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Arduino, Finder team for AI mini PLC

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By Nick Flaherty


Arduino has launched its first mini programmable logic controller (PLC) for the industrial market, adding machine learning abilities.

The open source hardware developer worked with UK PLC developer Finder on the design of the Opta, which is based on the STM32H747XI dual-core Cortex-M7 and M4 microcontroller from STMicroelectronics

Opta can be used for real-time operations and predictive maintenance using the onboard ART machine learning accelerator to boost local machine learning AI frameworks.

Open source and low cost hardware is increasingly popular for industrial applications, with Kontron launching a PLC based around the Raspberry Pi4 single board computer:  Kontron launches PiXtend PLC with Raspberry Pi 4. Arduino has developed multi-core cards for edge AI applications and recently received $10m backing from Renesas Electronics to boost the industrial engagement.

The Opta PLC supports over the air (OTA) firmware updates and ensures data security from the hardware to the Cloud through M2M communication using an onboard secure element and X.509 Standard compliance.

The launch is intended to open up PLCs to a wider audience through Arduino’s latest generation of IDE2.0 development tools with ready-to-use sketches, tutorials and libraries. There is also support for standard IEC 61131-3 PLC languages including LD (Ladder Logic Diagram) and FBD (Function Block Diagram).

There are three configurations, from the Opta Lite with onboard Ethernet and USB-C programming ports, Opta RS485 which also adds RS485 half duplex connectivity interface, to Opta WiFi (above) that adds WiFi and Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity.

The unit is compatible with a DIN rail for mounting and includes four high power relay switching that each support 2.3 kW.

Opta has a dedicated page and will be available in December 2022.

www.arduino.cc; www.findernet.com

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