To be recognized by industrial OEMs as a primary machine control platform over the years, the embedded PC has relentlessly increased its performance and user flexibility, while preserving the basic concept of the convergence of standardized PC technology with rugged, DIN-rail-friendly features that form a reliable industrial controller.
In that spirit, Beckhoff Automation introduced its new CX2000 embedded PC series to North America. The CX2030 and CX2040 embedded PCs implement powerful multi-core processors. With this boost in performance, these embedded controllers cover performance areas previously reserved for larger, cabinet-mounted industrial PCs, including advanced multi-axis machinery and powerful graphical user interfaces.
"The multi-core-enabled CX2000 models represent the second generation of the Beckhoff Embedded PC family, and are equipped with Intel processors from the second generation of the 32 nm series," says Scott Marsden, embedded PC product specialist for Beckhoff Automation. "Power-saving Celeron variants are also available, making fanless options possible. The embedded PC operating systems benefit from the fast, integrated graphic core as well as faster DDR3 memory."
The first three devices from the CX2000 series include:
• CX2020 with second-generation Intel Celeron 1.4 GHz, single-core processor
• CX2030 with second-generation Intel Core i7 1.5 GHz, dual-core processor
• CX2040 with second-generation Intel Core i7 2.1 GHz, quad-core processor
The CX2000 housing concept combines a metallic basic housing with front panels made of a special screening plastic, and can handle environments with temperatures ranging from -25 to 60 °C.
"The basic CPU module from the new series always has one DVI port, four USB ports and two independent Ethernet ports," Marsden reports. "A factory-configurable internal slot referred to as a 'magic interface' can optionally perform the function of an astoundingly wide range of interfaces. So fieldbus master and slave implementations are possible here for EtherCAT as a slave, Profinet, EtherNet/IP, Profibus, CANopen and DeviceNet, as well as RS-232/RS-422/RS-485 serial interfaces."
The modularity of the CX2000 devices on the left-hand side of the CPU is based on PCI Express as the bus system and offers a bandwidth of 5 gigatransfers per second (GT/s) per PCIe TX/RX channel. "This enables the connection of a variety of interfaces," Marsden explains. "For example, a maximum of four modules, each with two independent 1 Gb Ethernet ports, can be connected. Alternately, up to eight serial interfaces can be connected, which are implemented in pairs as RS-232 or RS-422/RS-485. The number of possible USB interfaces can also be multiplied: four high-speed (480 MBps) USB 2.0 interfaces can be connected per module."
From a hardware perspective, the devices from the CX2000 series offer I/O support and a direct connection for Beckhoff Bus Terminals and EtherCAT Terminals. "Another newly added feature is automatic recognition of the respective I/O system, be they EtherCAT Terminals or Bus Terminals, in the CX2000 power supply module, which can simplify customer orders and installation," Marsden adds.
In terms of software, Marsden says, the new CX generation also continues exclusive support of Microsoft operating systems in the form of Windows Embedded Standard 7 or Windows 8, depending on availability.