Programmable Logic Controllers
Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are at the heart of a factory control network
As well as the processor, the PLC architecture requires support for multiple specialised peripherals, backplanes and other custom interfaces which are typically integrated using an FPGA. Usually an HMI-solution with different display/entry-combinations can also be integrated. SoCs provide a unique platform that allows the integration of both the application processor and FPGA in a single device, thereby enabling the reduction of system power, cost and board space.
Fieldbus technology is mostly used in process industries, but has recently also been used in powerplants
Fieldbus technology is mostly used in process industries and enjoys a growing installed base in many heavy process applications such as refining, petrochemicals, power generation, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals and nuclear applications. It was developed over a period of many years by the International Society of Automation, or ISA, as SP50. Today it co-exists alongside other technologies such as Modbus, Profibus, and Industrial Ethernet. FPGAs hold a critical advantage in industrial communications as all protocols in this field can be implemented in an FPGA with a high degree of flexibility. Industrial Ethernet is a prime example of this, an area in which EBV Elektronik has been active for many years having worked on the Mercury platform Customers can easily evaluate and test different protocols such as EtherCAT, Ethernet/IP, Powerlink, ProfiBus, ProfiNet, Sercos III for their applications.
Digital Industry 4.0 not only offers a wealth of opportunities for industrial companies, but also challenges in the transition
Industry 4.0 is the 4th industrial revolution where highly intelligent cyber physical systems are connected and communicate within the ‘Internet of Things’ and together drive production. Products will independently go through the production process in a highly flexible, individualised and resource-friendly mass production. The Intelligent ‘Smart Factory’ connecting machines, work pieces and systems and creating intelligent networks along the entire value chain that can control each other autonomously.
Handling all levels of interactions
HMI includes user interfaces, operator panels or terminals and provides controlling, monitoring, managing and/or visualising device processes. An HMI system’s usability is determined by its processing power, its ability to render complex and realistic screens, its fast response time to user input and its flexibility to handle various levels of interactions. A System-on-Chip solution (SoC) with display touch is available soon in the form of EBV SoCrates starter kit based on the Altera SoC family. The SoC integrates a dual-core ARM Cyclone® V FPGA with a dual-Cortex™A9 Hard Processor Sub System (HPS). The HPS provides the processor core and several peripherals. SoCrates provides a subset of the peripherals such as Ethernet, USB, SPI, I2C, UART, SDCard and GPIO. A 32-bit DDR3 Memory is used together with a QSPI Flash as a BootOption and an SD Card interface. The FPGA can be configured using a second QSPI Flash. The FPGA I/O Pins are connected to several connectors providing 3.3 V I/O and LVDS I/O Standard. A special LVDS connector is available to connect the EBV Observer CMOS Sensor Board to SoCrates So that a TFT-display with an LVDS-interface can then be connected to the base of the board.
Functional Safety Controllers
Functional safety is achieved when there is the absence of unreasonable risk due to hazards caused by the malfunctioning of electrical / electronic systems
Industries impose functional safety standards as a way of ensuring that safety-related systems offer the necessary risk reduction required to achieve safety for the equipment. Industry has highlighted the need for improved safety, and an increasing number of industrial control systems are now requiring IEC 61508 safety certification. Functional safety is also becoming more prevalent and stringent in markets such as solar energy and aviation, as well as FDA Class III medical.
Key aspects that the standards address are:
- Definition of the appropriate safety lifecycle
- Management of functional safety, including supporting processes
- Clear definition of Safety Integrity Levels (SILs)
- Development of hardware and software
- Safety analysis
- Supporting evidence and confirmation measures to ensure that requirements are fully met
Electronics in industrial markets typically must operate with minimal faults in harsh environments. System designers can count on the solutions included in our SafeAssure functional safety program to stand up to rugged industrial conditions and be supported by the necessary documentation and safety expertise.
Industrial manufacturing robots provide many benefits that companies require to stay competitive
The speed, repeatability and efficiency that industrial robots provide can increase productivity and profits, reduce costs and retain jobs. With no need to take breaks and the ability to work 24/7, a manufacturing robot can increase productivity dramatically. Higher rates of throughput mean higher profits.
Manufacturing robots help produce products much faster than traditional manufacturing methods by decreasing part cycle times. The very nature of these robots creates a leaner, more efficient manufacturing cycle. For example, an arc welding robot provides high quality weld seams, making the weld strong and the part more durable and because of high repeatability, reworking time is almost eliminated. The myth that the implementation of industrial robots in manufacturing will lead to massive unemployment is just that - a myth. Many companies that want to cut costs consider both outsourcing jobs to countries with cheaper labour costs and integrating industrial robots into their production lines. Cost analyses have confirmed that outsourcing jobs and integrating robots provide about the same amount of savings, almost 60% in some cases. A manufacturing robot can typically produce parts at a much higher quality than outsourced labour.