- May 09, 2018
May 9, 2018 - congatec – a vendor of standardized and customized embedded computer boards and modules – introduced a virtualized embedded computing platform for PLC and UI hardware consolidation. The demo platform with a hexapod robot playing a piano is based on a standard embedded hardware platform from congatec; hypervisor technology from Real-Time Systems (RTS); IEC 61131-3 compliant CODESYS SoftPLC running on real-time VxWorks OS; and a virtualized GUI based on Microsoft Windows 10. Using standard building blocks, the platform’s logic includes everything needed for the control of motion systems in a modular and cross-platform capable format. The platform’s demo controller connects to the three servo motors of the hexapod and is programmed to press piano keys. The Graphical User Interface (GUI) is operated by Microsoft Windows and, resembling a jukebox, is used to select the music to be played by the robot. To demonstrate the independence of the real-time operating system from Microsoft Windows running in parallel, the GUI can be rebooted while the robot keeps playing piano. This demonstration debuts at the IoT/M2M Expo Japan. The platform’s fundamental building blocks have been validated to work together. congatec’s acquisition of the hypervisor vendor RTS contributes to this optimized interaction between hardware and hypervisor.
The underlying hardware platform is built on congatec Computer-on-Modules and RTS real-time hypervisor. In a quad-core configuration with Intel Xeon E3-1505M V6 (4 x 3.0/4.0 GHz, 8MB Cache), the platform can support up to 8 threads to control up to 8 real-time axis drives in parallel or include smart vision and deep learning support. The design is based on the conga-TS175 COM Express Type 6 Computer-on-Modules. The modules are mounted on a conga-IT6 carrier board. Users of this Mini-ITX based carrier board for Computer-on-Modules can scale their applications across all relevant processor generations and manufacturers as required. The Real-Time Hypervisor enabled hardware can be adapted to any required communication logic on a project basis. This includes multiple hardware interfaces i.e. Ethercat, MelsecNet and FINS or CC-Link, CANopen, DeviceNet and RS-232 as well as any other open Industrial Ethernet and fieldbus standards. A 60-day licensed version of the Real-Time Hypervisor is available on request.