Drives and Controls Magazine
IIoT-optimised control systems come in three formats
Published:  05 August, 2015

National Instruments (NI) has announced a new generation of embedded control systems in three formats, based on its open, flexible LabView RIO (reconfigurable I/O) architecture. It says that the controllers, which are optimised for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), will help users to build smart industrial systems and machines faster.

The three formats are:

•  CompactRIO controllers for integrators with rugged, industrial applications;

•  FlexRIO controllers for designers with high-performance embedded applications; and

•  single-board RIO controllers for designers who need more flexibility in their embedded applications.

The controllers integrate the latest embedded technologies from Intel and Xilinx to address demanding control and monitoring applications. They are supported by NI’s LabView software, LabView FPGA modules, and Linux Real-Time operating system, now based on Security-Enhanced Linux, which enables advanced security functions for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications.

“As the IIoT continues to impact the way the world connects, communicates and optimises smart systems, embedded engineers face growing and evolving networking, performance and security demands, and increased pressure to get to market faster, all while reducing development costs,” says Jamie Smith, NI’s director of embedded systems. “NI’s LabView RIO architecture delivers a complete platform so engineers can quickly design, prototype and deploy embedded systems for advanced monitoring and control applications in the IIoT.”

The new CompactRIO Controller includes:

•  A quad-core 1.91GHz Intel Atom processor to close loops faster, tackle more tasks, and process data with higher precision, accuracy and speed.

NI's new CompactRIO controller uses a quad-core processor to close loops faster and tackle more tasks

•  A Kintex-7 FPGA, which performs inline processing on more channels and can implement more complex filtering and control algorithms.

•  NI’s secure 64-bit Linux Real-Time operating system, which provides access a large collection of applications and IP.

•  An embedded UI that can be used to incorporate a local HMI and use the control system to customise and handle HMI tasks, cutting component costs as well as development and integration time.

•  Secure Digital (SD) storage to customise how users store, manage and access data.

The new, compact FlexRIO controller is based on a dual-core ARM processor that supports stand-alone operation when paired with NI’s Linux Real-Time OS. A Kintex-7 FPGA can be used to implement high-speed control algorithms and advanced signal processing and supports more than 30 high-performance I/O adapter modules.

The single-board RIO controllers use a Zynq system-on-a-chip (SoC) with NI Linux Real-Time, and a dual-core, 667MHz ARM processor, Artix-7 FPGA and a real-time OS. The boards can be used to embed intelligence into smart industrial systems. Code can be reused, cutting costs when moving from prototypes to deployment.