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Embedded Innovator Spring 2012 : Page 17

Manufacturing Faster Factories with Next-Gen Graphics and I/O Industrial Automation with 3rd Generation Intel ® Core ™ Processor Family By Ken Guan, Director of Industrial Appliance Product Marketing Division, Portwell anufacturers around the globe are in a never-ending race to deliver greater efficiency, higher through-put, and better quality. To meet these goals, the industry is seek-ing factory automation systems with faster, denser processing elements; higher-perfor-mance peripherals; and graphics-and image-process-ing facilities to handle rich input and output data streams. M The future 3rd generation Intel ® Core ™ processor family (formerly code-named “Ivy Bridge”) is poised to be a good match for these requirements, particu-larly for factory automation applications that require rich graphics. This new processor family will provide a number of enhancements—including improved graphics and high-speed I/O—that can lead to improved throughput on produc-tion lines and an enhanced worker experience. Next-Generation Factory Automation Generally, factory automation applications require high-speed data capture from a variety of sensors, fast processing of that data, and decisive action based on the analysis. The data capture stage can include relatively simple data such as weight or temperature measured via simple accelerometer and thermocouple sensors, but many applications require the capture of much richer data. For example, some factory automation applications require the capture of images from one or more high-resolution cameras. The analysis phase of the application varies greatly as well. Back to our simple example of weight, an automation system might simply need to make a go or no-go decision based on predetermined limits. In the case of visual inspection, however, the analysis may need to include granular processing of image elements and/or more captured frames to ensure a product on the pro-duction line has no flaws. The need for processing power and I/O bandwidth is obvious for complex systems that involve visual inspection and other demanding tasks. However, performance is important even with simpler data inputs. For example, a high-performance system might be able to handle multiple production lines or mul-tiple testing points where a lower-performance system can handle only one. Generally, the action phase is relatively simple. But there is another angle to the entire process. While an automated system, by definition, eliminates manual intel.com/go/embeddedinnovator | Embedded Innovator 5 th Edition | 2012 | 17

