Echelon launches Pyxos, a self-organizing network

09/21/2005



Echelon Corp. , originator of LonWorks, called its new self-organizing Pyxos network-platform the first control network that can be “economically embedded inside: office equipment, building automation devices, vending machines, small appliances, and industrial machines.” Echelon says key attributes include low cost, ultra-miniature size, media independence (wired or wireless), extensible architecture, and universal applicability across industries. Applications include interiors of environmental materials and devices that never previously considered networkable, allowing a wide range of automation and energy management applications. Pyxos expands existing market segments and creates new ones, the company said.

Echelon cited Harbor Research Inc. ’s sizing of the 2005 market for “device” networks at 375-million “static devices,” 500-million “controllers,” 750-million “smart” sensors, and 35-billion microprocessors and microcontrollers. Static devices include HVAC equipment, industrial machinery, pipelines, home appliances, and others; controllers include industrial controllers and appliance controllers; and smart sensors include accelerometers, pressure gauges, flow, position, speed, temperature, and biosensors, among others.

Mike Tennefoss, Echelon vice president of marketing, told Control Engineering that the Pyxos network uses two wires for data and power. It allows simple twisted-pair connections within a free topology and data rate of 250 kbit/s, at cost of perhaps $2-3 per device. The chip is 5-mm squared in size, and the network is deterministic, he says. Compared to other device networks for the industrial space, Pyxos offers greater connectivity, and superior installation and maintenance over the network’s lifecycle, Tennefoss says. Pyxos can be used within a machine, interfaced with a programmable logic controller (PLC), or built into a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) data-gathering panel. He says Pyxos is the first self-organizing, embedded control network in which devices automatically configure themselves into functioning networks, offering advantages for non-technical users. The network will support plug-and-play, and it can be configured for “plug, press, and play,” where confirmation is built-in to ensure that the connection being made actually should be made, Tennefoss explains. Pyxos also is compatible with LonWorks networks, allowing Pyxos-based machines or networks to be integrated into larger control networks.

“LonWorks is the leading platform for connecting everyday devices to each other and the Internet. Our new Pyxos platform extends the reach of control networks into the devices themselves,” said M. Kenneth Oshman, chairman and CEO of Echelon, in a statement. “Our customers see tremendous value in putting a Pyxos network into their existing LonWorks product lines to increase value and functionality. We believe that the combined opportunity of the LonWorks and Pyxos platforms represents tens of billions of devices tucked away inside equipment, home furnishings, vehicles, and other applications.” Echelon introduced Pyxos on Sept. 19; Tennefoss spoke to Control Engineering on Aug. 26.

For more information about Pyxos, go to the Echelon site .

For more about LonWorks, go to the LonMark International group .

—Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering, MHoske@cfemedia.com





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