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Article | August 6, 2012
GE Intelligent Platforms: Control, computing platform
GE Intelligent Platforms’ PACSystems RXi new control and computing platform is supported by an emerging ecosystem of cloud-based support tools to provide improved performance, integration into the Industrial Internet, greater uptime, machine-to-machine connections, the skill sets of a digital native workforce, and low total cost of ownership (TCO).
The core of the RXi family is a COM Express architecture with multi-core CPUs, which allows GE to offer a range of products that will be continually refreshed without impacting the user’s application. The RXi platform offers a full complement of high-speed interfaces, with multiple gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 ports. The PACSystems RXi family of controllers also has built-in redundant PROFINET interfaces. RXi Industrial PC (IPC) configurations are able to run HMI, Historian and analytics applications right at the machine, even in harsh environments. This facilitates better real time control of operations and improved integration into plant-wide and enterprise systems. The platform fully supports GE’s new cloud-based collaborative automation platform development and deployment paradigm. Because the RXi runs the same high-performance PACSystems control engine found in RX7i and RX3i products, seamless application portability between form factors is possible. The RXi platform can also be used as a rugged industrial PC platform, providing the flexibility of a factory floor industrial PC with the reliability of a PLC.
The RXi controller has no local I/O, creating the basis for future upgradeability. It has built-in PROFINET with ring redundancy to provide a simple-to-use, low-installation cost, and high-performance redundant I/O network. With open standard PROFINET as the I/O network, users are free to choose best of breed I/O and other devices, like drives and vision systems, for use in their systems. The ability to deploy the RXi architecture using both control and IPC modules interconnected provides a compact, high-performance solution for applications requiring visualization, data archiving, or other advanced computational tasks at the point of control. Since it is based on standard Intel architecture, the RXi delivers very large memory sizes and on-board storage capability. The integrated Intelligent Display Module allows users to perform standard maintenance functions without the need for a separate computer running programming software, and creates a bridge that integrates the control system with the Industrial Internet. The platform’s Industrial PC (IPC) is very small form factor, and is rugged and fanless, for companies looking for factory-floor computing. It iincorporates patented thermal monitoring technology with sophisticated passive cooling, eliminating susceptibility to failure.
The design includes connectors on the controller and IPC so that the two products can be mounted together for cableless communications for applications where both control and computing are desired. The IPC can also be mounted on the back of a series of touch screen displays creating a family of modular panel IPCs.
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