Kontron set to launch Raspberry Pi4 system

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By Nick Flaherty

Kontron is launching its Pi-Tron CM4 next month to tap into the Raspberry Pi developer community for industrial designs.

The system is based around the Raspberry Pi CM4 compute module, which has a Broadcom BCM2711 quad ARM Cortex-A72 64bit SoC running at 1.5 GHz, significantly faster than the previous generation. Depending on the version, the board has significantly more working memory and also offers the option of a pre-certified WLAN/Bluetooth connection. For the integration in IoT applications, Pi-Tron CM4 has been designed to use LTE modules with SIM cards and an external antenna connection.

“The demand for Raspberry Pi primarily came from the customers directly, developers especially had a strong interest in these products,” said Holger Wußmann, managing director of Kontron.  “Young developers, in particular, who were already familiar with the Raspberry Pi from their studies, wanted to use it for their product ideas. Raspberry Pi offers a wide range of options for quick implementation. Developers can download the code, experiment and incorporate it into their project.  It is easy to get started with the Raspberry Pi with hardy any hurdles, guaranteeing quick results for the developers. That was also our original motivation for getting involved with the Raspberry Pi.”

One of the key application sis a programmable logic controller using Kontron’s Codesys softeware, which already runs on the previous Pi-Trom 3+. 

“All of the software from the Raspberry Pi community can be used with our Pi-Tron devices, thus on industrial hardware,” he said. “With a large pool of precompiled program packages available, developments no longer have to start from scratch. This saves an enormous amount of time. The Pi-Tron CM4 also only uses components that are supported by the community software. The Pi-Tron CM3+ and Pi-Tron CM4 can have the option to be provided with SoftSPS Codesys software. This makes it possible to develop any application that requires programmable logic control. 

”The Pi-Tron is making its way into automation and is a real PLC alternative with the Codesys software,” he said. “It replaces proprietary controllers and data loggers and can be found in edge gateways and building control systems. With the CM4’s HDMI interface, Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs) can be managed. The Pi-Tron CM4 also has a LVDS interface and can be connected to a wide variety of conventional LVDS displays.

It also sees a role for the CM4+ in artificial intelligence projects. “With the M.2 interface, the Pi-Tron CM4 can be expanded as desired, for example with AI modules,” he said. “Kontron offers the Google Coral chip for this purpose and is working together with the Israeli AI specialist HAILO. Thus, we can build executable AI applications and offer customer-specific developments upon request.

Kontron will also customise the device, starting at batch sizes of 500 pieces. The Pi-Tron CM4+ will launch at Embedded World in Germany next month.

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