Industrial Ethernet demo in 20 kHz / 50 µs cycle
Eching, Germany, 22 March 2006 Kontron increases its involvement in the Industrial Ethernet field. At the Hannover fair, Kontron will demonstrate a Panel-PC that communicates via Industrial Ethernet (here EtherCAT) with the top-hat rail PC ThinkIO-P or the JRex-IBOX in 50 µs cycle times that corresponds to a frequency of 20 kHz. Cycle times like this cannot be achieved with conventional fieldbus systems such as CANopen or Profibus. Commands are transmitted from the ThinkIO-P to the connected Wago I/O system; central control and visualization run on one computer. The Industrial Ethernet node is also PC-based, and thus extremely powerful for complex, remote control. Alternatively, the Wago I/O system can also be connected to the central computer via simple Ethernet couplers. Thus, every IPC from Kontron can extend its I/O function as needed, using its Ethernet interfaces.
For SPS/IPC/Drives in 2006, Kontron is planning the integration of the netX component from the Hilscher company on various automation platforms, which besides traditional fieldbuses such as CANopen, Profibus also support EtherCAT, Ethernet/IP, Powerlink, and PROFINET-RT.
Industrial Ethernet is interesting for Kontron, because with dual-core based systems two functions can be performed in one system: hard realtime requirements and demanding visualization. On an Intel® CoreTM Solo based system, Windows and the realtime operating system run in two separate hardware tasks. If an Intel Core Duo based system is used, each operating system can run on its own core. This approach enables maximum performance for realtime critical tasks, which must run deterministically, while Windows deals with human interface, visualization, and communications in the network, etc. Even if a hardware solution with netX is used, a realtime operating system must be used for hard realtime applications such as fast motion and control tasks in packaging machines. When two different operating systems are used, multi-core processors contribute significantly to cost reduction, because two independent processors can administrate the different tasks in one compact system instead of two, thus saving the costs of a second system with power supply and additional space in the enclosure.
The sum of the individual solutions is critical
Besides automation platforms which support Industrial Ethernet, Kontron also offers system solutions with integrated Soft-SPS. If the IPC, Soft-SPS, and Industrial Ethernet functions are combined, full-fledged automation platforms based on open PC technology are available, whose performance and production form can be tailored at any time. Thanks to dual-core technology, the openness and scalability of the systems lead to significant changes in PC-based control technology.