Faster Factories With Next-Gen Graphics And I&#47O

Ken Guan

Industrial Automation with 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ Processor Family<br /> <br /> Manufacturers around the globe are in a never-ending race to deliver greater efficiency, higher throughput, and better quality. To meet these goals, the industry is seeking factory automation systems with faster, denser processing elements; higher-performance peripherals; and graphics- and image-processing facilities to handle rich input and output data streams.<br /> <br /> The future 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processor family (formerly code-named “Ivy Bridge”) is poised to be a good match for these requirements, particularly for factory automation applications that require rich graphics. This new processor family will provide a number of enhancements—including improved graphics and high-speed I/O—that can lead to improved throughput on production lines and an enhanced worker experience.<br /> <br /> Next-Generation Factory Automation<br /> <br /> Generally, factory automation applications require high-speed data capture from a variety of sensors, fast processing of that data, and decisive action based on the analysis. The data capture stage can include relatively simple data such as weight or temperature measured via simple accelerometer and thermocouple sensors, but many applications require the capture of much richer data. For example, some factory automation applications require the capture of images from one or more high-resolution cameras. The analysis phase of the application varies greatly as well. Back to our simple example of weight, an automation system might simply need to make a go or no-go decision based on predetermined limits. In the case of visual inspection, however, the analysis may need to include granular processing of image elements and/or more captured frames to ensure a product on the production line has no flaws.<br /> <br /> The need for processing power and I/O bandwidth is obvious for complex systems that involve visual inspection and other demanding tasks. However, performance is important even with simpler data inputs. For example, a highperformance system might be able to handle multiple production lines or multiple testing points where a lower-performance system can handle only one.<br /> <br /> Generally, the action phase is relatively simple. But there is another angle to the entire process. While an automated system, by definition, eliminates manual Actions by workers on a production line, there is still a requirement for workers to manage the line. Tasks might include:<br /> <br /> > Configuring the automation system for specific product runs<br /> <br /> > Monitoring, detecting, and mitigating faults on the line<br /> <br /> > Performing quality control using selective sampling and analysis.<br /> <br /> Enabling the operator to function efficiently and fully leverage the investment in the automation system, which requires a complex human machine interface (HMI). Operators deliver superior productivity when they work with visual systems that simplify all aspects of the task and visually depict issues such as line faults and fixes.<br /> <br /> Meeting the Needs of Factory Automation<br /> <br /> The 3rd generation Intel Core processor family (Figure 1) is a good match for the requirements of factory automation applications. These processors will be the first to use Intel’s leading 22 nm manufacturing process and Tri-Gate transistor technology. This new process along with architectural enhancements will boost performance and reduce power consumption. That means that factory automation systems can handle more complex analysis routines while lowering heat dissipation for greater reliability and longevity.<br /> <br /> The new processors will also offer significant architectural upgrades, such as a new graphics engine with better performance and power efficiency than the previous generation. The powerful new graphics engine, which includes support for Microsoft* DirectX* 11, will allow system designers to create HMIs that include real-time visualization of the production line environment. In addition, the new processors will support three independent display interfaces, allowing separate views of different elements of the process concurrently. Most importantly, these benefits will be available without a separate graphics processor, reducing system cost, power consumption, and heat.<br /> <br /> The 3rd generation Intel Core processor family can also deliver enhanced peripheral performance. For example, the PCI Express* (PCIe*) interfaces will be upgraded to PCIe* Gen 3. This is a significant improvement: PCIe* Gen 2 is limited to 5 Giga transfers per second (GTps), but PCIe Gen 3 will up that limit to 8 Gtps. PCIe Gen 3 also utilizes a more-efficient data-encoding scheme, effectively doubling the realizable per-lane throughput from 500 Mbps to 1 Gbps. Faster PCIe can deliver numerous benefits in factory automation. For example, an inspection system can capture higher-resolution images or more images per second.<br /> <br /> USB performance will also escalate with the arrival of the 3rd generation Intel Core processor family. The Intel® 7 Series Chipset Family that accompanies the processors will support USB 3.0 that increases maximum data rates from 480 Mbps to 5 Gbps. The faster USB rate may enable an automation system to capture images via lower-cost USB cameras rather than relying on dedicated capture cards.<br /> <br /> Portwell will ultimately support the 3rd generation Intel Core processor family on a broad array of embedded-computing platforms.The initial offering, the ROBO-8111 (Figure 2), will be a full-size PICMG System Host Board (SHB) designed for use in a PICMG 1.3 PCI Express* (PCIe*)-based backplane. The product will be a followon to the existing ROBO-8110 product.<br /> <br /> Upon availability of the new the 3rd generation Intel Core processor family, Portwell expects several customers using the prior-generation products in factory automation applications to consider an upgrade.Let’s examine the benefits expected of these processors relative to customer requirements.<br /> <br /> Case Study: X-ray Food Analysis<br /> <br /> One current Portwell customer has an automated food-packing application. The system combines the prior generation SHB with an X-ray module to test packages brought in by a conveyer belt.The SHB accepts images from the X-ray modules, performs image analysis, and decides if each package is OK for shipment or is no good (NG) and must be rejected (Figure 3).<br /> <br /> Among other tests, the image analysis detects contaminants within the bag. It uses a 0. 2-mm-diameter metal ball as a reference in detecting particles. The analysis also detects broken or missing items when analyzing each package as well as any issues with the package seal. The system can even analyze the outside of the packaging ensuring that the labels are printed correctly.<br /> <br /> A next-generation processor could offer several benefits to the automation application. The primary customer goal is faster throughput and greater production on the automated line. Secondarily, the customer would like to increase the fidelity of the capture and analysis to enable more accurate decisions.<br /> <br /> The 3rd generation Intel Core processor family can support both goals. Today, the inspection system can process a food item in 60 seconds. With the additional processing power and peripheral speed that will be available in the ROBO-8111, the customer will be able to realize a substantial reduction in processing time. Similarly, the integrated graphics accelerator will enable a move to X-ray images larger than the 1280-pixel-wide images supported by the current system.<br /> <br /> The graphics and peripheral capabilities will also facilitate the procedures required of the operators. The customer will have the option of adding displays and 3D visualizations of the process. Moreover, the operators often use USB storage devices to store an X-ray image for quality control and later detailed analysis. Today the images are typically stored at 640 x 480 pixel resolution. With USB 3.0 enabling faster data transfers, the customer will be able to store 1280 x 960 pixel images instead.<br /> <br /> Case Study: Multi-Channel Capture<br /> <br /> Another Portwell customer that is a candidate for an upgrade to the 3rd generation Intel Core processor family has developed a system that’s capable of capturing many video streams simultaneously. In addition to supplying an SHB board, Portwell worked with the customer to develop a custom PICMG backplane that is used to host the customer’s video capture cards.<br /> <br /> The existing backplane implements ten 16-lane (x16) PCIe Gen 2 slots using PCIe-to-PCIe switches. PCIe Gen 3 will present several options for the customer to either increase the fidelity of the system, simplify the backplane, or both. For example, faster PCIe Gen 3 connections could reduce the total number of required slots and switches or the Number of lanes used per slot. With PCIe Gen 3, an x8 slot will deliver the equivalent throughput of a PCIe Gen 2 x16 slot.<br /> <br /> The baseline improvement in processing power in the 3rd generation Intel Core processor family will also be important for the customer, but other features may be more surprising in terms of impact on system performance and image quality. For example, PCIe Gen 3 improves bit timing and jitter tolerance over PCIe Gen 2. That upgrade will increase video quality. Meanwhile, the existing platform used by the customer is based on DDR3-1333 memory. The 3rd generation Intel Core processor family will use DDR3-1600 memory, significantly speeding the movement of video frames to and from memory.<br /> <br /> The multi-display capability will also come into play. The existing system uses keyboard/video/mouse (KVM) switching to dynamically route video data to an array of displays. The upgrade to three independent display on the 3rd generation Intel Core processor family won’t eliminate the need for switching, but will reduce the number of switches required thereby lowering cost and minimizing the instances where a switching action is required.<br /> <br /> The individual improvements in the future 3rd generation Intel Core processor family are all intriguing when considered discretely, but the bigger story is the sum of all the benefits. From a system perspective, especially in the context of factory automation, the new processors can deliver increased throughput and fidelity. That means automated production lines can deliver more, higher-quality products. By taking advantage of these benefits, OEMs can achieve greater success across many different industries and automation applications.<br /> <br /> For more on connecting, consolidating, and optimizing industrial automation, see intel.com/go/embedded-industrial<br /> <br /> Contact Portwell<br /> <br /> Portwell (intel.com/go/ea-portwell/) is a Premier member of the Intel® Embedded Alliance. It offers a complete range of embedded platforms, from board to system level, as well as complete R&D and project management services for OEMs and ODMs.

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