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IoT gateway runs Linux on Quark, expands with Arduino shields

Nov 15, 2016 — by Eric Brown 3,190 views

Siemens’s first IoT gateway runs Linux on an Intel Quark and offers Arduino shield compatibility and connectivity to the company’s MindSphere cloud.

The Simatic IOT2000 gateway is designed for “collecting, processing and transferring data in the production environment,” says German industrial giant Siemens. The company’s first Internet of Things gateway joins a number of Intel Quark based IoT gateways running Yocto Project based Linux distributions from companies including Aaeon and Advantech.

Simatic IOT2000 (left) and exposed view
(click image to enlarge)

The Simatic IOT2000 was announced in March, and is due to ship next month. It’s designed to connect to Siemens’s SAP HANA based MindSphere IoT cloud platform, which was announced at the same time, but it can also work with other cloud software. The Platform as a Service (PaaS) MindSphere is promoted as supporting open standards and interfaces. Siemens is working on an SDK for MindSphere to open up the platform to third-party systems.

Simatic IOT2000

The Simatic IOT2000 is ideally suited for preventive machine maintenance. It collects sensor data for impending signs of wear, and transfers it to a cloud-based analysis tool. Evaluated data is then returned to the production maintenance system, offering a “control loop for optimizing the maintenance intervals in a production plant,” says Siemens.

Simatic IOT2000 ecosystem
(click image to enlarge)

The Simatic IOT2000 runs on an Intel Quark 1020 with a secure boot chip. The system ships with 1GB RAM, and offers dual Ethernet ports, dual RS232/485 interfaces, and a battery-backed RTC.

Arduino shield (left) and mini-PCIe card installation
(click images to enlarge)

You can expand the device with Arduino shields, as well as mini-PCIe cards. Available with DIN-Rail mounting, the system is touted for its “ruggedness, reliability and longevity.”

We found out about the Simatic IOT2000 from a reader, who said the device stood out with its low, $280 price, open source firmware, and UL approval. The Siemens product page however, mentioned none of this, and when we asked the company for confirmation, they declined to comment.


MindConnect Nano/Simatic IPC227E

According to Siemens, the system joins its MindConnect Nano “cloud gateway” as a MindSphere compatible system. The Nano transmits encrypted data to MindSphere at fixed time intervals, allowing the creation of cloud-based applications and services, and supports standards such as OPC UA and Siemens’s S7 protocol.

MindConnect Nano (left), AKA Nanobox PC Simatic IPC227E (right)

Judging from the image in the MindSphere brochure (PDF), the MindConnect Nano is a version of the Nanobox PC Simatic IPC227E, one of several recent models in Siemens’s line of Intel-based, Linux-compatible Simatic branded embedded PCs.

The Nanobox PC is equipped with a dual-core Intel Celeron N2807 or quad-core Celeron N2930, both of the Bay Trail generation. It ships standard with Windows, but can be purchased without an OS and loaded with Linux.

The fanless, 191 x 100 x 60mm system offers a compact, one-liter enclosure volume, optional non-volatile NVRAM, three mounting options, shock and vibration resistance, and IP40 protection. It’s equipped with up to 8GB of RAM, a SATA HDD or SSD drive, and a CFast slot.

Other Nanobox PC features include a DisplayPort, a USB 3.0 port, 3x USB 2.0 ports, 2x GbE ports, and 2x serial ports. There’s a PCI slot, as well as an optional PCIe slot. The system can also be purchased in a similar panel-PC form factor IPC277E model.

Microbox PC
Simatic IPC427E

The Simatic family includes box PCs, rack PCs, panel PCs, and thin clients. Other recent models include a Microbox PC Simatic IPC427E industrial PC, which runs on Intel’s 6th Gen Core “Skylake” processors.

Further information

The Simatic IOT2000 gateway is available Dec. 1 at an unstated price, possibly as low as $280. More information may be found at the Siemens Simatic IOT2000 product page.

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