Linux for the Industry 4.0 era: new distro for factory automation

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29 November 2017

NXP Semiconductors, a global provider of secure connectivity solutions, has announced a Linux distribution that is intended to support factory automation. Called Open Industrial Linux (OpenIL), it is promising true industrial-grade security based on trusted computing, hardened software, cryptographic operations and end-to-end security.

The fact that factory managers and industrial equipment manufacturers are turning to Linux is not surprising considering its operational stability, professional approach to system security, and its obvious low cost of ownership. The importance of the security and reliability of manufacturing security to the well being of any industrial nation is clear from the focus that DHS places on this sector.

OpenIL is helping to usher in a new trend in smart factory automation referred to as Industry 4.0. This “smart factory” vision was initiated in Germany and provides features such as high flexibility, self-optimisation, self-configuration, self-diagnosis, and intelligent worker support.

What is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 provides a focus on:

  • Interoperability — communicating through the Internet of Things (IoT) or Internet of People (IoP)
  • Information transparency — enriching digital plant models with sensor data
  • Technical assistance — helping people by aggregating and providing visualization of information and supporting their decisions
  • Decentralised decisions — the ability of cyber systems to make some decisions on their own and to perform tasks autonomously
  • OpenIL includes real-time OS extensions and TSL (time-sensitive networking) support. It also makes it easy for OEMs to add their own software through the Linux file system.

OpenIL features
OpenIL includes the following:

  • Xenomai — a real-time framework for Linux
  • XML and NETCONF network configuration utilities
  • Precision time synchronisation using gPTP
  • Ethernet drivers for time-sensitive networking
  • Support for edge computing services

There is more about OpenIL on the maker’s web site, including a source download to get started as a contributor. Check out NXP Semiconductors NV for more information on that company’s activities and its support for this critical step forward in factory automation and security.


IDG News Service

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