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Rugged Linux box-PC excels at industrial fieldbuses

Nov 7, 2014 — by Eric Brown 2,500 views

Ixxat’s ruggedized “Econ 100” DIN rail computer runs Linux on an ARM/FPGA Xilinx Zynq SoC, and supports multiple industrial Ethernet and fieldbus protocols.

Ixxat Automation, which was acquired last year by HMS Industrial Networks, has spun a multi-protocol, industrial PC that supports a variety of fieldbus and industrial Ethernet standards. The Econ 100 “combines the machine control expertise from Ixxat with the fieldbus and industrial Ethernet capabilities of HMS Anybus technology,” says Ixxat. The Econ 100 offers extended temperature support and is designed for industrial applications ranging from “small material handling devices to complex robot-based systems for medical use,” says the company.

Econ 100
(click image to enlarge)

The Econ 100 runs Linux on the Xilinx Zynq-7020 system-on-chip, which combines dual, 667MHz to 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 cores with a relatively low end Artix-7 class FPGA. The system ships with 256MB DDR3 RAM, expandable to 1GB, as well as a 256MB SD card, expandable up to 32GB.

Standard interfaces include gigabit Ethernet and EtherCAT 10/100 networking ports, as well as two CAN ports and two USB ports. Serial and DVI ports are optional.

Econ 100 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

An optional expansion board supports a variety of optional HMS Anybus CompactCom plug-in modules. The modules are available for all popular fieldbus and industrial Ethernet networks, and are supported via an Anybus programming interface, says Ixxat. The expansion board also supplies 24 analog and digital I/Os for connecting sensors and actuators, as well as variety of serial interfaces. In addition, the board integrates 512MB NVRAM for data security and reliability.

Econ 100 with optional add-in module (left), and a Profibus module

The small photo at the left, above, shows the Econ 100’s capability to support an optional plug-in interface module with I/O connectors that protrude through a cutout in an alternative side panel. The module shown to the right, above, appears to be Ixxat’s Anybus CompactCom 40 PROFINET IRT module.

Ixxat Anybus CompactCOM module details
(click image to enlarge)

The Econ 100 has a rugged, 154 x 105 x 72mm metal case with IP20 protection. It’s available with DIN rail mounting, as well as a desktop case. The computer supports an extended temperature range of -40 to 60°C, according to the press release and -40 to 70°C, according to the data sheet.


The system offers a wide-range 9-32V power supply and runs at between 4-5 Watts, says the company. The Econ 100 is also available as a board-level product that can be integrated in existing applications OEM versions. Specific hardware and software customizations are available upon request.

The system’s Linux–based application development kit includes an “extensive” BSP with interface drivers, sample applications, and the selected protocol software pre-installed on an SD card. The Econ 100 supports C/C++ programming, and ships with a Soft-PLC programming environment “in collaboration with Copalp, which is consistent with IEC 61131-3 for simple programming and configuration of control applications,” says Ixxat. The software supports protocols including CANopen, EtherCAT, Powerlink MN/CN, PROFINET, and EtherNet/IP.

Summary of Ixxat Econ 100 specs

Specifications listed for the Ixxat Econ 100 include:

  • Processor — Xilinx Zynq-XC7Z020 (Zynq-7020) CPU/FPGA SoC:
    • 2x 667MHz ARM Cortex-A9 cores
    • Artix-7 class FPGA subsystem with 28k logic cells (optional 85k)
  • Memory:
    • 256MB DDR3 RAM, expandable to 512MB or 1GB
    • SD slot with 256MB flash card, expandable up to 32GB
    • Optional 512MB NVRAM for drive controls (via optional expansion board)
  • Networking:
    • Gigabit Ethernet port
    • EtherCAT Master 10/100 port
    • 2x optional 10/100 Ethernet ports (from FPGA)
  • Standard I/O:
    • 2x CAN ports (high-speed, galvanic isolated)
    • 2x USB ports
    • Optional RS232 port (replaces one of the CAN ports)
    • Optional DVI port
  • Optional expansion board I/O:
    • 24x Digital and Analog interfaces
    • Anybus CompactCom expansion slot with optional modules for over 20 Fieldbus and Ethernet networks
    • Internal I/O including 2x 12-bit 1MSps ADC; SPI or SDIO; I2C; 14-pin UART
  • Other features — DIN rail mounting with integrated clip or desktop case; IP20 protection
  • Power — 9-32 V (2-pin Phoenix); 4-5W consumption, depending on FPGA usage
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 70°C (passive cooling)
  • Dimensions — 154 x 105 x 72mm
  • Weight — 900 g
  • Operating system — Linux

Further information

The Econ 100 is available now at an undisclosed price. More information may be found at the Ixxat Econ 100 product page.

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