Siemens Boosts Performance of Fanless, Embedded Industrial PCs
- Published: Wednesday, 05 December 2012 09:13
The Siemens Industry Automation Division has equipped its fanless embedded industrial PCs for use in tough industrial environments with powerful PC technology and third-generation Intel Core i7 processors.
The Simatic IPC427D Microbox PC and the Simatic IPC477D Panel PC are designed for maintenance-free 24-hour continuous use, as well as for stringent requirements regarding temperature, vibration, shock and EMC. The flexibly configurable and expandable units are suitable for demanding, maintenance-free automation solutions, mounted directly on the machine, for example, in wind power or solar plants or in tire manufacture. The Microbox PC offers flexible installation options and the Panel PC has an integrated industrial touchscreen display in widescreen format, with screen sizes from 12" diagonal. Both of these space-saving, fanless IPCs suit a variety of uses, including communication tasks, measuring, open and closed loop control or HMI tasks.
Compared to the previous models, the Simatic IPC427D Microbox PC and the Simatic IPC477D Panel PC have more than twice the computing power, depending on the equipment level. The new models are available with high-performance processor variants of the third generation up to Intel Core i7 (1.7 GHz) with integral HD graphics. If required, the processor can deliver up to 2.4 GHz by means of turbo-boost. The DDR3 main memory is expandable up to 8 GB. The integrated error correction supported by error-correcting code (ECC) offers a high level of data consistency for the Microbox PC. Using the Intel AMT technology integrated into the processor and the optional Simatic IPC Remote Manager software, the units can be remotely maintained, enabling cost-effective service concepts to be implemented, e.g. for updates. Robust bulk memory devices – such as a solid state drive (SSD) with up to 80 GB and a CFast flash memory card of up to 16 GB with a high-speed SATA interface – offer a high level of data security and system availability in industrial use. Options include a 250 GB hard disk, a DVD drive and a non-volatile memory of up to 512 KB, e.g. for non-battery applications. Of this capacity, 128 KB can be written within the buffering time in order, for example, to save important machine data in the event of a power failure. The devices have impressively high resistance to vibration and shocks, an integrated 24 Volt industrial power supply and, in connection with Windows Embedded Standard 7, they are also non-volatile without requiring an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). As interfaces, the devices offer two Gigabit Ethernet ports with teaming capability, one Profinet or Profibus interface, one or two serial RS232 ports, as well as one DVI and one DisplayPort interface for the connection of two monitors. In standard form, the Microbox PC offers four high-speed USB 3.0 ports. At the rear, the Panel PC has three USB 3.0 ports and an additional USB 2.0 interface on the 15" or larger versions.
With compact basic unit dimensions of just 262 x 133 x 51 mm (WxHxD), the Simatic IPC427D Microbox PC fits easily into small control boxes or can be directly machine-mounted. The unit can be installed very flexibly into the standard DIN rail, wall or portrait mounting variants and can be operated at ambient temperatures of up to 55 degrees Celsius. All its interfaces are located on one side, which simplifies the cabling. Two optional PCIe slots are available for expansions using, for example, measured value, I/O or communication modules. As it has been designed without a fan or hard disk, the Microbox PC is completely maintenance-free and can also be used in applications without batteries. For fast diagnostics, the device has four status LEDs that are always clearly visible and three of which are programmable. Diagnostic software is pre-installed for comprehensive analysis.
The fanless Simatic IPC477D Panel PC is equipped with a rugged cast aluminum front panel with IP65 degree of protection and can be used at ambient temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius. It is available with a wide touchscreen display in 12", 15", 19" and 22" options, as well as in a version with a 15" touch-keypad front panel. The high-contrast and high-resolution display with a reading angle of up to 170 degrees from all directions offers safe and reliable operation even under difficult lighting conditions. Thanks to a 100 percent dimmable LED backlight, it has been possible to significantly reduce the power consumption of the Panel PC. The versions with a touchscreen display can also be used in portrait format, e.g. for special machine designs or in order to save space. The widescreen front panels of the Siemens Panel PCs, Flat Panels, Thin Clients and Comfort Panels are uniformly designed, allowing standardized machine or plant design.
Siemens offers service and support for up to eleven years for its embedded industrial PCs. The devices are configurable online and are supplied on request with a pre-installed and activated 32-bit or 64-bit operating system – Microsoft Windows 7 or Embedded Standard 7.