary is CANopen. CANopen was originally developed by a European research project. CAN in Automation (CiA) released in 1994 the first version of this application layer, which is now known as CANopen. This approach is dedicated for embedded networks. It is used in many different application fields including embedded machine control, construction machinery, medical devices, elevator controllers, rail vehicles – just to name a few.

The fourth CAN-based application layer launched in 1994 was Smart Distributed Systems (SDS). Honeywell Microswitch had developed it. But SDS is not more supported and the related IEC standard has been withdrawn.

CiA is still the supporting association for CANopen and still develops profiles and has adapted the CAN FD data link layer. The related CANopen FD application layer (CiA 1301) is under review. The next version is planned for spring 2020. CiA also supports J1939-based approaches. The Interest Group J1939 reviews related standards by other standardization bodies and participates actively in the maintenance and improvements of them. Additionally, CiA maps on demand its device profiles to J1939.

If you are interested in more information about the history of CANopen and J1939, read the December issue of the CAN Newsletter magazine (available by November 21). Information on the CAN history is available here.