If I want to automate something at home, I can use a Raspberry Pi or Arduino to hookup some sensors and put the business logic on the chip. Internet-of-Things-style, I can even read those sensors on my laptop.

I sincerely hope Raspberries aren't industrially accepted solutions. In the past, I've used a CX9020 to do industrially what I'd do at home with a Raspberry. However, those are fairly expensive, heavy and overly complicated.

What's the industrial equivalent of the Raspberry Pi or Arduino? Something able to withstand industrial (harsh) conditioins and a product owner wouldn't be ashamed to use as an add-on for existing hardware to do the above mentioned.

I've seen the Intel Edison with boards, Beaglebone, the Riotboard, would those fit the bill or are they too 'hackey'?

Note this is not intended as a shopping question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think they generally use equipment that's fairly expensive, heavy, and overly complicated. \$\endgroup\$ – Karl Bielefeldt Apr 3 '15 at 13:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KarlBielefeldt They do, so I might be looking for something not in existence (yet). \$\endgroup\$ – Mast Apr 3 '15 at 13:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Arduino (and probably even raspberry) use automotive (a bit different as industrial, but definitely not commercial grade) grade CPU/MCU. What you are paying so much are CERTIFICATION for the board. \$\endgroup\$ – Lesto Apr 3 '15 at 19:59

Generally something like a PLC (programmable logic controller) that comes with housings, power supplies, is hardened against an industrial environment and will still be serviceable or replaceable in a decade or three.

The costs of downtime, safety issues and engineering time are such that 'toy' devices like the ones you mention would generally hold no attraction in most such applications- the life cycle costs are lower for professional solutions.

That does not mean that there are not plenty of such devices deployed in corporate R&D labs and startups - sometimes it's quite appropriate for hacking together a test or a proof-of-concept, and not every company has the budget to purchase a rack full of equipment to explore a new idea or set up a temporary experiment.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Raspberries shouldn't be used for the same purpose permanently either, but because it's possible people do it anyway. I'm looking for prototyping hardware which would solve the immediate problem and can be used to develop upon while still being 'industry safe'. It's not supposed to be permanent, that would be a very bad idea. \$\endgroup\$ – Mast Apr 3 '15 at 14:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's a variety of stuff but I see those requirements as being conflicting to the extent of mutual exclusivity. For example you can use MATLAB for rapid prototyping with, say, a Rpi, but a commercial seat of the software dwarfs the hardware cost by orders of magnitude. Universities and R&D departments are often feast-famine in funding so they can be a bit schizophrenic in their purchasing. \$\endgroup\$ – Spehro Pefhany Apr 3 '15 at 14:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ I upvoted your answer but to be honest, there's a wide variety of quality of electronics in "industrial" settings. Having seen many off the shelf PC's pressed into service to monitor or control all manner of processes, I wouldn't be too hesitant to put a Pi or a BeagleBone, etc to the same use. I'd be more concerned that I/O was robust, power supply was good quality, input power was filtered, etc than I would be about the actual CPU board itself. \$\endgroup\$ – lyndon Apr 3 '15 at 16:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ AtMega328p are industrial grade, and many PLC use a MCU as core. So Arduino are fine if you use them to fast prototype your own board \$\endgroup\$ – Lesto Apr 3 '15 at 19:57

The thing I look for when developing some kind of microcontroller or CPU board for industrial use is stability and consistency over time. This regardless if this is for a 1000 units a year or just one unit a year. Having that one unit go up in flames and finding out that the board is not manufactured anymore could cause a lot of problems. Using an Arduino or Raspbery Pi you face the problem of surprise board changes that doesn't match your requirements. On most of the projects I've worked the cost of making your own custom board which fits your needs is simply tiny compared with the problems of a bought product that changes every second year or so. The Raspberry Pi for instance use an ARM11 architecture which have been available for lots of years. And the Arduino use an Atmel AVR which been around for at least 10 years. Making a custom PCB, buying the components from a supplier and manufacturing the assembled board could keep you going for a long time without any changes.

That said there are of course companies that make boards that would fit your description of being sort of an Raspberry Pi or Arduino for industrial use. Google: industrial single board computer (or microcontroller) But do note that these manufacturers of course can change their designs too.

Here is a couple of manufacturers or distributors that have been around quite a while: http://www.aaeon.com/en/ http://www2.advantech.com/products/Embedded-Single-Board-Computers/sub_1-2JKJ91.aspx http://www.digi.com/

Some of the processor manufacturers also has reference designs for making your own board: http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/application.jsp?code=APLINDSBC


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