October 12, 2016
|By: Jeff DeAngelis
Managing Director of Business Management, Maxim Integrated
Industry 4.0 is alive and well as it continues to gain momentum on a global basis. Company's continue to embrace the promise of this evolution to improve factory throughout by providing 24/7/365 days of up-time through the reduction of loss productivity and enabling adaptive manufacturing by integrating the ability to re-configured the line "on-the-fly" as new products enter the manufacturing queue. This ability to adapt "on the fly" to support unique recipes to manufacture a product vs. dedicating an entire manufacturing line on a product by product basis will open the door to a new business model that enable consumers to create personalized products that meet an individual’s unique needs.
The key is to provide a solution or hardware platform that can create a new pathway to achieve the promise of Industry 4.0. This platform needs to be in a compact footprint, capable of operating in extreme environmental conditions, provide energy efficient operation to ensure fanless operation, and be powerful enough to manage a full suite of IO's to control a manufacturing node or piece of equipment. Achieving these attributes will allow the full power of a standalone PLC to be integrated into the machines on the factory floor providing operational redundancy and integrating an "Adaptive Manufacturing" capability.
In a bold step that pushes the boundaries of compact PLC technology, Maxim has just released a new reference design called Pocket IO™. This advanced hardware development platform takes up less than 10 cubic inches of space and it packs the capability to communicate to an array of Analog and Digital sensors, make a decision on this information, and translate this into an action by driving a relay, opening / closing a valve, or controlling a motor.
Maxim's new Pocket IO development platform integrates a total of 30 IO's consisting of 4 channels of 24-bit Analog Inputs, 1 channel of an 18-bit Analog Output, 8 channels of Digital Inputs, 8 channels of Digital Outputs with capability of achieving 2us responsiveness in push-pull mode along with a robust Safe / Fast De-Mag capability to protect against inductive kickback energy, 2 channels of RS485 (Profibus capable Field busses), 3 channels of Encoder / Motor Control ports, and a 4 channel IO Link Master that supports fast 400us sensor response times all packed into a in clear fanless plastic case. Leveraging Maxim's Industrial Power technology, Pocket IO is so efficient it’s the first compact portable PLC platform that can operate off standard AAA / AA (> 2hr of operation) or LiFePO4 rechargeable batteries (> 8hrs of operation).
Programming Pocket IO is done via Arduino Sketch or using Intel Edison's Eclipse IDE tool chain that is supported with versions that run on Windows, Linux, and MacOS. Once a sketch is written it can be downloaded into Pocket IO or converted into an app that is downloaded to an iPad or iPhone which converts the device to an HMI panel to control Pocket IO and your entire Industrial Control platform.
This new platform will enable Industrial Design Engineers to be innovative as it provides a platform to rapidly create, prototype, and fine tune new Industrial Control systems before they are sourced and built for production.
The power and simplicity of Maxim's Pocket IO reference design shows Industry 4.0 is well in hand or in this case in your pocket!
If you happen to be in Munich, Germany the week of November 8 - 11 and attending Electronica 2016, please stop by the Maxim Integrated booth located in Hall A4, Stand 279 to see "Adaptive Manufacturing" in action along with many other creative Industrial Control systems based on the power of Pocket IO.