We’ve just unveiled our new line of ARM-based products from Embux. The ICM-2010 & ICM-3011 motherboards and ICS-2010 mini Box PC are the truly industrial ARM solution that many of our clients have been searching for, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to bring Taiwanese manufacturer Embux to the US and European markets. The popularity of ARM processing has exploded in the last few years thanks to its low power requirements, speed and compact size. Now, thanks to Embux, we can bring those same advantages to the IPC industry.
We sat down with Product Manager Murat Erdogan, who took the lead on adding Embux ARM products to the Logic Supply portfolio, to talk about how ARM is changing the face of industrial computing and why these particular motherboards and tiny ARM-based PC make sense for Logic Supply’s clients.
Logic Supply: What Exactly is ARM?
Murat Erdogan: ARM stands for Advanced RISC Machines, who make processors based on a Reduced Instruction Set, or RISC, architecture. RISC systems are designed to complete fewer types of computing instructions than their CISC, or Complex Instruction Set Computing, counterparts. x86 systems, like those featuring Intel processors, are examples of a CISC architecture. RISC-based systems, like those powered by ARM chips, are capable of operating at a higher speed while consuming less power. There are a number of different RISC-based systems, but ARM have broken away from the pack to a certain extent.
ARM processors have become the ubiquitous solution for mobile consumer electronics like smartphones, tablets and wearable devices, but more and more we’re seeing them start to make their way into the industrial space thanks to the range of small form factor, low power consumption devices that are being implemented in today’s smart businesses and the Industrial IoT.
LS: Why Did Logic Supply Choose to Offer an ARM Solution?
Murat: RISC-based product adoption has really taken off in the last few years. As an example, when Google made a move to start offering mobile products I think that really pushed the adoption of ARM significantly. With their ARM-based phones they were able to offer a new, highly stable operating system at a lower cost that was also easy for developers to work with. Today most mobile devices are ARM-based and as a result there’s a huge open source software collaboration model out there, and the accessibility of ARM makes it attractive to developers.
The explosion of IoT, and the need to build billions of low power, customizeable devices has also helped ARM gain a foothold. As we see with many new technologies today, in contrast to how tech used to develop, interest in the consumer market has matured to the point that industrial applications are beginning to spring up. Because of their low power draw and processing speed, ARM-based systems are very attractive to developers creating a range of different gateway systems and we’re beginning to hear a lot of interest in ARM-based panel PCs for HMI applications, which we hope to be be able to offer later this year.
LS:What are the biggest differences between these ARM products and Logic Supply’s x86 systems?
Murat: What’s nice is that Embux products are built from the ground up for industrial use. The components are industrial grade so they are more reliable, have long lifecycles of a full five years which make them ideal for clients looking to standardize on a given platform, and they come with longer warranties than your average commercial system, three years on the SBCs and two years for the mini PC. In the case of many x86 products there’s often a lot of engineering that goes into making hardware suitable for commercial or industrial use, in this case Embux has made those considerations in advance.
That said, because of the current state of ARM as a development platform, these Embux systems aren’t plug and play in the same way that most x86 systems are. The flexibility and capabilities that the ICM boards and ICS system offer require a bit of knowledge about ARM architecture and software integration to fully harness. Fortunately, our partnership with Embux will allow our customers to leverage their expertise to help create their ideal hardware solution. We’re looking forward to seeing what folks create with these SBCs and the ICS system. It’s an exciting time for ARM development and we’re happy that we can help bring another hardware provider into the fold.
LS: What Made You Choose to Carry ARM Products from Embux?
Murat: When we were looking for an ARM hardware partner we wanted to work with a company whose products aligned well with our existing portfolio. It was also important that they have experience in the industrial computing space. Not only did the hardware need to provide high build quality, wide temp. ranges and fanless cooling, but we also wanted to make sure the company had experience in the industries we serve. Embux not only offers technical expertise but they also have a background in IPC, so they understand the type of projects our clients will be working on and how their hardware can be best utilized and customized.
LS:What other benefits does the partnership provide?
Murat: Through our partnership with Embux we’ll be able to leverage their OS, driver and peripheral integration support to help our clients with the full spectrum of hardware services. If the hardware needs to be customized, or a client needs software support to ensure compatibility with the ARM architecture, we can work with Embux to help them with that. For customers who simply want to offer a stable hardware platform for their software solution, the availability, quality and testing of these products, both by Embux and here at Logic Supply, will give them the peace of mind that the hardware side of things is taken care of. Also, for companies that don’t otherwise have the capabilities to work with an Asian-based hardware developer we can provide that connection.
Darek is the Communications Manager at OnLogic. His passion for both journalism and technology has led him from the newsrooms of local papers to the manufacturing floor of IBM. His background in news gathering has him always on the lookout for the latest in emerging tech and the best ways to share that information with readers. In addition to his affinity for words, Darek is a music lover, juggler and huge fan of terrible jokes.