Embedded PC systems offer a tantalizing mix of legacy hardware and software support with thoughtful migration to future hardware. This can result in significant economic advantages by leveraging existing hardware and software and shortening the development cycle for new industrial automation systems.
Through advanced high-resolution and low latency encoders and resolvers, motor control and monitoring are tasks that have been expanded beyond the realm of switchboards and vector drive systems. EtherCat ndustrial control systems can be monitored and managed by any system with an Ethernet connection, offering the lowest latency and highest reliability and performance of any industrial automation and control system.
Key SBC features
With the addition of analog and digital input/output, embedded systems can assimilate PID and other control loop functions often replacing a bank of PLC controllers with a single intelligent system that supports high-performance SCADA interconnects. Integrated dual Ethernet controllers allow for bridging of loops as well as control and monitoring of redundant networks.
Real-time Operating Systems (RTOS) predominate in many industrial environments had be deployed onto single-core SBCs like the PC/104+ ADL855PC Celeron 373 or Pentium 745, PCI/104-Express ADLGS45PC Celeron, or the PCIe/104 ADLQM67PC Celeron to work most effectively. Now with the new Generation of energy saving Intel Atom Bay Trail series ADL Embedded Solutions offer the ADLE3800PC PCIe/104 SBC which provides flexible legacy peripherals (by ADLPCIe-PCI bridge) together with future I/O options and sufficient single- to multicore processing power for all industrial automation markets.
Embedded systems add significant intelligence at the point of integration. A local embedded controller can monitor, record, and collate diverse process control data, while maintaining low latency regulation and safety monitoring. Continuous statistical process control can aid in self-maintenance and calibration, reducing the need for operator intervention.
As embedded technology improves, monitoring and analysis rates are improved, expanding the range of processes that can be effectively implemented and controlled. Tomorrow's manufacturing technologies can leverage computational levels in a single cubic foot of space that would have consumed then entire production line just a decade ago.
Low power Intel ®Atom SBCs such as the ADLD25PC and ADLE3800PC or higher performance SBCs such as the ADLQM67PC or ADLQM87PC in both PC/104 and 3.5” form factors can all be deployed successfully depending on specific I/O, power, and processing power requirements.
Reliability and ease of use are key drivers for selecting core control systems for robotic applications. From the factory floor to specialized medical applications, integration of mechanical control systems along with analytical processing or support tasks minimizes the footprint required by the control system allowing for reduced size and weight, or the inclusion of functions that would otherwise be impractical.
Autonomous material handling and transfer technologies benefit from the low power and high performance nature of embedded solutions. Intelligent inspection and monitoring systems enhance worker safety and improve per-worker productivity.
SBCs like the ADLGS45PC are capable of 10Gb/sec bandwidth availability for peripheral I/O to sense and detect tasks, and 4GB/sec for high bandwidth processing. Double the bandwidth is offered by the ADLQM67PC platform to handle the latest detector technology via the PCI-Express backplane. The ADLQM87PC rise the bar again to the latest toplevel in high bandwidth processing in embedded hardware.
Advances in mesh networks such as ZigBee have been deployed to link nano-computer systems for leaf-node environmental controls. Proliferation of nano controllers into every light fixture, light switch, thermostat, HVAC unit, etc., quickly generates a deluge of feedback and monitoring data, which must be made available to various investigation and instantaneous data mining tasks.
Automated setup and control of such systems becomes practical through a hierarchical network of local control nodes that break a mesh network up into bandwidth productive zones. Current embedded technology is well suited to this transparent task, and can add significant intelligence at each zone, and handle the overlap necessary for a robust deployment.
ADL Embedded Solutions is well versed at not only defining SBC and peripheral expansion board solutions for most applications, but also designing, creating and integrating custom enclosures to meet both low and high IP requirements for extended temperature and rugged environments.