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Industrial Embedded Systems from EKF

Industrial embedded systems play a crucial role in the field of industrial automation. These systems have to be robust, durable and powerful in order to work efficiently in demanding industrial environments. CompactPCI series products and modern BoxPCs play a central role here, as they offer a compact design and high computing power.

In industrial automation, embedded systems are used in various applications such as control and regulation systems, process automation, robotics and machine learning. They enable the precise control of production processes, increase efficiency and contribute to improving the overall performance of production facilities.

Industrial embedded systems are indispensable in the context of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). As edge computers with a cloud connection, they serve as the basis for networked devices and sensors, enable real-time data processing and thus support the intelligent networking of production systems.

EKF Application Overview Website Industrial

Connecting Worlds – Preserve PXIe, enable CompactPCI Serial

PXIe, which supports PCIe, is no longer based on CompactPCI Serial. As a result, developers can no longer realize the advantage of combining both worlds in one system with PXIe-based systems.

With the SRS-8442-SERIAL 19-inch system rack developed by EKF in cooperation with Schroff, a solution platform has now been created that can reconnect both worlds and for which EKF offers numerous CPU assemblies based on 7th and 11th generation Intel Core processors (aka Kaby Lake and Tiger Lake) that support both PXIe and CPCI-Serial.

The EKF system is equipped with two backplanes, on the left for six CompactPCI Serial cards and on the right for seven PXI Express (or CompactPCI Express) cards.


Solutions_Markets_Industrial Automation_Single-Pair-Ethernet_Compilation

The Accelerator of IIoT – Single Pair Ethernet (SPE)

SPE enables the IP-based transmission of data and power over two cables, which simplifies cabling, saves space and facilitates the installation of embedded systems in complex production environments. At the same time, SPE bridges the gap between field level with its analog BUS systems and all systems above that up to cloud connection, by providing a powerful and reliable real-time connection for all parts of the IIoT.

By integrating SPE, companies can optimize their production processes, improve interoperability and drive the introduction of networked and automated systems.

This is why we call SPE the “Accelerator of IIoT” and the reason for our growing SPE family, which we will expand further on different form factors.

EKF Use Cases for Industrial Embedded Systems

Applications in industrial automation are manifold and are based on many years of experience in this sector. This is just a small selection of our previous projects.

PXIe System for Semiconductor Testing

CompactPCI Serial-based Control for Bonding Machines

CompactPCI Serial-based Control Unit for Wafer Production

Embedded Blue Boxed Gateway Retrofit for IIoT Production

Food Packaging QNX-based Control Unit Replacement with CompactPCI Serial

CompactPCI Networking Switch for Bottle Filling Machines

EKF Use Cases Waben_Industrial-Automation

ModBlox7™ – New PICMG BoxPC Standard for IIoT and Smart Factory Solutions

Industrial PCs are used in a wide range of state-of-the-art applications such as industrial automation, AI, IIoT, cloud and edge computing.

Currently there is an almost uncountable number of different manufacturers with equally different products in terms of performance, interfaces, market qualification, and mechanics. 

The ModBlox7 specification combines the advantages of modular systems (e.g. CPCI) with highly integrated BoxPCs.

Based on a modular and flexible IPC system, every functional unit like Power Supply, CPU and I/Os can be a multiple of 7 HP, forming an individual system (up to 12x 7 HP) while using cost-effective standard modules.

The system offers different mounting options like wall, DIN-Rail or 19″ sub-rack and comes with standardized mechanical and electrical interconnection between units.

Requirements for Industrial Embedded Systems

Long-Term Availability

Long-term availability for embedded systems in industrial automation is critical, as these systems are often in operation for many years and an interruption in availability can lead to significant production downtime.

EKF’s Advantage

To extend the life cycle of products and to supply customers for as long as possible with the same products, we are partners of major suppliers in the Embedded market, offering a roadmap with long-term available embedded and industrial components.

According to our life cycle policy, we will never discontinue products based on economical reasons. Our products will continue to be offered as long as we can obtain obsolete components from reputable sources at a comparable quality and price point.

Planning even further, we work on a case by case basis to store obsolete components long time to be able to produce more products when needed. EKF owns all rights to its designs and operates its own production line, giving us independence and complete control over the process.

Easy Maintainability

Easy access to components and clear documentation speeds up troubleshooting, which in turn increases the overall efficiency of production facilities. Effective maintainability enables engineers and technicians to quickly diagnose and fix problems, which reduces operating costs and improves plant availability.

EKF’s Advantage

EKF is always trying to use as many standard components and form factors as possible, resulting in lower maintenance efforts, as we use common markets screws, connectors, dimensions, design rules, etc. This way, also retrofit projects can be easily done.

Our strong focus on CompactPCI and CompactPCI Serial solutions emphasizes this approach, as CompactPCI itself stands for easy maintainability and scalability by just exchanging single cards in one system.


Embedded systems in industrial automation are subject to particular price pressure. Companies have to operate cost-efficiently and optimize their production processes in order to remain competitive. At the same time, the demand for advanced functions and technologies is increasing, resulting in the challenge of developing cost-effective embedded systems that are still powerful and reliable.

EKF’s Advantage

EKFs product portfolio covers the entire spectrum of possible customers’ demands in regards of power, flexibility and price.

CompactPCI and CompactPCI Serial are the right choice for all systems which need high performance capabilities and the highest grade of flexibility and scalability during project time. Many of our system solutions are running up to 20 years without major changes, except for updates with the latest CPU performance or connector types.

If modularity is required but price is a concern, we provide our newly standardized ModBlox7 series. With this solution, you can handle mid-range power and computing solutions, for e.g. edge computing or boxed solutions for IIoT and still have supplier independence, as the modules from different suppliers are compatible and can be assembled into one system.

For smaller computing demands and very price sensitive applications, we offer the EKF-developed Embedded Blue®/Gold series, which is absolutely capable of competing with the ModBlox7 solutions in terms of power and functionality. These come as application-ready or turnkey systems, with dedicated functionality, resulting in a very competitive price.

To enhance the portfolios’ advantages even more, we use our most successful core designs on several form factors, resulting in considerable cost savings during development, which we are able to pass on to our customers.

How can we help you?

As these are just examples, you may ask yourself if your requirement would be a good fit with our set of competencies?

Simply get in touch and find out what is possible for your specific project! EKF sees itself as a partner at the round desk. We work in collaboration with clients to create the optimal solution for the particular application.

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