While it's clear that any user that gets their hands on a USB cable has an easy-to-use plug and play interface, it's not so straight forward for the design engineers who have a tremendous burden in transitioning them from serial to USB connectivity.
The extreme and rugged environments that make up industrial USB use require additional thought, planning, and modification. Not only are temperatures often high enough that a consumer USB device could not survive, the stakes are also typically higher as well. System downtime is both costly and dangerous which translates to upping the reliability demands for most industrial applications.
To date, engineers are reporting problems ranging from failure when using certain operating systems, device recognition that prevents the use of available speed, device malfunctions after a series of connect/disconnects often related to ESC considerations, and devices not being recognized at all. These problems are avoidable with thorough testing and much progress has been made as a result of the USB Implementers Forum certification testing programs.
USB comes in many flavors--full-speed, high-speed, super speed, and stackableUSB to name a few. Software has also moved from little more than read and write routines in SPI and serial protocols to USB software drivers with thousands of lines of code. Additional code is required for enumeration management to enable USB hosts to identify devices, causing another level of complexity. Add to the software dilemma the fact that USB microcontrollers may not yet offer the peripheral set required for a specific application.
Suffice it to say that there it is far too difficult today to implement high-speed USB in your designs without help. Almost daily, companies are certifying their products through the USB IF and the organization remains a great resource. There are also a wealth of courses, webinars, articles and technical papers that discuss both the barriers to implementation and design challenges and how to solve them.
In order to provide some up-to-the-minute guidance, this topic will be covered in a panel discussion featuring representatives from Renesas, USB Implementers Forum, Micrium, and B&B Electronics. Follow this link to access the live event on April 21, 2011 or, after that date, view the archived version: Click here
Webinar: Solving Embedded Design Challenges in Motor Control
SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0): More than just a speed increase
USB simplified - adding USB connectivity to applications with legacy serial connections