PC-Based Control White Papers and Technical Articles

Articles and white papers on Computer and PC Control technologies used in the automation, process control, and instrumentation industry.

Many of the following links are PDF documents and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view. Download Acrobat Reader Here.

Windows XP for embedded applications

The embedded version of Windows XP is a componentized version of the well-known Windows XP Professional operating system. Instead of everything being wrapped tightly into a single package, XP Embedded breaks the OS down into more than 10,000 individual components, allowing developers to create systems that have the functionality and familiar features of XP. One of the most attractive features of XP Embedded is that it is much smaller than XP for desktop systems — so small, in fact, that it can fit on a 512 MB CompactFlash® card, and still leave room for system applications and data backup. The CompactFlash card resists vibration and shock for reliable storage and can be replaced easily for fast system upgrades. Read complete article by Patric Dove, Advantech Corporation, Industrial Automation Group

What Does an Automation Computer Look Like?

By Mike Berryman, Advantech
This is the age of embedded computing. From wristwatches to cell phones to industrial process control devices, computers control everything. But these devices do not look like computers. So what does an automation computer look like? Read entire article by Advantech.

Chasing Moore’s Law – The Truth Behind the OS and CPU Upgrades for Industrial PC Users

By Alan Koch, Advantech
COTS electronic hardware and software have caused real problems for the industrial PC users, who benefit less and less as each operating system and CPU revision cycle passes. There may be no reason to upgrade. Probably 50% of industrial control applications would run fine on a military-grade 80486-type device using the DOS operating system. Read entire article.

The Advantages of Small Form Factor HMI

By Hector Lin, Advantech
A modern small form factor HMI can be purchased for about the same cost as a dozen push buttons and indicator lights, providing better control, easier operator interaction, easier maintenance and support, and much greater operational utility for the same cost. Read entire article.

Embedded Hardware and OS Technology Empower PC-Based Platforms

By Hector Lin, Advantech Corporation
Embedded computing devices have changed the world of industrial automation. A plethora of general purpose computing devices perform the tasks that special purpose processors and devices were built to perform a decade ago. Read complete white paper...

Don’t Get Run Over: The Evolution of PC Bus Technologies

Over the last decade, there’s been an increasing trend toward the use of PC-based automation solutions. In the early 1990s large automakers and other manufacturers began using standard PCs for machine control. These systems often replaced the compact, microprocessor-based solutions – programmable logic controls or PLCs – that were found in most plants at the time. Since then, PCs running Microsoft Windows and other operating systems have worked their way into a wide variety of industrial applications, experiencing growth that outstrips competing solutions. Read complete article by Tiger Yeh, Advantech Corporation, Industrial Automation Group.

PC & Embedded Control Trends

The trend to reduce machine size and cost while increasing productivity requires new approaches to control systems. Thanks to the increased reliability of Industrial PC technology, traditional rack-based PLCs can be replaced with more powerful PC-based control systems. While Industrial PC’s provide the highest performance and control capacity, new generations of PC technology based on open embedded operating systems, combine the functions of a PLC and an operator panel in one unit which is applicable to smaller scale applications. Read complete paper by Bjoern Falke of Phoenix Contact.

PACs for Industrial Control, the Future of Control

With a number of vendors producing Programmable Automation Controllers that combine the functionality of a PC and reliability of a PLC, PACs today are increasingly being incorporated into control systems. This white paper explores the origins of the PAC, how PACs differ from PLCs and PCs, and the future direction of industrial control with PACs. Read complete article

PC-controlled Test Platforms Add Flexibility & Reduce Costs

Most test devices now have some form of PC interface so acquired data can be uploaded to a computer where it is re-formatted, stored, integrated and distributed. The test device may be where the data is acquired - but the PC is where the data is ultimately used. Consequently a trend towards PC-controlled test equipment is emerging. The PC-controlled format can eliminate data transfer and formatting problems, reduce overall system cost and improve test efficiency and flexibility. Read full article

Guidelines to Selecting I/O Products for use with Open Architecture Control Platforms

An "open architecture controller" means that the controller software/firmware can be run on and with a wide variety of different vendor products. This document will focus on Input and Output systems (I/O) choices. More Info...

Thinking of Using Microsoft Windows NT or XP Embedded?

The use of Microsoft Windows NT and XP Embedded operating systems offers many attractive benefits while providing rich functionality that can be added to an embedded application. More Info...