Ruggedised modular ARM PC targets embedded designs

Louise Smyth

Harting has launched the first of its ruggedised MICA (Modular Industry Computing Architecture) PCs based around processors from ARM.

The 132mm x 86mm x 35mm platform provides system integrators and software developers the ability to deploy bespoke software applications in embedded systems using a LINUX operating system to provide a secure, stand-alone infrastructure needed in industrial and other demanding applications. It uses a 1GHz ARM processor with 1GB RAM, 4GB eMMC embedded flash drive and up to 32GB on a microSD card.

There are three circuit boards within the architecture, from a supply board with power supply, network connection and 24V GPIO to a processor board with CPU, memory, eMMC and microSD slot and a configurable custom function-based board. These are individually connected by a support bracket and use USB to communicate. This reduces the cost of developing new devices as only the custom boards need to be changed. There are eight configurable GPIOs with either PoE or 12 – 24VDC power supply, as well as ports for an RFID reader and USB PushPull connector.

“Companies deploying large scale automation solutions using ‘Industrial Internet of Things’ networks and distributed control systems need this type of device," said Gavin Stoppel, Product and Applications Manager at Harting UK. "Ruggedised computers are a key element in delivery of Industry 4.0, and since we showed MICA at ‘Drives and Controls’ we have had a lot of interest in it from companies working on various applications, especially RFID and performance monitoring.”

The MICA architecture is fanless and IP67 certified with high EMC, a configurable function-based circuit board, and industrial connectors. This is all housed within a secure and compact enclosure, which protects against dust, oil, splashes, shock and vibration in industrial and railway applications.

A die-cast aluminium enclosure provides protection from harsh environments and direct mounting is possible on machines, vehicles or on production lines and it is possible to mount the MICA onto a DIN rail using an adapter.

MICA is available as MICA Basic – with a custom configurable function-based circuit board for making hardware adjustments – or as MICA USB with two IP67 PushPull USB ports already built in to the function board.