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Data Sensing Solution Targets Smart Factory

Advantech has introduced its EtherIO technology designed to enable real-time sensing for machine automation, predictive maintenance, equipment monitoring and optimization, production traceability, rapid quality feedback, and factory environment monitoring applications. EtherIO is a new Ethernet-based I/O technology developed by Advantech to provide a cost-effective alternative to using fieldbus-based solutions for real-time data collection.


Riding the recent trend towards Industry 4.0 and smart factories, increasing amounts of data are required for real-time monitoring and data analytics to establish intelligent integrated systems that optimize factory operations. But conventional data acquisition technologies and serial polling strategies are inadequate for data collection across distributed or remote topologies, necessitating complex handshaking protocols that hinder real-time performance. To address this issue and facilitate smart factories, Advantech developed EtherIO technology, which not only transforms standard LAN ports into dedicated real-time I/O ports, but also consumes less than 10% of CPU processing resources, allowing users to leverage the computing power of existing systems for real-time I/O. In other words, EtherIO provides an immediate solution that does not require additional expensive infrastructure and can be flexibly integrated with legacy equipment and systems.

Advantech’s embedded automation systems, such as the APAX series devices, can be equipped with EtherIO to establish comprehensive solutions for more effective data collection and processing. For Advantech’s APAX data sensing platform solution, which comprises an APAX-5580 controller, APAX-5402L backplane, and hot-swappable high-density APAX I/O modules, EtherIO technology transforms the I/O hardware into software-based real-time I/O to provide a cross-compatible platform solution for machine automation and smart factory applications. Moreover, EtherIO can support remote virtual COM ports on the same bus to facilitate data collection from serial devices. Advantech’s APAX solution is a single platform that offers integrated control, information processing, and networking functionalities.

EtherIO offers a real-time performance of 1 mS for distributed/remote system topologies and can support up to 768 I/O points. Although most standard Ethernet-based fieldbuses support real-time performance, these technologies are not only expensive, but also far exceed the requirements for real-time data collection. Moreover, EtherIO does not require specific hardware for real-time performance. Users only need to download the EtherIO software driver provided on the Advantech website free of charge to use existing Ethernet ports for real-time data acquisition.

EtherIO provides a comprehensive sensing solution that enables not only data acquisition from sensors, but also serial communication with legacy devices, including programmable logic controllers (PLC), meters, and equipment. In the past, retrieving serial data from device servers necessitated complex programming. By combining these functionalities into a single interface, EtherIO drastically streamlines integration. This architecture software also uses very simple APIs and supports two programming environments for IT and OT users, ensuring convenient and flexible implementation.

Advantech’s EtherIO-Ready Platform offerings:

APAX Series – DIN-Rail Mounted Control IPCs

  • Aimed at smart factory applications
  • Consistent form factor ensures easy cabinet installation and maintenance
  • Expandable via an APAX-5402L backplane with two slots for iDoor modules/SSDs

TPC Series – HMI Automation Panels

  • Aimed at real-time data visualization
  • Ethernet port can be upgraded with EtherIO
  • One system for integrating real-time data collection and visualization
  • Various panel sizes for diverse applications

UNO Series – Embedded Automation IPC Gateways

  • Aimed at gateway applications for industrial IoT
  • Real-time data collection via an Ethernet port (with EtherIO), and big data pre-treatment conducted locally
  • High CP ratio platform with support for diverse interfaces

Advantech’s real-time sensing platforms with EtherIO technology are available for order now.

Advantech |

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Data Sensing Solution Targets Smart Factory

by Circuit Cellar Staff time to read: 2 min