A compact control unit with exceptional interface flexibility

A compact control unit with exceptional interface flexibility

(PresseBox) (Kaufbeuren, )
With the ESX.4 family, STW from Kaufbeuren has developed a series of mobile control units to meet the highest demands of automation for mobile machines. The flagship of the series, the ESX.4cl, impresses with 113 inputs and outputs and an optional co-processor that provides additional interfaces and more processing power.

With the ESX.4 family, the automation experts at STW have introduced a new generation of freely programmable mobile control units with a completely new architecture. The compact control units utilize STW’s Aurix based platform with a 3x 300 MHz core processor. With an integrated managed Ethernet switch, the control family is equipped for modern machine applications. Thanks to a SIL 2 / PL d safety certification, the integration of functionally safe applications is efficient.

The ESX.4cl is the most capable variant of the control family. Above all, it offers a wide range of interfaces. It can be networked with other system components via four CAN bus interfaces and two managed Ethernet switches with a total of three 100Mbit/s Ethernet, one 1Gbit/s Ethernet and two BroadR-Reach® ports. "The integrated switches take the load off the main processing unit, and no computing power from the main processor is required for signal forwarding. This means that the application developer has the greatest possible processor capacity available for the automation tasks. In addition, the 53 low-side and high-side outputs and 60 multifunction inputs leave little to be desired in terms of integration into the system" explains Stefan Hohn, product manager for mobile control units at STW. The ESX.4cl also supports the SENT and LIN protocols and can supply voltages from 5 to 12 V for connected sensors.

For particularly demanding applications and complex system architectures, the ESX.4cl is available with an additional co-processor. The i.MX6 ultralite co-processor, with a freely programmable and configurable LINUX operating system, provides additional computing power and additional memory capacity with its single ARM Cortex-A7 core. Extensive networking features enable interconnection in complex control architectures. The co-processor is compatible with existing libraries from the STW portfolio and so, for example, functionalities from the connectivity modules can be implemented.

Another plus is the support of openSYDE. openSYDE is STW's open-source software platform for the implementation, commissioning and analysis of control systems. The software accompanies the entire product life cycle of the machine - from variable definition to system documentation and support. The complete system definition, configuration, maintenance and documentation can be managed centrally. Thanks to the drag-and-drop editor and predefined libraries, openSYDE is very intuitive to use. As openSYDE is already TÜV-certified for SIL 2 / PL d applications, in conjunction with the certified control units, it offers the perfect solution for applications with functional safety requirements.

With the ESX.4 control family and its flagship ESX.4cl, manufacturers of innovative mobile machines have the tools available for the current and future challenges in construction, agriculture, forestry and municipal machines.

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