Redundant CompactPCI PlusIO SBC from MEN Micro Offers Safe Computing for Railway Operations
Three Intel processors and safe QNX OS contribute to SIL 4 certification
BLUE BELL, Pa. July 2014 – MEN Micro Inc., a world-renowned provider of embedded computing and I/O solutions for mission-critical industrial, mobile and harsh environment applications, now offers a SIL 4 certified, redundant CompactPCI PlusIO SBC for the safe operating systems required in railway applications. Incorporating three Intel Atom processors and a safe QNX operating system, the new COTS-based F75P provides onboard functional safety.
With both fail-safe and fail-silent architectures, the rugged SBC ensures safe computing during normal operation as well as when potential failures or faulty data are present. In fail-safe operations, the system shuts down completely if an error is detected, whereas it will still run, just not transmit incorrect data, for fail-silent operations.
The F75P’s SIL 4 certification package, developed according to EN 5012x, reduces risks, time to market and NRE (non-recurring engineering) costs for designers employing the rugged SBC. Each package contains a user safety guide, safety case, an assessment report and certificate from TUV SUD, the German Technical Inspection Agency. Customer support is also included in the certification package.
Two independent Intel processors on the F75P offer redundant control, running the safe QNX BSP (board support package) with supervisory units to monitor environmental factors. For example, should the board exceed the maximum operating temperature, the system is put into a safe state.
Implemented at the top most protocol layer, commonly called the black channel, the third Intel processor controls the I/O without interfacing with any safety protocols. This enables reliable transmission of commands from the two control CPUs to the interfaces across an internal, FPGA-based Ethernet link. System safety data is kept independent of the communication channel.
Standard front I/O on the third processor includes a VGA, two fast Ethernet and two USB interfaces. One PCI Express and one SATA port as well as four USB and two Fast Ethernet interfaces are found at the rear.
All three processors are based on the Intel Atom E6xx family, and operate at up to 1.6 GHz. Each of the two control CPUs offers independent 512 MB of DDR2 RAM memory. The I/O processor offers 1 GB of DDR2 as well as 8 kb of non-volatile FRAM for logging system events, such as reset, over and under voltage as well as excessive temperatures.
With its CPU redundancy and flexible I/O, the compact, low-power F75P can replace multiprocessing systems, saving development costs as well as space and weight.
Two of the SBCs can be clustered within a system for increased availability options providing hot and cold standby.
Based on the CompactPCI PlusIO architecture, the F75P serves as a bridge between legacy CompactPCI systems and newer, serial-based ones.
The F75P operates from -40°C to +85°C with qualified components and offers conformal coating for use in rugged environments.
- SIL 4 certification package reduces NRE, risks and time to market
- Three Intel processors and QNX OS for safe, redundant operation
- Rugged SBC operates reliably in railway applications
- Fail-safe and fail-silent architectures
- -40°C to +85°C operation