Highly Integrated Open Architecture Automation Controller

  • May 11, 2015
  • Bedrock Automation
  • Feature

By Bill Lydon, Editor

At the 2015 ARC Forum in February Bedrock Automation demonstrated additional features to the company’s automation controller product. These features exemplify their technology leadership and reflect their commitment to delivering integrated, easy to use, scalable, and secure products. The basic controller incorporates technology-leading hardware design, integrated circuits and processors. The design leverages open software, including Green Hills Integrity real-time operating system (RTOS), CoDeSys IEC 6-1131-3, PLCopen functions, and OPC UA. I reviewed the following new new features with Albert Rooyakkers, Bedrock Founder, CTO, and VP Engineering.

Intelligent UPS

Bedrock introduced a standalone uninterruptable power supply (UPS) that incorporates an embedded ARM Cortex processor. The processor communicates power status and information over standard Ethernet. The unit has an embedded web server and OPCUA server for seamless integration into SCADA and the Cloud. The processor reads more than 35 parameters about the health of the UPS, including remaining capacity, predicted time to fully charge the battery, predicted remaining operating time, and internal temperature. The UPS is rated NEMA4X with IP67 construction for harsh remote mounting and other demanding applications. The unit has embedded cyber security with crypto processor and asymmetric key management capabilities for authentication. In addition, the UPS is compliant with FIPS140 (Federal Information Processing Standards) - the U.S. government computer security standards that specifies requirements for cryptography.

Clean electrical power is fundamental to keeping an automation controller running and performing at specification. The Bedrock Automation controller design integrates fanless power supplies in sealed, all-metal construction with an extended temperature range of -40C to +80C. The supplies require 90 – 240 VAC/VDC 50/60 Hz input and provide all required system power plus an isolated +24VDC output for field devices. The power supply provides advanced diagnostic capabilities for better analytics, predictive maintenance, and reduced unplanned downtime. The power supply is redundant and cyber secure with Bedrock’s secure Black Fabric™ ARM processor on board.

Router Card

Bedrock Automation introduced a five channel Ethernet router card to provide application flexibility and eliminate the need for external Ethernet routers. The Ethernet card is the same size as Bedrock’s other I/O cards and couples to the backplane taking advantage of the system’s inherent redundancy and security. The card has a multi core ARM processor running a SIL IV, EAL6+-certified Green Hills Integrity RTOS. The RTOS provides segregation of each Ethernet channel from the other and runs autonomous communication stacks on each channel to isolate cyber threats. The unit supports standard Ethernet and industrial Ethernet protocols. With individual, galvanically-isolated Power Over Ethernet (POE) circuits, the module provies direct support for POE devices. The module can run an OPC UA client to transfer information between OPC UA Server compliant end devices. The Bedrock Automation controller also supports OPC UA servers.

Sequence of Events (SOE) Capabilities with built-in GPS

Sequence of Events capabilities are built into all Bedrock IO cards and provide a 1ms time stamp on every digital and analog IO value. This is another example of using the latest technology to efficiently provide functions that were cumbersome add-ons in the past. Time stamps are compliant with the IEEE1588 Precision Time Protocol. The CPU uses a GPS reference to the master clock that gets satellite time and forwards it to the network devices, in this case the controllers, over Ethernet. The data is available to historians, cloud, and other systems using OPC UA web services.

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