Tinkerforge Introduces Bricklets for Modular Industrial Automation
Industrial Automation – Modular, fast and easy
Stukenbrock, 14. December 2012 (EmbeddedSystemNews.Com) — Tinkerforge extents its product range by “Industrial Bricklets”, such that industrial automation projects can now be created inexpensive, fast and easy. Prototypes or typically challenging tasks like process control by a tablet or smart phone over the internet can be realized with little effort.
Industrial automation is nowadays common place. With more automation the quality of production can be increased and at the same time costs for labor can be decreased. The market offers a big selection of automation solutions.
Traditional automation solutions are programmed with specialized PLC programming languages (e.g. EN 61131). Compared to programming languages that are used in application development, PLC programming did not progress and is outdated. Today interaction with consumer products, such as tablets is often desired. In this area and in other areas where interaction with other devices is necessary existing solutions fall short.
Tinkerforge offers a modular system of electronics, the core of the system are so called Bricks. Bricks are 4x4cm in size, they can be stacked on top of each other and connected to a PC via USB. With so called Bricklets it is possible to extend the features of Bricks. Bricklets can be connected to Bricks with a cable. There are bricklets to measure brightness, distance, voltage, to control LCDs and many more.
Bricks can be controlled from an (embedded) PC, smart phone or tablet with the programming languages C, C++, C#, Delphi, Java, Pascal, PHP, Python or Ruby. More languages are expected to follow. With a powerful API automation tasks can be realized fast.
The system is ideally suited for applications where a goal has to be reached fast and aordable (e.g. prototyping or experimental set-ups). Big advantages can be also be achieved when interaction with other devices is required. The construction of a system is possible with standardized connectors and with wired bus (RS485/Modbus) or wireless modules (Wi-Fi).
Bricks and Bricklets are addressed from the controlling program by a unique ID. The physical construction of the system does not need to be known for the programming. This means, that users can react to changing requirements fast and without hassle.
With the new “Industrial Bricklets” the Tinkerforge product range is extended by assemblies that are specically for industrial purposes. With the new Bricklets it is possible to directly take over functions that are currently performed by PLCs (e.g. controlling of variable-frequency drives). Initially digital I/O modules have been released. These are galvanically isolated and groupable. The grouping allows to read and write to multiple Industrial Bricklets simultaneously. More Industrial Bricklets are supposed to follow.
The German journal CHIP gave the modular system from Tinkerforge the “Product Of The Year 2012″- Award.