GE Fanuc Showcases PICMG 2.16 Solutions, Embedded Ethernet, COTS

6/5/2003 - GE Fanuc Automation Americas, Inc., an affiliate of GE Industrial Systems, demonstrated new capabilities based on the PICMG 2.16 specification, or the CompactPCI® Packet Switching Backplane (cPSB) - during the SUPERCOMM 2003 Exposition in Atlanta, June 3-5, Booth #22861. The new PICMG 2.16-compliant capabilities offer the robustness, reliability and hot-swap features of CompactPCI required in today's communications market. The system demonstration included processor server blades based on Intel®, MIPSTM and PowerPC® technology with embedded Ethernet switch products and software management via the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI).

In addition to demonstrating PICMG 2.16 compliance, GE Fanuc also validated the benefits of open-architecture Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) technology when showing the new capabilities. Three engineering groups - including GE Fanuc in Huntsville, Ala., and Ventura, Calif., as well as APW - provided products for the demonstration in compliance with specifications detailed by the PCI Industrial Computer Manufactures Group, PICMG®. The COTS technology enabled easy integration, decreased design time, and reduced costs.

The core of the demonstration is server blade technology, based on MIPS, PowerPC and Intel processors. The MIPS server blade is the CP723. Based on the Broadcom 1250 Dual MIPS CPU, this is one of the most powerful server blades available, with speeds running up to 1 GHz depending on the CPU variant. The CP723 is ideally suited for applications requiring high throughput for the Gigabit Ethernet ports approaching true "wirespeed" (1000Mb/sec input and output data rate). By utilizing the dual MIPS processors, one can be used to off-load the TCP/IP protocol stack and drive a Gigabit Ethernet stream while the other can run the application itself.

The CP721 PowerPC Blade addresses the lower end of the Server Blade requirements and is a cost effective solution for applications requiring less throughput. Based on IBM's recently introduced 440GX processor, it is still capable of running from 500 to 667 MHz and, with IBM's new expanded Ethernet Controller, still supports up to 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports routed to the rear I/O, compliant to the PICMG 2.16 specification.

To complete the spectrum, the Intel option is provided via the GE Fanuc VMICPCI-7761 supporting a Pentium® III processor running at 800 or 933 Mhz with up to 1Gbyte SDRAM and dual 10/100/1000 BaseT Ethernet ports. Using Windows® and Linux operating systems, this platform provides the base for running applications currently supported on bulky rackmount boxes.

The blades converse over the packet switched back plane via the embedded switch in the fabric slot (according to the specification, a CPCI chassis supports one or two fabric slots). The embedded switching capabilities in this configuration are supplied by means of the CP920, the industry's first 24-port, all-Gigabit Ethernet switching platform to support Layer 3 (IP-aware) switching.

Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) version 1.5 provides system management and runs on all the blades and switches within the system. The IPMI provides monitoring of devices, fault and failure handling and status control. All the hardware platforms within the system are fully hot swappable in compliance with the CPCI specification, rendering the overall system platform ideal for applications requiring high availability / fault tolerant capabilities.

GE Fanuc is working on the next generation of this switching standard and actively taking part in the consortiums steering and defining the AdvancedTCATM specification. The AdvancedTCA Specification 3.1 for Switched Fabric Ethernet is still under review within the PICMG committee but already in its final stages of completion.

About GE Fanuc Automation
GE Fanuc Automation Americas, Inc., is a leading global supplier of automation solutions and is a joint venture between GE and FANUC LTD of Japan. GE Fanuc products and services include collaborative production management, HMI/SCADA and plant intelligence software; nano to high-end controllers; embedded systems; a wide range of CNCs; motion control; operator interfaces; industrial computers; lasers; and integration and customer support services. Headquartered in Charlottesville, Va., GE Fanuc is part of GE Industrial Systems. For more information, visit

About GE Industrial Systems
Since the founding of the General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) by Thomas Edison in 1882, GE Industrial Systems has been known for technical innovation. GE Industrial Systems has over 7,600 U.S. and foreign patents on products that help provide peace of mind for people, the properties they own and their workplaces. In 2001 alone, GE Industrial Systems filed more than 200 US and 340 foreign patent applications.

GE Industrial Systems spans the globe as an industry leader in integrated industrial, electrical and security equipment, systems and services. The business brings to customers the latest technologies that are used to distribute, protect and control energy and equipment, and to provide premise management. GE provides innovative product and service solutions for commercial, industrial, residential and utility customers. For more information visit the website at:

For more information, visit or contact: GE Fanuc Automation, Embedded Systems, 12090 S. Memorial Pkwy, Huntsville, AL 35803, Phone: (800) 322-3616, Fax: (256) 882-0859, e-mail:

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