Conformity or interoperability testing

The automotive industry requires standardized conformance test plans for communication systems. In addition, interoperability tests are necessary to prove that the communicating parties understand each other.

Some kind of testing is obligatory in most of the CAN markets. In particular, in the automotive industry, the OEMs require conformance tested CAN controllers and CAN transceivers. This is, why ISO provides the ISO 16845 series of CAN conformance test plans (part 1 for the data link layer and part 2 for the transceivers). Test houses provide related conformance test services.

For CAN-based higher-layer protocols such as CiA’s CANopen and ODVA’s DeviceNet the associated nonprofit organisations have developed conformance test plans. CAN in Automation (CiA) has released the CiA 310 CANopen conformance test plan for the CiA 301 application layer and communication profile. Additional test plans are available for dedicated device profiles (CiA 312 series). CiA has also implemented the CiA 310 test plan in a CANopen Conformance Test Tool (CCTT), which is available free-of-charge for CiA members. Additionally, CiA provides a conformance test service for products resulting in “certificates” (conformance tested by CiA), if the tests are passed successfully.

However, conformance testing is just like spellchecking. It does not guarantee interoperability (understandability) between conformance-tested devices. Of course, it improves the probability of interoperability, but does not guarantee it. CiA also provides CANopen interoperability tests using Schneider Electric’s PLC. If requested, CiA can use any other CANopen host controller too.

If you like to prove your product on CANopen conformity or interoperability by CiA, please contact us (service(at)

Plugfests for CiA members

Interoperability testing can be also achieved by means of plugfests. In those test events participants prove the interoperability of their products – very often in development state, beta versions, or prototypes. CiA organizes these plugfests on request of members. In last years, CiA has scheduled several CAN FD plugfests in Germany and USA testing the first implementations of controllers and transceivers.

Additionally, members of the CANopen SIG (Special Interest Group) Lift meet twice a year to test their devices on interoperability to CiA 417 (CANopen Lift). The next CANopen Lift plugfest will take place in Nuremberg (Germany) on September, 6.

In the past, CiA organized generic CANopen plugfests at different locations too. The next one is planned for November, 17. It will be held in Milan (Italy). B&R provides its PLC as host controller. Any CiA member may prove the interoperability of its CANopen products to this CANopen controller. Of course, CiA offers plugfests with other partners on CiA members’ request. Sometimes CiA supports plugfests organized with partners, e.g. with the nonprofit SIIS group for subsea devices (CiA 443).


Testing of conformity is one side of the coin, the other one is interoperability testing. Both are necessary to improve the quality of your product. For more information on both kinds of testing look to the following pages:If there is any other need for testing, please contact us (service(at)