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New freedom through IT-OT integration

09 December 2020

The enhanced crossover Operating System (exOS) makes it possible to use any Linux code within B&R systems. This gives machine builders freedom in the design of their automation solutions. Code written in high-level languages like C++, Python and JavaScript can be easily integrated in the machine application.

With the enhanced crossover connection between Linux and B&R's real-time operating system, Automation Runtime, software developers can write, compile and debug their code in the integrated development environment (IDE) of their choice and then easily load and run it on the control system. This opens up new freedom for implementing the advanced automation solutions envisioned by Industry 4.0 and the Industrial IoT. exOS makes it possible to execute machine learning algorithms directly at the edge, for example. A Tensorflow ML model can run in Linux on an Automation PC and receive machine data from an X20 PLC via the exOS API. This type of machine learning solution could be used to optimize maintenance.

One central engineering tool

Developers can create Linux code using their preferred tool, such as Eclipse or Visual Studio, and then import it into the B&R system as an exOS package. This enables Automation Studio to serve as a central engineering tool. Managing and debugging software solutions becomes much simpler and more straightforward. Commissioning no longer requires any extra tools.

IT functions in Linux can be distributed and maintained using established OT tools and workflows. In the event of service or hardware replacement, the necessary software can be installed without any expert knowledge. exOS also offers an array of diagnostics functions for installation and execution. The B&R system provides the user a consistent log of all error messages from both the controller operating system and Linux.

High-performance interface

exOS includes a user-friendly API for high-performance data exchange. The API ensures easy, buffered process data communication between the controller operating system and Linux. The data is transmitted consistently in the millisecond range. To synchronise execution, applications can access a shared time basis via the NetTime mechanism. This enables consistent timing of data transmission and timestamping of process data.

Scalable solutions

Machine builders can choose between two different types of exOS implementation. Automation Runtime and Linux can be installed either on the same device, such as an Automation PC, or each on their own separate hardware. With the second option, any B&R Automation PC can be combined with any X20 controller.

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