Reimagining Industrial Controls
For decades, the industrial control world has employed the same technologies and procedures. Inflexible and rigid, these processes relied on locked-in vendor solutions, with large capital expenditures required to make changes. Built on custom devices and legacy systems, OT has begun to reach the limits of its capabilities as the Fourth Industrial Revolution takes hold.
Legacy OT systems typically lack the agility and flexibility demanded by industrial businesses today—and it shows. Some companies find teams are spending large amounts of time coordinating controller updates. Others struggle to seek new talent that can readily train on technology installed decades ago. OT systems are viewed as unchanging, slowing the pace of innovation.
Today, edge computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and real-time analytics are creating new opportunities. Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial converges these technologies in a cost-effective way, enabling best-in-breed industrial solutions that operate compatibly. Highly portable workloads can run on scalable, off-the-shelf hardware at high performance levels.
Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial
Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial is a software reference platform with compatible hardware that makes it possible to transition industrial control systems to software-defined solutions. The platform was designed to achieve time-deterministic compute in a dense compute environment.
Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial uses a range of IT-style technologies—like containerization, virtualization, and orchestration—while meeting industrial-grade requirements for real-time compute and high levels of operational availability. Its key features include:
- Time deterministic compute: Keep industrial processes working predictably with deterministic compute based on an open source time-sensitive networking (TSN) implementation and Intel® Time Coordinated Computing Technology (Intel® TCC Technology).
- Workload convergence: Use virtualization and containerization configurations to consolidate mixed-criticality workloads, including running distributed control nodes (DCNs) and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) on virtualized hardware.
- Application and platform management: With advanced management capabilities, get zero-downtime updates and enhanced maintainability. Real-time workload orchestration increases flexibility for dynamic workloads.
- Infrastructure management: Scale control node clusters with software-defined infrastructure, including network, storage, and CPU.
- Industrial connectivity: A control data bus gateway bridges brownfield and greenfield communication technologies to achieve a complete edge-to-cloud solution.
- Controls application: Using a verified industry control environment, the controls application offers production-verified and standards-compliant controls samples to simplify production and deployment.
- Security: Built-in hardware and software security features bring authentication and confidentiality capabilities that cover the entire computing environment, from chip to cloud.
- Functional safety: With a certifiable tool chain and software, as well as built-in fault-tolerance mechanisms, the platform takes safety seriously to help ensure peace of mind for workers and plant operators.
By harmonizing these features in a modular, usage-driven framework, Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial makes it possible to develop and deploy solutions that take individual use patterns and needs into account.
Industry Use Cases
By achieving multivendor interoperability with Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial, businesses can progress from more- rigid, fixed-function controls to a flexible microservices architecture with portable applications. This leads to easier management and faster adoption of new best-in-breed solutions.
The latest-generation Intel® Core™ and Intel Atom® processors are optimized to enhance the time determinism capabilities included in Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial. The software reference platform is an ideal choice for a wide range of use cases within discrete and process automation industries, such as:
Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial makes it possible to consolidate motion and logic control and provides a local user interface to monitor processes and enable supervisory controls. A platform management agent simplifies software updates and application provisioning.
In discrete manufacturing, automotive is a key industry. Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial enables low-latency motion control and puts safety first. Using a fully managed infrastructure, the platform can securely onboard new nodes and update software.
Oil and Gas
Burdened by complex manual processes, companies in the oil and gas sector want to enable and enhance process automation. Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial allows control execution to be managed as containerized microservices. Using advanced orchestration techniques, the platform also improves redundancy with increased workload availability and portability.
Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial uses a range of IT-style technologies—like containerization, virtualization, and orchestration—while meeting industrial-grade requirements for determinism and high levels of operational availability.
Benefits of Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial
Built to adapt to a wide range of manufacturing needs, Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial can create a strong, flexible backbone for the connected factory of today and tomorrow.
Software-defined solutions allow more-flexible management and simplified deployment when compared to legacy OT solutions. By implementing an IT-like industrial control platform, companies can deploy and manage software remotely for low costs and fast time to deployment.
Prevalidated system hardware allows new workloads to be added onto existing compute resources. New best-in-class products can be deployed quickly at scale to take advantage of emerging innovation.
Optimizing control systems is crucial to reducing downtime. By automating workload migrations during system upgrades and failures, Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial helps keep downtime low.
By taking advantage of a ready-to-use, prevalidated platform, manufacturers can adapt hardware and software to their specific needs—without having to build an interoperable system from scratch. Companies can get the advantages of a modern converged control ecosystem with a reduced time to market.
What Customers Say
Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial is already having an impact at some of the world’s largest companies. For example, one major oil and gas company is using the platform to deploy network function virtualization (NFV), creating open systems that enable greater access to new technologies. Another global manufacturer is replacing multivendor technical solutions with this open platform, allowing integration with vertical-specific solutions. By enabling greater flexibility and choice, Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial is helping businesses realize the full potential of Industry 4.0.