Conference highlights industrial productivity

December 04, 2017


There seems to be no stopping the advancements that can be achieved in industrial automation. Smart, connected factories continue to make vast improvements to productivity from the ability to share data and monitor factory processes in real-time. Taking automation to new levels of intelligence delivers the potential for extraordinary benefits, such as enabling more predictive productivity or helping to reduce operating and maintenance costs.

As previously fragmented and disparate systems become increasingly integrated and interconnected by standardizing networking protocols on more functional and interoperable platforms, manufacturing facilities that are Industrial IoT-ready can gain a more universal view of factory control processes and activities. With this expanded visualization, users can share a useful variety of data with on-site or cloud-based enterprise IT systems using analytics that enable companies to anticipate failures and respond faster to critical situations. Downtime avoidance and better controlling manufacturing production can help realize higher profits.

But what does the future hold for industrial innovation? This question and others like it led Kontron to initiate its Envision technology conference. The company invited partners and customers in the U.S. to discuss how they could positively influence and push the pace of evolutionary technology development across a broad range of industries. To kick-off this effort, experts from Kontron, Intel, and Wind River spearheaded an agenda of presentations and technology demonstrations they viewed as instrumental in revolutionizing next-generation products and systems.

A central element in the conference was the industry-specific session on industrial solutions. Presented were functional, interoperable, and IIoT-ready platforms available today that have been designed to solve the specific application challenges unique to this dynamic market. Providing a solid foundation are industrial computer and module platforms such as COM Express (COMe) and SMARC that are proven building blocks in the development of automation applications. They supply the standardized technologies that satisfy increasing compute-intensive applications and help developers adhere to cost-effectively shorten design-to-deployment schedules.

Developers of a broad and growing array of applications find that SMARC modules fit their needs for flexibility in a miniature form factor. SMARC also satisfies key automation application requirements for extremely low energy consumption with the ability to withstand extreme environmental conditions, suiting them for small portable handheld devices as well as for larger devices where consumption can’t exceed a few watts.

Similarly, COMe modules deliver the design flexibility, performance, and small form factor many industrial engineers need to handle the explosion of data on the factory floor. Kontron’s latest COMe modules give them a formidable and versatile solution that delivers critical network infrastructure high performance to the edge with the advanced features required in current and future IIoT systems.

A key application covered at Envision was the support for data-driven enterprise IT systems that tap into analytics. This lets companies better anticipate failures and respond faster to critical situations.

Kontron showcased its commitment to developing true industrial computer platforms capable of supporting tomorrow's production. Its IIoT-ready industrial platforms pave the way for highly efficient and flexible automation solutions. For example, the KBox Series gives developers longer lifespan, maintenance-free system design without either fans or batteries. The KBox’s modular structure is based on standard COMe technology, making it customizable, allowing for customer-specific adjustments without design risks or additional development costs.

Maria Wilde is the Product Portfolio Manager for embedded computers at Kontron. Wilde plans and manages new product introductions into the North American market based on her extensive technical, product strategy and lifecycle management experience.