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Tech | December 2018

B&R presents powerful Edge Controller

A single device to acquire data, evaluate it and send it to the cloud – that’s now possible with B&R’s Edge Controller. The powerful industrial PC can even be used for big data analysis and machine learning, while at the same time serving as a full-fledged industrial controller.

B&R’s Edge Controller is based on the robust Automation PC 910, whose high-performance variant is equipped with an Intel XEON processor able to handle resource-intensive tasks like machine learning. The Edge Controller runs a hardened operating system – a commercial Linux variant with guaranteed long-term support. Cloud transmission occurs via MQTT.

B&R Hypervisor makes it possible to simultaneously run a real-time operating system on the Edge Controller. That turns the edge device into a full-fledged industrial controller with cycle times in the sub-millisecond range. An unlimited number of I/O modules or controllers can be connected via the POWERLINK Industrial Ethernet protocol, OPC UA or other fieldbus systems. With the Edge Controller, this will soon also be possible with OPC UA TSN.

Easily in touch with your machines
Around the clock, Asset Performance Monitor delivers data about production rate, energy consumption and temperature. Users can define which information is required, and the application automatically calculates key performance indicators (KPIs) such as overall equipment effectiveness and provides opportunities for improvement. Asset Performance Monitor prepares the data and displays it in a clearly organized dashboard. OEMs can then use this data to implement well-targeted machine upgrades and offer their customers next-level service.

An edge device is installed on site to collect data from a machine or production line. It receives data from the machine controller via OPC UA and passes it on to the cloud using the MQTT protocol. The edge device automatically establishes a connection to the ABB Ability cloud and installs the necessary software. Simply logging in with a username and password gives the OEM access to Asset Performance Monitor and all the features it has to offer.

B&R’s cloud applications run on ABB Ability. Security and data integrity are guaranteed by state-of-the-art security standards and transfer protocols. The Microsoft Azure infrastructure ensures reliable access to ABB Ability services all around the world, which includes all the prerequisites for future cloud applications featuring artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The eye of the machine
The Smart Sensor is designed to implement a single machine vision functionality, such as QR code reading or position detection. Unlike many other devices in its class, there is no need to install dedicated hardware for each function. Instead, the user simply configures the desired Smart Sensor function in the Automation Studio development environment. OEMs only have to stock a single camera type and are nevertheless able to support a wide range of applications.

In cases where more than one functionality is required, it is easy to switch to the more powerful Smart Camera. The existing application software, parameters and models can continue to be used. Whichever camera type is selected, installation could hardly be easier: Simply hook the camera up to the machine network, and it automatically obtains all the settings it needs from the controller.

Smart Sensor and Smart Camera can each be equipped with one of three image sensors, ranging from 1.3 to 5 megapixels. All three sensors are characterized by their large pixel size, high light sensitivity and low noise. This guarantees optimum image quality – even in high-speed applications. Lighting can be implemented in the form of integrated LEDs or external barlights and backlights.

Housing variants are available with either an integrated lens or a standard C mount. The integrated lenses have electronic focus adjustment and are available in focal lengths from 4.6 to 25 mm. All B&R lenses are specially optimized for the image sensors used to achieve maximum sharpness and optimal imaging performance.

The camera only needs a single cable. The camera is integrated into the machine network via an M12 hybrid connector which also supplies the necessary 24 VDC power. A second hybrid connection enables easy daisy-chain cabling with additional cameras or B&R lighting elements.

B&R is an innovative automation company with headquarters in Austria and offices all around the world. On July 6, 2017, B&R became a business unit of the ABB Group. As a global leader in industrial automation, B&R combines state-of-the-art technology with advanced engineering to provide customers in virtually every industry with complete solutions for machine and factory automation, motion control, HMI and integrated safety technology. With Industrial IoT communication standards like OPC UA, POWERLINK and openSAFETY as well as the powerful Automation Studio software development environment, B&R is constantly redefining the future of automation engineering. The innovative spirit that keeps B&R at the forefront of industrial automation is driven by a commitment to simplifying processes and exceeding customer expectations.

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