Server platform at Embedded World 2019
Intel, congatec and Real-Time Systems were showing a live demo of their new industrial-grade application server platform for multiple real-time industrial controls at Embedded World 2019.
With its extremely fast deterministic behaviour on up to 6 cores, the COM Express Type 6 based Intel Xeon E2 industrial application server platform is capable to take over the control of multiple real-time and non-real time tasks including smart vision, artificial intelligence, robotics control and – optionally – IIoT-based monitoring, maintenance and management.
The application-ready, real multitasking capable industrial control platform utilizes the RTS Hypervisor from Real-Time Systems and targets the next generation of vision-based collaborative robotics, automation controls and autonomous vehicles that have to tackle multiple tasks in parallel, including situational awareness utilizing deep learning based AI algorithms.
The demo of the COM Express Type 6 based Intel Xeon E2 industrial-grade application server platform integrates three application-ready, preconfigured virtual machines. One operates a Basler vision camera, where the vision-based object recognition runs on Linux via the Intel OpenVino software, and the AI algorithms are executed on an Intel Arria 10 FPGA card from Refexces. The two independent real-time partitions run real-time Linux to control the balance of an inverted pendulum in real-time. The system reacts instantly and with real-time behaviour to keep the pendulums in balance.
To demonstrate the independence of these applications and the real-time behaviour on a single server platform hosting several virtual machines, the Linux partition can be rebooted without any impact on the virtualized real-time system balancing the pendulums. All virtual machines are individually partitionable via the real-time hypervisor software from Real-Time Systems, providing perfectly tailored resources for the manifold real-time and non-real time tasks of next generation robotics, machinery and industrial controls integrated on one single industrial-grade application server platform.
Congatec has also introduced its first Server-on-Module with AMD embedded processors. The new conga-B7E3 Server-on-Module with the AMD EPYC Embedded 3000 processor offers up to 52 per cent more instructions per clock compared to legacy architectures.
As Server-on-Modules form the technology basis for complementary rugged server designs, developers can use the new conga-B7E3 modules as a drop-in replacement to boost performance within their closed loop engineering design cycles in manifold rugged edge applications. Use cases include Industry 4.0, smart robot cells with collaborative robotics, autonomous robotic and logistics vehicles, as well as virtualized on-premise equipment in harsh environments to perform functions such as industrial routing, firewall security, and VPN technologies – optionally in combination with various real-time controls and neural network computing for artificial intelligence.
The company also presented – as far as known – the world's first embedded form factors with the brand new 8th Generation Intel Core Mobile processors (codenamed Whiskey Lake) at Embedded World. This launch of COM Express Type 6 Compact modules, 3.5 inch SBCs, and Thin Mini-ITX motherboards – all equipped with consumer-grade Intel Core i7-8565U Mobile processors – allows congatec to play a pioneering role in the rollout of this new processor generation for harsh and space-constrained environments. OEM customers get early access to the new high-end processor technology and benefit from first-to-market strategies. Industrial end-customers profit from an instant application performance boost of up to 40% compared to previous U-Series processors - enabled by 4 instead of 2 cores plus an overall improved microarchitecture.
The new hybrid embedded conga-JC370 3.5 inch SBCs, conga-IC370 Thin Mini-ITX motherboards and conga-TC370 COM Express Type 6 modules all come with the 1.8 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-8565U Mobile processor that impresses with a performance increase of up to 40% compared to previous U-Series processors enabled by a leap from 2 to 4 cores along with the improved microarchitecture.
The memory is designed to match this performance boost: Two DDR4 SODIMM sockets with up to 2400 MT/s are available for a total of up to 64GB. For the first time, USB 3.1 Gen2 is now supported natively. This USB SuperSpeed+ interface is capable of transferring up to 10 Gbps, which makes it possible to transfer even uncompressed UHD video from a camera to a monitor.
The new 3.5 inch SBC provides this performance via a USB-C connector that also supports 1x DisplayPort++ and power supply for peripheral devices, thereby enabling monitor connection with a single cable for video, touch and power. The COM Express modules support the same feature set on carrier boards. Further interfaces depend on the form factor but all support a total of 3 independent 60Hz UHD displays with up to 4096x2304 pixels as well as up to 2x Gigabit Ethernet (1x with TSN support). The new boards and modules offers all this and many more interfaces with an economical 15W TDP, which is scalable from 10W (800 MHz) to 25W (up to 4.6 GHz in Turbo Boost mode).
Congatec reports record growth of 24% versus previous year and an all-time record in revenue of 132.5 million USD compared to 106.6 million USD in 2017. For 2019, congatec anticipates another year of growth, based on the current backlog and major design wins. In 2018 congatec already increased the size and strength of its team, and even greater investments are planned for 2019 to support expanding growth in 2020 and beyond.