New PLC Reference Platform

Aug. 20, 2012
Freescale integrates EtherCAT Ethernet protocol, ISaGRAF firmware and QNX Neutrino real-time operating system with its dual core QorIQ P1025 processor to lay the groundwork for new, advanced programmable logic controllers.

In a recent blog post I hinted that a number of new announcements were forthcoming from the embedded computing sector that would impact the capabilities of automation systems. The first of those announcements are now rolling out.

Freescale Semiconductor has announced that it has been working with its partners — ISaGRAF, koenig-pa, and QNX — to create a new reference platform for advanced programmable logic controllers. The new platform is based on Freescale’s dual-core QorIQ P1025 processor integrated with EtherCAT protocol software from KPA, PLC Firmware from ISaGRAF, and the QNX Neutrino real-time operating system (RTOS).

“PLCs automate critical systems that clean our drinking water, process food, create and distribute energy, synchronize transportation and manufacture a multitude of important products,” said Alexandra Dopplinger, industrial segment director for robotics and automation at Freescale. “This comprehensive new reference platform is based on the latest technology from industrial technology leaders and will speed and simplify creation of advanced PLC equipment.”

According to Freescale, the PLC reference platform delivers “millisecond response times for EtherCAT tasks, while using just one percent of one core in the dual-core QorIQ P1025 processor.”

With such a limited amount of core performance required to operate the controller, Freescale claims that the platform has enough headroom to run both the communications protocol and the control application in a single device. This also leaves users with the option to distribute processing functions across the two cores, or isolate real-time control functions on one core while running maintenance and communications functions on the other core.

Other key features of the new reference platform include:

  • The ability create control systems based on industry-standard control languages such as IEC 61499 and IEC 61131-3 using the ISaGRAF PLC firmware. The firmware also offers integrated HMI and EtherCAT slave management via its application development environment, which enables users to create a workbench using only the functionality required.
  • The QNX Neutrino RTOS offers adaptive CPU partitioning and multicore support allowing for process isolation, scheduling predictability, and self-healing mechanisms.

  • The KPA EtherCAT master and slave modules daisy chain so that switches and routers can be eliminated. The master also provides hard real-time performance, configuration and network activity monitoring capabilities.
  • The PLC reference design is based on Freescale’s QorIQ processors, which include single-, dual- and multiple-core options, with integrated support for communication protocols such as EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP, Profinet and Profibus.

The complete reference platform, including hardware, software and evaluation tools is available at

Sponsored Recommendations

Wireless Data Acquisition System Case Studies

Wireless data acquisition systems are vital elements of connected factories, collecting data that allows operators to remotely access and visualize equipment and process information...

Strategizing for sustainable success in material handling and packaging

Download our visual factory brochure to explore how, together, we can fully optimize your industrial operations for ongoing success in material handling and packaging. As your...

A closer look at modern design considerations for food and beverage

With new and changing safety and hygiene regulations at top of mind, its easy to understand how other crucial aspects of machine design can get pushed aside. Our whitepaper explores...

Fueling the Future of Commercial EV Charging Infrastructure

Miguel Gudino, an Associate Application Engineer at RS, addresses various EV charging challenges and opportunities, ranging from charging station design strategies to the advanced...