Kontron's new Application Ready Industrial Automation Platforms reduce OEM cost and R&D time

Kontron's Control and HMI platforms excel with Softing Profinet stack and flexible, FPGA based I/O interfaces

Eching, Germany, November 22, 2011 – Today Kontron introduced two Application Ready Computing Platforms for Industrial Automation at SPS/IPC/Drives 2011. Third party hardware and software components from Softing, 3S, Altera, Microsoft, Wind River, Real-Time Systems and Linux are implemented as function validated building blocks that are ready for use with these industrial computing platforms.

The pre-integrated industrial demonstration platforms combine visualization and real-time control onto a single virtualized hardware. The platforms are characterized by their extensive software support and flexible FPGA interfaces that are deployed for example, in Industrial Ethernet, field buses and GPIOs. OEMs receive first and second level support for such platforms from Kontron. In addition, Kontron also manages the entire licensing for Softing, 3S, Altera, Microsoft, Wind River, Real-Time Systems and Linux. With Kontron as a single-source, this relieves customers from administration work once their system has been specified and validated. OEMs benefit from Kontron’s Application Ready Platforms through reduced hardware development and software integration cost allowing them to focus on application development.

"Kontron’s demonstration systems show a high degree of application specific maturity. This is very attractive to many OEMs, because the components installed are those required in many industrial applications However, up to now, these components were not available with validated compatibility from a single source. Kontron’s experience in software integration and our R&D capacity for the interaction of these standard components enables OEMs to save valuable time when implementing their specific systems", explains Werner Ressle, Director of Software & Software Services at Kontron.

In a TCO consideration Kontron estimates a cost savings potential of at least 10 percent, up to 20 percent in relation to individual purchases and in-house integration work. Furthermore, Kontron intends to maintain and innovate these Applications Ready Platforms together with its ecosystem partners. Consequently, OEMs can automatically receive upgrades, patches and access to future innovation.

The demo systems in detail

The first of the two demonstration systems can be used as a quality control system in many industrial applications, such as pick and place, for example. It is based on the Kontron COM Express® FPGA Starterkit which features the Altera FPGA Cyclone IV GX on the carrier board and Altera HSMC cards for the FPGA based IOs. Both the Softing Software stacks for Profinet and Kontron Video Processing IP are integrated directly on the FPGA. Furthermore, the CoDeSys runtime system for VxWorks with virtual Windows 7 is installed via a Real-Time Systems Hypervisor implementation. Both runtime systems share virtual Ethernet, which facilitates the porting of previously separately driven hardware systems and consolidates the hardware investments. A Siemens SIMATIC ET200S I/O node with eight digital inputs and eight digital outputs is connected via Profinet. The controlled DC motors achieve movements such as those in pick and place robots. The GUI displays camera streams as well as the actual HMI application. The demo application processes both sensor and camera data, whereby the camera data is entirely preprocessed in the FPGA. Suitable standard video algorithms for individual vision systems are integrated on an application specific basis, so that OEMs can benefit from reduced software integration cost.

The second demo system is based on the Kontron MICROSPACE® MSMST PCIe/104™ single board computer, which carries a multi-chip module with Intel® Atom™ E6x5CT processor and Altera Arria II GX 65 FPGA. The GPIOs implemented in the FPGA support emergency stop, distance sensor, warning beacon and a metal detector. The demo system is ideal for use as an all-in-one solution for the control and safeguard of conveyor lines in the packaging industry. The Wind River 1.3 Hypervisor managing the CoDeSys runtime environment comes with real time VxWorks 6.8 and non real-time Linux OS. The Windows 7 HMI is connected to the CoDeSys runtime with Ethernet. A Softing module for real-time Profinet IO implementations is connected to VxWorks via Profinet. This module also supports other industrial Ethernet implementations, giving OEMs flexibility in their application.

More information on the base hardware platforms can be found at