Kontron Creates MicroClients/Thin Clients Around ETX Standard

9/30/2005 - Kontron’s new fanless display and operator terminals can now be used in even more applications thanks to a new hardware and software design. Whether they are used as thin clients, web clients, operator terminals or controllers, these thin HMI (Human-Machine Interface) systems enable diverse requirements to be met quickly and cheaply. The robust HMI systems are available with 8.4”, 10.4” and 12.1” resistive touchscreens.

Designed to meet the performance requirements of visualization and communications over ethernet, the M@C84, M@C104 and M@C121 MicroClients have high-performance ETX-based STPC Vega 200MHz x86 CPU modules that can be scaled inexpensively to meet changing performance needs. The innovative fanless cooling concept allows for a compact, space-saving system that has an overall depth of < 50 mm.

All MicroClients from the new product line have IP65 protection on the front. With an input voltage of 24 V DC, they are particularly well suited to industrial and machine internal electrical networks. Embedded operating systems are loaded onto CompactFlash. 1 x RS232, 2 x USB and LAN are available to enable connection of peripherals or for servicing.

The MicroClients can optionally be equipped with a CAN interface and battery-buffered SRAM. The shallow installation depth of < 50 mm and low power consumption, in conjunction with low heat dissipation, make the new MicroClients ideal for use in mobile battery-operated applications such as mobile infotainment systems. Other possible applications include building management systems, vehicle engineering, machine and system manufacturing, medical technology and transportation.

MicroClients or thin clients used as web-based display and operator panels with all the applicationprograms running on a central web server are very low-maintenance and also highly flexible. The advantages of this thin client architecture include centralized administration and software maintenance, maximum data security through centralized data storage and backup, and high reliability and availability (high MTBF values) through the elimination of rotating mass storage devices and fans, which reduces the total cost of ownership to the minimum.

Windows CE.net, Windows XP Embedded and Embedded Linux are available as standard. Kontron has extensive software expertise and can customize or extend the software support package according to customers’ specifications. Numerous standard protocols, including http, XML and RDP, are already included. Additionally, integration of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and a browser that starts in kiosk mode to run Java applets has already been developed.

Shock and vibration resistance, thermal stability and compliance with the strictest EMC standards are standard features of the MicroClients. Long-term availability of the components used is key in ensuring long product life cycles, which are of particular interest to machine and system manufacturers. By developing all the essential components in house, including the housing technology and the associated temperature management and EMC measures, Kontron can guarantee an availability of at least 5 years for all of its HMIs.

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