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The CiA story

In the year 1992, eight companies and private persons founded the CiA (CAN in Automation) nonprofit organization, in order to provide an independent body to collect and to distribute technical, product, and marketing information on Controller Area Network (CAN). From the beginning, the aim of the association has been the promotion of CAN’s image and the opportunity 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, more than 700 companies worldwide are members of the CAN international users’ and manufacturers’ group and the number of CiA employees has grown to 14 employees.

The following milestones give a little background about the CiA history:

  • 1994: CiA published the very first version of the CANopen specification: CiA 301 is one of the most successful Esprit research projects. 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: 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: The CiA 304 (CANopen Safety) specification was released, which is meanwhile standardized in EN 50325-5.
  • 2003: The CiA 417 (CANopen application profile for lift control systems) specification series was published. It is also known as CANopen Lift and specifies the communication interfaces for different virtual devices.
  • 2009: CiA organized the first CANopen Lift plugfest. 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: The CiA 1301 (CANopen FD application layer and communication profile) specification was disclosed. CANopen FD makes use of the CAN FD data link layer providing higher bit rates and larger payloads (up to 64 byte per data frame). Additionally, CiA published the CiA 601 (CAN FD node and system design) series comprising specifications, guidelines, and recommendations.
  • 2019: To improve the use of CAN FD networks, CiA developed the SIC (signal improvement capability) transceiver specification, which is documented in the CiA 601-4 specification.
  • 2020: The CiA 510 specification specifies the mapping of CANopen protocols such as SDOs and EMCY to J1939 parameter groups (PGs). In conjunction with the mapping of profile-specific PDOs to PGs, this enables the use of CiA profiles (CiA 4XX series) also on the J1939 application layer.
  • 2021: Another milestone is the development of CAN XL, the third generation of the CAN data link and physical layers. The CiA 610-1 (data link layer and physical coding sub-layer requirements) and the CiA 610-3 (physical medium attachment sub-layer requirements) specifications were revealed. The CAN XL frame format allows data fields with a length from 1 byte to 2 048 byte.
  • 2022: Beginning of June, CiA celebrated its 30th birthday by means of a 2-days in-person meeting. The program included presentations on latest CAN developments by CiA technical groups (CAN XL and CAN FD Light), on applications from maritime electronics to dentist chairs, and on the future of CiA specifications.

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).