KINGSTAR Announces 4.0 Release
KINGSTAR Announces 4.0 Release Available October 26, 2020
Waltham, MA – KINGSTAR, a division of IntervalZero, today announced the general availability launch of KINGSTAR 4.0. KINGSTAR is an all-software, complete “plug-and-play” PC-based Machine Automation platform and it offers the most open approach for building smart machine controllers that can deliver on the promise Industry 4.0 & IoT. With this most recent release, KINGSTAR 4.0 significantly simplifies the ability to integrate multiple controllers onto a single standard Industrial PC (IPC) while also allowing the controllers to benefit from all the productivity and the usability benefits of the Microsoft Windows environment.
KINGSTAR Machine Automation Software dramatically reduces machine controller bill-of-material and assembly costs by replacing proprietary hardware components in machine controllers with a software-only machine control software that executes on a single IPC. The software-only Machine Automation approach delivers on the promise of Industry 4.0 by offering the vital combined features of world-class motion control algorithms and machine automation, system-wide controller integration tools, information sharing & artificial intelligence (AI) consuming capability, and smart edge IoT enablement.
Being open means the KINGSTAR is committed to supporting open standards such as Windows, EtherCAT, IEC61131-3, OPC-UA, and TSN, which protects customers investment best. Notably, the KINGSTAR Machine Automation Software is the only solution that supports Plug-n-Play EtherCAT – a feature which truly enables the customer to optimize their machine controller for any smart factory setting and frees the machine builder from drive or I/O vendor lock-in. Additionally, unlike other software-based controllers in the industry, KINGSTAR allows third party IoT software – like Microsoft Power BI – to run on the machine controller and thus enables it to become a smart edge controller.
Built on the EtherCAT standard and RTX64 from IntervalZero, which transforms Microsoft Windows into a Real Time Operating System (RTOS), KINGSTAR 4.0 empowers engineers to design, develop, integrate, and deploy one or more machine control applications on a single Industrial PC. Key industrial machine components include software-based motion control, machine vision, programmable logic controller (PLC) and EtherCAT master that auto-discovers any vendor’s EtherCAT drive, IO or device and auto-configures the EtherCAT environment at startup.
To meet the IoT demands of the market, machine builders are increasingly required to integrate their machine controllers with other controllers in a work-cell setting, to support concurrent real-time network connectivity like EtherCAT and GigE Vision, to connect to the cloud via OPC-UA in order to capitalize on AI (artificial intelligence), and to simplify the machine user experience to make it more intuitive. “KINGSTAR 4.0 directly addresses key emerging challenges that machine builders face when their engineers add machine automation functionality that supports Industry 4.0 requirement,” said Jeff Hibbard, CEO of IntervalZero.
KINGSTAR version 4.0 has been architected to allow developers to select only the functionality they need for the scope of their project and to quickly assemble the system by relying on its plug-n-play capability. EtherCAT now serves as the foundation for KINGSTAR and release 4.0 rounds out many features that the market seeks. In some cases, engineers may simply require the EtherCAT fieldbus, while other projects may require a software PLC to serve as state machine functionality between multiple controllers. KINGSTAR’s flexibility is provided through feature packages allowing engineers to expand their own product features at any time by adding functionality to the existing KINGSTAR Fieldbus Runtime.
The key features in the KINGSTAR 4.0 release are:
- Adds support for multiple EtherCAT master instances, allowing one master per KINGSTAR core
- Adds support for EtherCAT-based Hot-Connect which allows devices to be added to the EtherCAT network while a machine is running
- Adds support for Safety over EtherCAT (FSoE)
- Adds support for multi-packet EtherCAT data. Large EtherCAT data packets that exceed packet limits are broken down into multiple packets to be sent over separate transmissions
- Modifies the way commanded values and position values work to adhere to the PLCopen specifications
- Creates Motion Control packaging for Point-to-point, Synchronization, and Blending
KINGSTAR, a division of IntervalZero, is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, and has offices in Nice, France; Munich, Germany; Puna, India; and Taipei City, Taiwan. The company is a member of the EtherCAT Technology Group, PLCopen, OPC Foundation, Can in Automation (CiA), Mechatrolink Association, Intel Embedded Alliance, and Microsoft Embedded Partner. IntervalZero’s customer-centered philosophy combined with more than three decades of embedded software innovation and the proven value of its RTX/TX64 hard real-time software has enabled the company to build a global customer base of market-leading OEMs and end-users in Industrial Automation, Medical Systems, Digital Media, Test & Measurement, Military & Aerospace, and other industries.
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