Hilscher is launching netX-based products aimed at helping microcontroller developers, including those in the Raspberry Pi community, to connect easily to Real-time Ethernets, such as PROFINET and EtherNet/IP. Significant introductions include HAT boards for Raspberry Pi-based projects (see red box below) and a "shield" for the Arduino community (see story above). A question being asked by developers is "Why should I use a ruggedized solution when off-the-shelf products can easily support my project?" Be careful! You could have a cartload of problems if you use consumer-level products in industrial applications. Here are 6 arguments in favor of "Buying Hilscher":
1. Access to all real-time manufacturing data: Hilscher’s netX chips are at the heart of our solutions, such as netHAT and netPI (Raspberry Pi-based) and netSHIELD (Arduino-compatible). With netX, you get reliable, fieldbus organization-certified access to all data on the plant-floor networks, including real-time Ethernets, Fieldbuses, OPC UA, and messaging protocols, such as MQTT, HTTPS and AMQP.
2. Security built-in: In netPI, we leverage a secure Linux version and CPU-implemented security, and the unit accepts only “Hilscher-signed” software. Our IoT gateways can provide an “air gap” between the IT/Cloud applications and the manufacturing plant, to prevent intrusions from the outside world. Our newest netX chips offer encryption and secure boot.
3. Rugged hardware: Hilscher’s products are designed to withstand the environmental demands of the manufacturing plant. For example, the netPI is packaged in a DIN-rail mountable, IP20 metal enclosure with passive cooling, for an ambient operating temperature range up to +50°C with no loss in CPU performance. The unit is powered by 24 V over screw terminals (not by mini USB port), passes vibration, shock and fall tests, and offers LED diagnostic indictors.
4. Rugged software: The netPI hosts an AppArmor-secured Yocto Linux build, and the system software complies with the IEC 62443 cybersecurity standards for automation and control systems.
5. Hardened electronics: Resistance to EMI is critical in industrial environments. The netPI meets EMC standards EN 55011 and IEC 61000. Its Raspberry Pi PCB board is made up of eight layers rather than the six layers in a standard Pi board, for better heat dissipation and structural integrity.
6. Commercial solutions vs. “toys”: Development tools, such as netSHIELD and netHAT, address the rapid prototyping stage in an industrial project. With more 30 years of expertise, Hilscher delivers communications solutions to 13 of the top 15 global automation suppliers. We offer tested and qualified products, and award-winning designs.