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Embedded Innovator Spring 2012 : Page 18

Manufacturing actions by workers on a production line, there is still a requirement for workers to manage the line. Tasks might include: f Configuring the automation system for specific product runs f Monitoring, detecting, and mitigating faults on the line f Performing quality control using selective sampling and analysis. 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 produc-tivity when they work with visual systems that simplify all aspects of the task and visually depict issues such as line faults and fixes. Meeting the Needs of Factory Automation 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. Portwell’s ROBO-8111 is a full-size PICMG System Host Board (SHB). Figure 2. x16 PCIe* DMI System Display Agent Core PCI Express* IMC 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. 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 uti-lizes 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. USB performance will also escalate with the arrival of the 3rd gen-eration 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. Portwell will ultimately support the 3rd generation Intel Core pro-cessor 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 follow-on to the existing ROBO-8110 product. 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. LLC Core Core Core Graphics LLC LLC LLC 2ch DDR3/ DDR3L PECI Interface to Embedded Controller eDP Output DMI 2012 PCH Portwell’s ROBO-8111 is a full-size PICMG System Host Board (SHB). Figure 1. 18 | 2012 | 5 th Edition | Embedded Innovator |

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