Designing a new generation of smart, connected and secure industrial devices is no longer difficult

To keep pace with the rapid development of Industry 4.0, IIoT system developers need to rely ON smart, secure, and connected devices to automate factories and buildings. In particular, motors are the cornerstone of today’s factories and automation processes, and motor control equipment has become an important segment of the automation market.

Author: Felipe Fernandez

Designing a new generation of smart, connected and secure industrial devices is no longer difficult

To keep pace with the rapid development of Industry 4.0, IIoT system developers need to rely on smart, secure, and connected devices to automate factories and buildings. In particular, motors are the cornerstone of today’s factories and automation processes, and motor control equipment has become an important segment of the automation market.

Multi-axis industrial drives, Ethernet-based Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) communications and Industrial Automation Control System (IACS) security are key technologies for automation applications. These industrial applications have complex motor drive, communication and safety requirements, and application development can be difficult without an optimized processing platform. Intelligent Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) systems must communicate, share data and interact with users and other devices, and handle all of these tasks securely.

To address the needs of these Industry 4.0 applications, NXP has announced the i.MX RT industrial driver development platform, which enables system designers to develop and test industrial use cases on a single, comprehensive platform, accelerating time to market while using secure designs method. NXP’s i.MX RT industrial drive development platform provides a comprehensive modular solution that brings together key technologies that will redefine the next generation of secure IIoT devices and drive the transition to a truly smart factory.

Electric motors – the cornerstone of smart factory and building automation applications. Use the flexible and modular platform on your next project.

Designed to simplify IIoT development, the platform supports multi-axis motor control, deterministic TSN communication, human-machine interface (HMI), machine-to-machine (M2M) interfaces, and the cyber-resilient industrial security required by Industry 4.0. Target applications include robotic arms, mobile industrial robots, 3D printers, motor drives, multi-axis machinery, and AC and servo drives. While the platform is optimized for industrial applications, it can also be used in building automation (such as HVAC and elevator/escalator motor control), as well as consumer applications (such as white goods, i.e. large appliances with motors, including refrigerators, washing machines, etc.) and dryer).

Introduction to i.MX RT Industrial Driver Development Platform

NXP integrates the latest Industry 4.0 technologies into a comprehensive hardware and software platform to help develop smart and secure Industrial IoT applications. The flexible and modular i.MX RT industrial drive development platform supports multi-motor control and deterministic TSN communication, while providing a solid foundation for standards-compliant industrial cybersecurity. The platform hardware relies on the i.MX RT1170 crossover MCU family and EdgeLock® SE05x Secure Element Build.

Utilizing the 800 MHz performance of the industrial-grade i.MX RT1170 crossover MCU, the ability of the i.MX RT1170 MCU to control 4 permanent magnet synchronous motors (PMSM) simultaneously is demonstrated. In addition to handling advanced motor control algorithms, the i.MX RT1170 device has spare bandwidth to support displays, deterministic Ethernet TSN, data logging, fault detection, and security methods certified to ISA/IEC 62443-4 SL3 standard. Together with the onboard EdgeLock SE05x secure element, the platform provides a ready-to-use multi-board solution that speeds evaluation and validation for today’s industrial applications.

Flexible Multiple Board Approach

The industrial driver development platform consists of three main boards: a daughter card that integrates a single i.MX RT1170 crossover MCU device, a digital board that serves as a daughter card expansion peripheral board, and can handle 200W output power to control sensors and sensors. A power stage board for a sensorless motor. Depending on the application specification, developers can add 1 to 4 power stage boards to the system, which provides greater flexibility for unique design requirements.

Designing a new generation of smart, connected and secure industrial devices is no longer difficult
i.MX RT industrial driver development platform

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key features and capabilities that can be explored using this development platform:

Multi-axis motor control

The typical approach taken by multi-axis systems on the factory floor is to use multiple single-motor drives connected by a real-time communication protocol. The latest platforms offer a more efficient approach for multi-axis applications. Controlling 4 motors with a single MCU device helps reduce the number of drives, cables and network components required for factory automation applications. This platform demonstrates and guides how to use MCU peripherals and gate drivers for single, dual, triple or quad motor control.

Industrial Deterministic Communication

Today, it is very rare for industrial equipment to be deployed in standalone mode (ie not connected to a network). Deterministic communication is essential to support the evolution to Industry 4.0, and Ethernet TSN is becoming the backbone of this communication. For end node devices, especially those controlling actuators such as motors, supporting TSN and integrating seamlessly with operational technology (OT) networks is a key requirement.

