Embracing automation: Advantech holds partner conference, supports ETX 3.0 upgrade


"PC-based, open architecture is a trend worth watching in automation" was the message of the 2006 Advantech eAutomation Group world partner conference, held in Düsseldorf, Germany Sept. 28-30, 2006. The theme of the event was, "Embrace the Open eAutomation World with Advantech."

Founded in 1983 and based in Taiwan, Advantech Co. Ltd. calls itself "a global ePlatform service provider integrating Web-based technology, computing platforms, and customization services that empower the connected eWorld." The company provides products and solutions in three areas—embedded and applied computing, industrial and network computing, and eAutomation—and operates in 16 countries and 28 major cities.

The event brought together more than 150 system integrators, channel partners, and solution partners from Europe, North America, and Asia. Presentations included "Trends and evolution of open automation software," from Siemens Automation & Drives and "Programmable automation controllers—uncommoditizing automation," from National Instruments.

Advantech executives reviewed the automation industry's state-of-the-art technologies, vision, and future directions. The company also demonstrated its latest industrial automation offering and vertical market applications from its solution partners. Breakout sessions and an extensive exhibit area were also provided.

In other Advantech news, in its role as one of the founding members of the ETX standard initiated by Kontron, Advantech has agreed to support the ETX 3.0 upgrade and work with Kontron on the upcoming ETX 3.01 revision of the specification. The updated version of the ETX

ETX 3.0 introduces 2x Serial ATA compatibility without changing the established ETX pin configuration, making new modules 100% pin-to-pin backward compatible with previous versions and ensuring long-term support for most embedded applications based on these highly integrated COMs. Applications based on ETX COMs include automation, medical, military, and aerospace.

"Advantech is one of the founding members of the ETX Industrial Group initiated in 2001, said Jeff Chen, chief technology officer of Advantech. "We are delighted to support the updated ETX 3.01 specification, which includes parallel TTL display interface compatibility as an option."

Added Dirk Finstel, CTO of Kontron Embedded Modules, "The rollout of ETX 3.0 will be the fastest de facto standardization process the embedded computing industry has ever seen—and it will encompass all of the world's major COM vendors and markets."

Kontron, Advantech, and other members of the ETX Industrial Group have adopted ETX 3.0 with the intention of keeping this genuine standard viable, undiluted and reliable until at least 2010. Additional modules built around dual-core processors and others from Intel Click here to obtain a copy of the ETX 3.01 specification.

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