PFU Systems: Industry’s first SOM with Pentium M processor

New Plug-N-Run G3 from PFU Systems Inc. (a Fujitsu company), billed as "industry’s first system-on-module (SOM) using Intel Pentium M processor for industrial automation solutions," had one of its first showings at ISA Expo 2003 in Houston.


Plug-N-Run G3 modules are available now in 1.1 GHz and 1.6 GHz versions, priced at $849 and $1,149 (respectively) in OEM quantities.

New Plug-N-Run G3 from PFU Systems Inc . (a Fujitsu company), billed as "industry’s first system-on-module (SOM) using Intel Pentium M processor for industrial automation solutions," had one of its first showings at ISA Expo 2003 in Houston. The module comes complete with all SOM elements onboard including high-speed memory bus.

Single-board computer manufacturers and OEMs should appreciate dramatic cuts in product development time provided by Plug-N-Run G3. PFU Systems claims typical development times of 3-4 months compared to 1.5 years with a traditional approach. Among Plug-N-Run G3’s innovations is ability to dynamically change the module’s operating speed as needed—rather than rely on fixed-frequency operation, which can be overkill, according to Kishan Jainandunsing, VP of marketing. The new module is also rugged. Its enclosure handles hostile environments like grain silos, industrial robots, and forklift-mounted computers; yet the module produces less heat due to variable-speed operation, explains Jainandunsing.

Among integrated features of the index-card-sized module (measuring 160 x 100 x 13.5 mm) are expansion up to 1 GB of SDRAM; mezzanine interface connector for various communication buses, serial ports, GPIO, power, and ground; and compatibility with Linux, Microsoft Windows, 2000, and XP, and popular real-time operating systems. A development board is available for software tasks and prototyping.

An SOM offers several advantages versus an SOC (system-on-chip) approach, for example, less complexity and more cost-effectiveness, especially in smaller sales volumes, Jainandunsing told Control Engineering . "Diskless booting is available via an Ethernet feature. The SOM design also reduces interfaces needed for CD-ROM or other devices. It further enhances security as data are retained on a back-up server," he adds.

—Frank J. Bartos, executive editor,

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