ELMA beats EUR 1,000 price mark with blu!eco

MicroTCA: Switching from industrial PCs and Single Board Computers pays off

ELMA?s new blu!eco solution considerably reduces the basic system costs for MicroTCA thanks to the intelligent features integrated onto the backplane
(PresseBox) ( Pforzheim, )
Up to now, relatively high system costs have prevented the widespread industrial use of MicroTCA technology. Many of the off-the-shelf functions are specifically designed for telecommunication applications and are not always required in this "rigorous form". The downsizing of these functions lowers costs and facilitates a wide range of industrial applications that previously ran on industrial PCs and single-board computers.

A significant savings potential is generated, for example, when the MicroTCA power module, whose management tasks make this a very costly component, is replaced with an ATX power supply. This is precisely what ELMA's new blu!eco basic system does. As one of the leading specialists in this area, ELMA has integrated the management functions of the power module onto the backplane. The active backplane thus plays a substantial role in reducing system costs and the advantages of forward-looking MicroTCA technology can now be used economically for a variety of automation tasks.

blu!eco is fully compatible with MicroTCA specifications. The system platform was tested with all current MCHs and various AMCs at the Interoperability Workshop, which took place at the end of September 2008 in Straubenhardt, Germany. blu!eco successfully passed all the tests. blu!eco uses a tried-and-tested, pluggable ATX power supply with +12 V/300 W. The IPMI "intelligence" for the voltage supply, hot-swap functionality and fan controller are, on the other hand, all integrated onto the backplane. The +3.3 V (management power), which is essential for MicroTCA modules and is only required with low outputs, is also generated here.

This leads to even further cost savings as the ATX power supply only needs to generate +12 V. A high level of protection against electrical surges and start-up peaks is also ensured. This degree of protection is by no means offered by all the other available systems on the market.

In order to make it possible to allocate mass storage devices to one or more CPUs, ELMA's specialists have integrated SATA connections and PCIe links onto the backplane. This also facilitates fast and direct communication via the MCH. The backplane is based on a single-star topology, features MicroTCA connectors of a particularly high quality and is optimised for high-speed routing.
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