Troubleshooting

Every industrial device in the field should be able to detect and react to various system failures. From current spikes, abnormal voltages, high temperatures, or external signals from other sensors, these devices must be able to enter a fail-safe mode until the fault is eliminated. This capability is included in the Industrial Drive Development Platform, which takes advantage of immediate interrupt servicing in its comprehensive software architecture.

data record

Production data, user access, alarms, errors and failures are important for monitoring, analyzing and auditing the normal operation of a plant or building. Comprehensive logging is a key capability for field engineers who need to determine how to keep industrial systems at their best. This industry-driven development platform can provide developers with a reference point to design and integrate their own data logging subsystems in IIoT devices.

Remote monitoring

The IoT revolution has brought us hyper-connected homes, buildings and factories. From full “digital twins” to SCADA systems, most of the data transmitted has monitoring purposes. These examples can only be achieved by ensuring reliable remote monitoring of IoT devices in the field. The i.MX RT industrial driver development platform guides developers on how to establish a secure channel between end devices and monitoring systems such as laptops, servers or other field devices.

Secure User Interaction

Industrial equipment can only interact with trusted users or other equipment. This industry-driven development platform leverages NXP’s design security approach to implement the security policies required in factories that manage critical infrastructure. This platform supports trusted user and machine-to-machine interactions only after proper authentication and verification. The platform demonstrates how designers can leverage the credential assignment feature to enable this functionality.

Industrial security with cyber resilience

While preparing for a cyber-physical attack is a necessary strategy, it is also necessary to understand that if the attack is successful, the affected IIoT device can be restored to a previously trusted state. This is the principle of cyber resilience. This industrial-driven development platform integrates an embedded EdgeLock SE05x secure element, enabling a device to detect if it has been compromised (e.g., malicious code injection), and then automatically boot into a trusted image, ensuring removal of untrusted code for cyber resilience.

ISA/IEC 62443-4 reference

The i.MX RT industrial drive development platform provides meaningful guidance and supporting information to help developers easily complete the industrial safety certification process with NXP products. While the platform provides a valuable reference for ISA/IEC 62443-4-1/2 compliance, it currently does not grant automatic certification to its final product. NXP plans to achieve IEC 62443-4-1/2 certification for the platform by the end of 2022.

Designing a new generation of smart, connected and secure industrial devices is no longer difficult
i.MX RT industrial driver development platform system diagram

Core Platform Technology

The i.MX RT industrial-driven development platform provides developers with the essential technologies needed to create smart, secure and connected industrial devices. The development board supports the following NXP technologies:

• i.MX RT1170 Crossover MCU Family: This MCU family is part of the EdgeVerse™ edge computing platform, which incorporates Arm® Cortex®– Dual-core architecture of M7 and Cortex-M4 cores with real-time capabilities and excellent MCU usability at a cost-effective price.
• NAFE’s next-generation analog front-end (AFE) platform with software-configurable analog inputs for high-accuracy data acquisition and condition monitoring systems
• PF5020: Multi-channel PMIC designed for high-performance industrial and automotive applications with integrated functional safety options.
• GD3000: Field Effect Transistor (FET) pre-driver designed for 3-phase 12-48V motor control.
• TJA115x: CAN transceivers with hardware firewall, intrusion detection, and intrusion prevention support provide a hardware-based, non-encrypted foundation for layered security on CAN networks.
• TJA146x: CAN signal boosting transceivers with standby mode for CAN FD communication at 5 Mbps.
• PN7462 NFC Reader: The NFC Cortex-M0 is a versatile all-in-one MCU with optional contact interface for access control.
• EdgeLock SE05x: Certified EdgeLock Secure Element family with extended encryption for multi-industry IoT use cases.

Simplify the industrial design process

In the second half of this year, NXP will launch industrial driver development boards and sell them through NXP distribution channels. This application package includes sample code and design files, as well as comprehensive technical documentation.

For more details on the i.MX RT industrial drive development platform, visit nxp.com/iMXRTIndustrialDrive

author:

Designing a new generation of smart, connected and secure industrial devices is no longer difficult
Felipe Fernandez
NXP Semiconductors Business Development Specialist

Felipe Fernández is a Business Development Specialist at NXP’s Industrial Systems Innovation Group in Hamburg, Germany. He has 10 years of experience in cybersecurity and factory automation, having worked in various regions including Latin America and Europe. He holds a master’s and a bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics Engineering, as well as an MBA from the Nord Institute of Technology and Management. Follow him on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/jfelipefg.