Rapid expansion of embedded systems helps manufacturing

Time-efficient design, greater energy efficiency, and higher machine vision performance are among embedded system advances that help manufacturing and other markets, said the National Instruments Embedded System Outlook 2013.


National Instruments Embedded System Outlook 2013 cites sources inside NI and beyond, including this IMS Research (IHS) report projecting a jump in embedded vision growth from 196 million units in 2014 to 690 million in 2016, up from just 56 million in 20Embedded systems are providing significant benefits in various markets, such as more time-efficient design, greater energy efficiency, and higher machine vision performance, according to the National Instruments Embedded System Outlook 2013.

Reconfigurable heterogeneous architectures can help because when faster CPU cores fall short, embedded system designers can combine heterogeneous processing elements to meet advanced embedded control and monitoring application needs. Also, through the democratization of embedded system design, many design teams are abandoning larger specialized organizational structures for smaller groups focused on translating domain expertise into realized innovation, NI said.

More companies are adopting a comprehensive approach that considers cost-benefit analysis as well as factors such as flexibility and risk, NI said. A digital energy revolution, driven by advancement of digital technologies, is changing the way energy is manipulated, moved, and stored.

Visual data, machine vision

For embedded vision technology, the incorporation of visual data is taking embedded systems to new levels of performance, NI said. Further, on the expansion of machine vision for industrial automation, the report says, in part:

“Machine vision in manufacturing has long been used in industrial automation systems to improve production quality and throughput by replacing the manual inspection traditionally conducted by humans. What’s new is the integration of imaging technologies and motion systems to create higher performance manufacturing machines. Image data can now be processed fast enough to calculate motion setpoints, and machine builders are now considering ‘visual servoing’ as a new approach to increasing the performance of their automation machines.

“In semiconductor wafer processing, for example, a common source of quality issues is minor twists or offsets that occur as freshly cut chips are handled through the manufacturing process. New generations of wafer processing machines are incorporating embedded vision to increase the intelligence of their motion systems, which is leading to dramatic increases in manufacturing yields. Using image data, these machines can accurately determine the exact orientation of a chip and compensate for deviations. They can also use the same image to inspect for defects and reject parts long before the end of the line.”

In the introduction of the 16-page National Instruments Embedded System Outlook 2013, Dr. James Truchard, NI president, CEO, and cofounder, said, “At National Instruments, our vision is to offer a standard integrated hardware and software platform that is widely accessible to domain experts and embedded system experts alike, and that accelerates the prototyping and design of any system requiring measurement or control.”

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com.



See trends highlighted in last year’s NI embedded systems report.

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