Arduino/Raspberry Pi open-source formats meet industrial controls – in distribution

August 19, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
RS Components has the Industrial Shields brand of PLCs (programmable logic controllers and panel PCs; the range builds on Arduino, Hummingboard and Raspberry Pi boards to deliver open-source advantages on ready-to-use, approved hardware.

In the past few years the flexibility of open-source development boards has eased the design process for electronic engineers, enabling faster prototyping for cutting-edge applications, especially in the Internet of Things (IoT) space. “Our new distribution agreement with Industrial Shields brings this flexibility to industrial engineers with a series of ready-to-install open-source industrial products,” said Paolo Carnovale, Global Category Marketing Manager for Automation & Control at RS. The Industrial Shields PLCs and panel PCs are based on the most popular open-source developments boards, such as Arduino, Raspberry Pi and Hummingboards, and can be programmed exactly in the same way. This unique characteristic allows engineers to go from prototype to industrialisation using the same flexible programming code.

The PLC portfolio comprises ARDBOX compact PLCs based on the Arduino Leonardo board, and M-DUINO Ethernet PLCs based on the Arduino Mega board. All operate from a supply voltage of 12-24V DC, and can be programmed and monitored via the Arduino IDE platform. ARDBOX compact PLCs are available in two different versions with up to 20 I/Os giving a choice of digital, analogue and relay outputs. The M-DUINO series offers five different versions with up to 58 I/Os. All units support I ²C communication allowing I/O expansion by connecting multiple units together. USB, RS232 and RS485 communication ports are also provided.

The panel PCs are open-source programmable 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreens, available in three different versions. HummTOUCH Android and HummTOUCH Linux give a choice of popular operating systems running on the Hummingboard ARM-based single-board computer. TOUCHBERRY Pi, based on the Raspberry Pi, runs the Raspbian Linux operating system. All the usual communication ports including Ethernet, USB, SPI Serial TTL and I ²C are provided, and the units can be programmed via the USB port using the Arduino IDE that is based on Processing.

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