Datasheet Directories

Embedded PCs

Written by Jeff Child

Complete Compute Solutions

Box-level embedded computers, also known as Embedded PCs, have emerged as a key technology for a variety of embedded systems markets. By using a complete, turn-key system-level solution, system developers no longer have to spend time on integrating computing sub-systems and instead can focus on their application and end-user software.

  • What is happening in Embedded PCs?

  • BOXER-8230AI from Aaeon

  • ADLINK Technology’s DLAP-211-
    Nano

  • Advantech’s UNO-238

  • DeviceEdge Mini Series-M1
    from Aetina

  • WEBS-21G0 from American
    Portwell Technology

  • eBOX560-52R-FL from Axiomtek

  • GP-3000 from Cincoze

  • DFI’s ES220-CS

  • ASB200-919 from
    Ibase Technology

  • Kontron’s KBox A-203

  • Lanner’s LEC-2290

  • Helix 600 from OnLogic

  • Sintrones’ VBOX-3611-4L-D5G

  • PL-50040 from WIN Enterprises

  • WINSYSTEMS’ SYS-427

Box-level embedded systems are known by a number of names, including industrial PCs, rugged stand-alone box systems and embedded PCs. These systems are attractive to system developers that want a high-level of integration to from the beginning. A complete embedded PC system means they don’t have to deal with making different SBCs and I/O boards work together, for example.

Because embedded box-level computing is such a broad category, it was a challenge to give this Datasheet roundup some kind of focus. With that in mind, the representative products included in this article’s product gallery is restricted to embedded PCs in the literal sense of systems with GPU or PC-architecture computing (Intel or AMD processing) with Windows OS support. The gallery also excludes box-level systems that are marketed as application-specific systems—aimed at vehicles, digital signage, railway systems, vision system and so forth. This distinction gets somewhat muddy because many of the systems in this article can and are used in vehicles, for example, so there is overlap.

An example of an embedded PC application is an upgraded robotic delivery vehicle designed for BMW’s production lines. BMW’s production of build-to-order cars requires a logistics process which guarantees that the right parts arrive at the right assembly line at the right time. Every day, 230,000 different types of parts are organized into trays to produce 10,000 cars. BMW had been using automated-guided vehicles (AGVs) to move these parts around. But those robots lacked robotic arms, intelligence or flexibility, so the AGVs were unable to load themselves or plan and navigate routes because they cannot perceive their surroundings.

BMW decided to replace the AGVs with a fleet of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) capable of handling and transporting production material without human intervention. The company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Idealworks, was tasked with using artificial intelligence (AI) in the logistics processes, starting with the design of autonomous robots (Figure 1). Idealworks developed an AMR called iw.hub and the fleet management software for it called AnyFleet. The AI-based robots required high-performance computing platforms that could operate reliably in stringent industrial conditions, like high vibration and physical impact. With that in mind, Idealworks decided to build a custom solution and selected ADLINK Technology’s DLAP-401 edge AI platform for the design. The compact DLAP-401 computing platform addressed the size, weight and power (SWaP) constraints of transport robots, like running on a single battery charge for at least a full shift.

FIGURE 1
The iw.hub autonomous robot is shown speeding across a BMW automotive production floor to collect its next set of BMW auto parts. The mobile robot embeds a ADLINK DLAP-401 embedded PC to enable the robot to transport auto production materials without human intervention.

PUBLISHED IN CIRCUIT CELLAR MAGAZINE • JULY 2021 #372 – Get a PDF of the issue


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Editor-in-Chief at Circuit Cellar | Website | + posts

Jeff Child has more than 28 years of experience in the technology magazine business—including editing and writing technical content, and engaging in all aspects of magazine leadership and production. He joined the Circuit Cellar after serving as Editor-in-Chief of COTS Journal for over 10 years. Over his career Jeff held senior editorial positions at several of leading electronic engineering publications, including EE Times and Electronic Design and RTC Magazine. Before entering the world of technology journalism, Jeff worked as a design engineer in the data acquisition market.

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Embedded PCs

by Jeff Child time to read: 2 min