Electronic
Standardized modules simplify industrial IoT expansion needs

Standardized modules simplify industrial IoT expansion needs

Industrial systems have used sensors and related control systems for decades, but turning these traditional sensors into smart devices suitable for networking has always involved proprietary methods. Now, the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG) has released modular design standards to make such systems more plug-and-play. Their new standard defines a small, microcontroller-independent module that can simplify the process of creating smart sensors for open computing networks.

Industrial systems have used sensors and related control systems for decades, but turning these traditional sensors into smart devices suitable for networking has always involved proprietary methods. Now, the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG) has released modular design standards to make such systems more plug-and-play. Their new standard defines a small, microcontroller-independent module that can simplify the process of creating smart sensors for open computing networks.

PICMG Micro Sensor Adapter Module (MicroSAM) is a compact computing module designed to meet the needs of sensor domain control in the industrial IoT (IIoT) application space. It specifically targets sensor connectivity and works in existing standards (such as MicroTCA and CompactPCI Serial) to achieve a higher level of control. The idea is to help sensor suppliers create smart sensor systems without the need to develop or manufacture their own control circuits or software. Instead, by purchasing these components from suppliers that are compatible with PICMG, they will be able to make their systems interoperate with other suppliers and help accelerate the adoption of smart sensor technology.

The size of the module is small, the size is 32×32 mm, and the circuit is designed for low-power operation. The specification requires power filtering and signal conditioning for embedded applications, RS422 communication links, PWM output for motion control applications, and hardware trigger and interlock signals for system synchronization. It is designed to provide direct connection with various sensor types (including analog voltage and current, and digital devices), but you don’t need to know which microcontroller is powering the module. The product is fully compatible with industrial applications. The module uses a latch connector to withstand environmental vibrations and must withstand temperatures from -40°C to +85°C.

In fact, MicroSAM is suitable for installation between unconnected standard sensors and effectors, as well as bridges or aggregator devices that connect multiple sensors to the network (Figure 1). The purpose of this module is to enable current non-IIoT devices to support IIoT. The bridge device directly manages the operation of the sensor and formats its data for transmission to a higher-level network.

Standardized modules simplify industrial IoT expansion needs

Figure 1 The MicroSAM module enables standard sensors to support IIoT, which is part of PICMG’s greater effort to promote the promotion of IIoT. Source: PICMG

The network model and data architecture of these modules are the subject of other PICMG standards currently under development. This work includes defining common firmware functions, common data models, network architecture, and requirements for integration with the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) Redfish management API. The overall goal of the group is to accelerate the deployment of IIoT technology by addressing the lack of standardization.

The goal is high, but only time will tell whether it can achieve the level of adoption required to significantly increase IIoT. Standards can indeed promote market growth, but the premise is that there must be a large enough market that can fully meet these standards. Industrial applications have sufficiently unique requirements for the solution that proprietary systems can provide performance advantages, thereby offsetting the time and effort saved by standardized methods.

The Links:   BSM50GB60DLC GP570-TC11 IGBTMODULE