System development: Platform offers determinism in COM Express form factor

Orlando, FL–At the company’s annual user conference here during the week of June 25, Freescale Semiconductor introduced an all-in-one platform for industrial markets featuring Power Architecture technology and delivered in the COM Express form factor.


Orlando, FL –At the company’s annual user conference here during the week of June 25, Freescale Semiconductor introduced an all-in-one platform for industrial markets featuring Power Architecture technology and delivered in the COM Express form factor. The company says that the solution speeds and simplifies creation of intelligent industrial equipment that runs demanding industrial networking protocols and requires precise, highly accurate processing, making it ideal for a broad range of applications including industrial automation, network communication, healthcare monitoring equipment, robotics, and manufacturing automation equipment. The COM Express form factor has emerged as a preferred standard for industrial markets due to its modularity, compact size, and rich set of high speed serial and I/O interfaces. According to analyst firm Venture Development Corp., adoption of the COM Express format is expected to grow by 22% from 2004 to 2008.
The company further states that the solution’s MPC8360E PowerQUICC II Pro processor cost-effectively meets or exceeds the performance of the less flexible ASICs and more expensive FPGAs traditionally used to deliver the highly deterministic performance required for industrial applications. It supports control and communications processing tasks on a single device, thereby lowering overall system costs.
Priced at under $1,000, the platform features touch-screen functionality, a carrier board, the MPC8360E processor, and evaluation copies of the Profibus, Ethernet Powerlink, and IEEE 1588 clock synchronization protocols. The company says that the platform supports industrial network protocols, including those just mentioned. Optimized binaries of these protocol stacks may be obtained from Freescale Open QUICC Engine partners, including IndusRad Inc. and Ixxat Automation GmbH.
The platform ships with pre-tested, production-ready code, as well as Wind River’s VXWorks operating system and production quality Linux board support packages. It is supported by a broad spectrum of development tools including CodeWarrior tools.
In addition to the development platform, Freescale also plans to offer a production-ready COM Express module based on the MPC8360E and manufactured by board vendor Logic Product Development. The fanless module meets industrial temperature requirements, operating between -40 to 85 °C.
The development platform and production-ready COM module are scheduled to ship beginning Q3 2007.
—Edited by C.G. Masi , senior editor, Control Engineering
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