Courtesy of WEKA-Fachmedien GmbH, Tobias Schlichtmeier
Experts agree: HPC will accelerate AI processes, optimise them and take them to a new level - this will have an impact not least on the IoT environment. According to studies, the number of machines connected to the internet will increase by an average of 31 percent annually until 2025. So it is no exaggeration to say that the IIoT is one of the most important topics of the coming years. Here, the "intelligent" processing of data is moving ever more rapidly to the edge: a lot of computing power is needed directly on site in the factory, for example, to pre-process considerable amounts of data and only send the AI-relevant information to the cloud.
The new COM-HPC® standard for future client and server applications was therefore adopted at exactly the right time: To push supercomputing to the limits in challenging environments, alternative system architectures are needed. From the third quarter of 2021, Kontron will provide the first COM-HPC® server modules and carrier boards for edge applications with high performance. In the Size D form factor (160 × 160 mm), the module with a next-generation server processor enables, for example:
- 48 PCIe Gen 3/4 lanes
- up to eight LAN ports for various configurations (100 Gbit/s, two 50 Gbit/s, four 25 Gbit/s, four 10 Gbit/s)
- Up to 512GB of DIMM DDR4 memory with four DIMM rails
Both the module itself and the server evaluation carrier with 308 × 340 mm are designed for industrial temperature ranges. A board management controller (BMC) on the carrier and a module management controller (MMC) on the module are connected via an interface. They help to monitor sensors and send alarms to a system administrator - this is especially crucial for remote maintenance and predictive maintenance.
Scalable performance for edge computing
For many mainstream applications as well as "intelligent" edge computing, COM-Express® Compact Type 6, COM-Express® Mini Type 10 as well as SMARC™ modules with scalable computing power are particularly suitable. They are equipped with new Intel® processors of the Atom x6000, Pentium and Celeron-N and -J series. With their four CPU and 32 GPU cores or execution units, they offer a significant increase in performance compared to the predecessor models: up to 1.87 times the single-thread performance and up to twice the graphics performance. One version also offers an integrated 1 GbE port with Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) and allows coupling to future TSN networks in automation.
The latest AMD Ryzen™ processors are also being introduced by Kontron. They are housed on Mini-ITX motherboards with associated "SMARTCASE" systems and are suitable for applications such as automation, kiosk, POS/POI, digital signage and entertainment. A new COM-Express Basic Model based on the Ryzen embedded V2000 processors enables a high number of application-ready integrated features, such as powerful cooling for full performance at 58 W TDP as well as ambient temperatures from -40 to +85 °C. Applications range from multi-machine clients and multi-tasking edge systems to demanding casino gaming applications and high-resolution medical imaging systems in the operating room.
Industrial Ethernet Switches
Complex Industry 4.0 applications require powerful, robust switches to link systems. The success of such projects depends not least on such connecting links: they must function safely and reliably under real-life conditions.
A new, comprehensive product portfolio ensures that suitable Ethernet switches are available for every scenario, whether for copper or fibre optic networks. There are currently a total of 65 "KSwitch" models - unmanaged, managed and with Power-over-Ethernet variants (PoE, PoE+) for fast and gigabit networks. This means that many end devices such as cameras or sensors can be directly supplied with power via an Ethernet cable, which significantly reduces cabling costs.
Support for the digital transformation
For small and medium-sized companies in particular, the integration of data-driven processes is an important opportunity, but at the same time a massive challenge. In this context, Kontron supports machine and plant builders as well as device manufacturers in the area of remote maintenance with the SUSiEtec toolset - for example, by means of the device portal. The provision of software and updates for remote devices is secure and automated. All hardware and software versions can be stored in the Equipment Cloud® for service purposes.
Connectivity is crucial when different data formats come together for Big Data and AI. For example, when networking machines, plants and IT applications such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). The FabEagle® Connect software platform ensures that this exchange works smoothly - without having to use the usual one-to-one conversion tools for individual formats. This automates the transfer of data from manufacturing for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), MES and Big Data applications in IT via various protocols. Protocols can be REST, MQTT, FTP, TCP/IP or AMQP, for example. At the same time, sensors, PLC controllers and edge computers can be easily networked via fieldbuses such as CAN, Profibus or, in the future, TSN, as well as protocols such as OPC UA. The focus is on rapid development, reusability of interfaces and buffering: this is the only way to synchronise and combine data that users collect in different frequencies and formats for Big Data and AI analytics.
In addition to the appropriate applications, highly specialised technical knowledge from the IT and embedded computing world is often required. The SUSiEtec experts not only provide advice, Kontron also takes care of system integration and customised hardware and software development and also provides a large portfolio of applications for digitalisation.
Is your company ready for the Industrial Internet of Things ?
You can find the 1. part of our blog series at: