Embedded: PLCs in Asia, Linux, Intel Atom, COM Express module

New systems and software and a new report on the Asia Pacific PLC market top the embedded controller news. Hughes Telematics has opted for Wind River's Linux Operating System to aggregate all vehicle data in one interface. Green Hills Software supports Intel Atom Processor N270, while cognec AG has unveiled a new module in its COM Express line based on the N270. See photos.
By Control Engineering Staff October 7, 2008
cognec AG has just unveiled a new module in its COM Express line based on the N270

New systems and software and a new report on the Asia Pacific PLC market top the embedded controller
Automotive electronics via Linux
Hughes Telematics has selected Wind River to deliver the foundation for next-generating automotive electronics . Its telematics control unit (TCU) will deliver information to drivers using the commercial-grade Linux operating system and the recently introduced Wind River hypervisor for hardware virtualization. Wind River will provide professional services to the Hughes software development team throughout the development process.

Green Hill Software offers application notes, such as this Serveron On-line Transformer Monitor .

Hughes is developing an advanced end-to-end telematics solution that will embrace a next-generation telematics architecture, largely enabled by Wind River’s open operating system and hypervisor technology, which will reduce development and hardware costs and increase system functionality. Rollout is planned for
Wind River’s Linux solutions are challenging the traditional approach to proprietary solutions, the company says. The benefit of the hypervisor is ability to minimize hardware costs while being able to create differentiating solutions. It virtualizes hardware, allowing Hughes Telematics to simultaneously run Wind River Linux and a real-time CAN (Controller Area Network) bus stack on the same processor to allow the system to meet real-time requirements for performance and boot time while leveraging the Linux environment for other applications.
PLC market growth in Asia
Strong growth in Asia Pacific PLC market continues according to IMS Research in its recently-published report The Worldwide Market for PLCs-2008 Edition. The Asia Pacific market for PLCs and directly associated software and services was estimated at $1,447.7 million in 2007, 17.5% more than in 2006, IMS Research says.
Effects of the 2008 U.S. economic downturn and some lessening of economic growth in Asia will tend to reduce PLC market growth. However, growing domestic consumer demand in Asia, and an increased emphasis on quality control in industrial production, will drive the Asia-Pacific market forward. Chinese domestic companies increasingly need to produce high quality products; this is driving more industrial automation. The market continues to adopt more advanced PLC technologies, while in lower-level markets simpler PLC products continue to grow. More complex applications are emerging, which require a higher level of functionality from the PLC.
Although the Asia Pacific market is dominated by leading global PLC suppliers, local suppliers are trying to increase their presence. China, India, Korea, and Taiwan have domestic suppliers offering PLC products to Asia Pacific. Improving price-performance ratios of PLCs, increased competition, emerging technologies, and growth of new and existing applications contribute to the current state and future growth of the region’s PLC market.
New cognec
congatec AG unveils in COM Express module based on Intel Atom Processor N270 and Mobile Intel 945GSE Express chipset. The conga-CA945 module features the Intel Atom processor N270 and the Mobile Intel 945GSE Express chipset in conjunction with the Intel I/O Controller Hub 7-M.
The complete design of the compact (95 x 95 mm) module delivers excellent performance-per-watt at optimized price levels. The total thermal design power (TDP) of the processor/chipset combination is 8 W, making applications that typically require less than 5 W suitable for this module. Combining low-power consumption with ACPI 3.0 battery management permits creation of fully-featured mobile embedded applications. The conga-CA945 supports three PCI Express Lanes, eight USB 2.0 ports, two serial ATA, two Express Cards, one IDE Interface, and Intel High Definition Audio. It features a 32-Bit PCI bus, Multi master I
The product is powered by the 45nm Intel Atom processor N270 equipped with 512 kByte L2 cache. It operates at 1.6 GHz clock speed and utilizes a 533 MHz front side bus. With Intel Speedstep technology, the CPU will rarely reach its maximum power consumption value of 2.5 W when used in real-life applications. Intel Atom processor N270 includes 2-Threads support to allow for virtualization. The conga-CA945 acts like a dual-core system and can independently operate two operating systems simultaneously.
The IntelGraphics Media Accelerator 950, integrated in the Mobile Intel 945GSE Express chipset, allows for more than 10 GB/s bandwidth to a maximum of 224 MByte video memory allocation to provide 32-bit 3D graphics. Both independent graphic pipelines can use dual-channel LVDS, single SDVO, or analog VGA. The conga-CA945 implements the Embedded Panel Interface (EPI) and the VESA DisplayID standard allowing for automatic recognition of the attached flat panel display.
All modules have an embedded BIOS and a board controller that enhance embedded features such as system monitoring, watchdog timer, and I
Software development package for Intel Atom processor
Green Hills Software Inc. offers Integrity real-time operating system , Multi integrated development environment (IDE), optimizing C/C++ compilers, and DoubleCheck static analyzer. Green Hills’ launch of Integrity for the Intel Atom processor N270 permits customers to create and deploy high-performance products for industrial control, mobile thin clients, HMI (Human Machine Interface), and print imaging quickly and economically.
David Kleidermacher, chief technology officer, Green Hills Software, says, “Modern embedded system designs place ambitious performance-per-watt and time-to-market demands on hardware and software designers.”
“The Intel Atom processor N270 helps cost-effectively meet development challenges and speed time-to-market with a seven-year long lifecycle support for the embedded marketplace,” added Jonathan Luse, director of marketing, Low Power Embedded Products Division, Intel.
The Integrity RTOS separation architecture provides flexibility to run multiple protocols as separate, independent applications, and its secure partitioning capability allows software, from non-safety-related through safety-critical, to be partitioned on a single processor. Each partition can be certified at its appropriate Safety Integrity Level, eliminating the need for separate physical systems or certification of code beyond the required safety level. It
* Portfolio of embedded communication stacks and middleware;
* Multi-integrated development environment;
* Green Hills Optimized C/C++ compilers to generate efficient code for Intel architecture; and
* DoubleCheck integrated static analyzer to increase software reliability and reduce time-to-market by eradicating software defects early in the development process.
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— Control Engineering News Desk
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