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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

HARTING launches ruggedised modular embedded ARM PC

By Nick Flaherty

HARTING has launched the first of its ruggedised MICA (Modular Industry Computing Architecture) PCs based around processors from ARM rather than Intel.

This provides a platform for system integrators and software developers who need to deploy bespoke software applications to manage systems. It uses a LINUX operating system to provide a secure, stand-alone infrastructure needed in industrial and other demanding applications.

MICA is installed in the ‘Rinspeed Etos’ concept car for emissions and status monitoring. The Rinspeed Etos then transmits this data gathered by the MICA device to a neutral 3rd-Party (Dekra), for independent analysis. This illustrates how the Internet of Things could be used more widely in the future to monitor and evaluate emissions and performance data in real-world driving conditions. This same technique could also be applied to a range of other industrial and logistical equipment to help monitor performance and maintenance.

“Companies deploying large scale automation solutions using ‘Industrial Internet of Things’ networks and distributed control systems need this type of device," said Gavin Stoppel, Product and Applications Manager at HARTING UK. "Ruggedised computers are a key element in delivery of Industry 4.0, and since we showed MICA at ‘Drives and Controls’ we have had a lot of interest in it from companies working on various applications, especially RFID and performance monitoring.”

MICA is fanless and IP67 certified with high EMC, a configurable function-based circuit board, and industrial connectors. This is all housed within a secure and compact enclosure, which protects against dust, oil, splashes, shock and vibration in industrial and railway applications.

Circuit Boards with Modular function

There are three circuit boards within MICA:
Supply board with power supply, network connection and 24V GPIO
Processor board with CPU, memory, eMMC and microSD slot
Configurable custom function-based board

These are individually connected by a support bracket and use a USB to communicate.

There is a reduced cost of developing new devices – only need to develop and produce individual circuit boards
Each component is developed by specialists and manufactured with customised technology
Software developed at the same time

Key Features:
132mm x 86mm x 35mm
1GHz ARM Processor
Up to 32GB microSD card
Industrial Connectors
12 – 24V or PoE power supply
Configurable function-based circuit board
Standards based design (Linux, LXC, USB)

Interfaces and Power Supply

Eight freely configurable GPIOs are available on the MICA, with either PoE or 12 – 24VDC power supply. Also available are an RFID reader and USB PushPull connector.

Enclosure and Front Panel

The die-cast aluminium enclosure provides protection from harsh environments. Direct mounting is possible on machines, vehicles or on production lines. The MICA is suitable for use where temperature fluctuations, humidity, vibration, dust and dirt may occur. It is possible to mount the MICA onto a DIN rail using an adapter.

MICA is available as MICA Basic – with a custom configurable function-based circuit board for making versatile hardware adjustments.

Or as MICA USB – with two IP67 PushPull USB ports already built in to the function board.

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