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Open, modular control platform is ready for Industry 4.0

10 September, 2015

The German communications and automation specilaist Harting has developed a modular platform consisting of open hardware and software that can be adapted swiftly and economically to many industrial applications. The Mica platform consists of a compact, robust computer tested in accordance with EN 50155, and a “virtual industrial computing” software platform, based on Linux.

The platform allows applications to be “virtualised” on field devices without the overheads typical for such systems. Applications run in virtual containers that hold all of the required libraries and drivers for the application. As a result, package dependencies and incompatibilities are avoided.

Harting argues that Mica is more than an enhanced industrial equivalent of Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone. It provides a complete infrastructure for integrating intelligence rapidly into existing manufacturing systems, for collecting data, and for the rapid and cost-effective implementation of future-proof small and medium-sized Industry 4.0 projects and proofs of concept. Mica fits into the VDE/VDI/ZVEI reference architecture model for Industry 4.0.

Harting's Mica module is based on open source hardware and software

Harting will be demonstrating the system at the SPS IPC Drives show in Germany in November, before starting deliveries in 2016.

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