Automating Mass Production with Industrial Edge Computing

Thanks to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), manufacturers have gained unprecedented visibility into their operations. This access to data has unlocked new cost efficiencies and workflows, streamlined management, and enhanced product quality.

Now, manufacturers are looking to automate even more of their mass production, using AI to enable techniques like predictive maintenance and enhanced quality control. To do so, manufacturers are turning to edge computing, which pushes high-performance data processing and high-bandwidth networks deeper into their factories. 

For OEMs, ODMs, and systems integrators looking to serve this market, the question is how to best deliver industrial edge solutions. On one hand, the market is growing rapidly, motivating the use of off-the-shelf solutions that minimize development time. On the other hand, the diversity of use cases - which include motion control, vision systems, process control, and many more - demands a versatile approach. 

The advantages of SBCs for industrial edge applications 

One way to balance these requirements is through the use of single-board computers (SBCs) paired with IoT infrastructure platforms. As the name suggests, SBCs consolidate all the functionality of a computer onto a single printed circuit board that is integrated within a machine. Because of their streamlined architecture, SBCs lend themselves to a faster development process and a lower design investment relative to a typical full custom design endeavor. The SBC is a fully designed and verified computing engine ready for incorporation into a product under development. 

The highly integrated nature of SBCs also enables solutions that are smaller, less expensive, and less power-hungry. These attributes are particularly attractive for space-constrained applications with limited cooling options. SBCs also tend to be more durable, as fewer components means fewer potential points of failure. 

The SECO SBC-3.5-TGL-UP3 exemplifies these advantages. This 3.5-inch SBC is ready to tackle demanding manufacturing workloads like such as predictive maintenance, automated product quality assurance, computer vision, and inventory tracking with CPU options from quad-core 11th-gen Intel® Core™ processors down to dual-core Intel® Celeron® processors (Codename: Tiger Lake-UP3). It supports up to four independent displays and extensive video functionality through its Intel Iris XE® architecture, and is available in industrial temperature range for added durability.  

The SBC also delivers remarkable flexibility. Built-in connectivity like Gigabit Ethernet, USB, and HDMI give it the diverse capabilities needed for automated mass production. And the SBC incorporates two M.2 expansion slots for easy addition of extra features, including wireless networking. It also includes serial ports and general purpose input/output (GPIO) signals for integration with industrial peripherals and sensors. 

Enhancing productivity from assembly line to edge 

The SBC-3.5-TGL-UP3 also comes with access to SECO’s Clea IoT software suite. Designed to streamline and expedite edge computing implementations, Clea offers seamless data orchestration, an intuitive device manager, a comprehensive management portal and a flexible, customizable edge OS. Now you can quickly develop applications like: 

  • Predictive Maintenance: Analyze sensor data for proactive maintenance, preventing costly downtime and maximizing production efficiency. 
  • Process Optimization: Automatically recommend adjustments to machine settings, resource allocation, and workflow for optimal performance. 
  • Enhanced Quality Control: Leverages AI to minimize defective products and ensure consistent quality. 
  • Remote Monitoring and Control: Enable real-time troubleshooting for faster support responses and improved operational efficiency. 

SECO provides Edgehog OS, an IoT-ready Linux release based on Yocto Linux that integrates IoT capabilities. In short, Edgehog OS allows a developer to focus on implementing the end application, with IoT library porting and integration already complete and ready for use. 

Industrial automation at scale 

With its power-efficient performance, low design cost, and small form factor, the SBC-3.5-TGL-UP3 provides companies targeting automated mass production a smart way to meet manufacturers’ needs. The SBC’s versatility makes it ready to take on all sorts of applications, wherever the market heads next.  

Want to keep up with the changing landscape of computing for manufacturing? Contact us today to learn how we can help you embrace Industry 4.0 and beyond.