Embedded software is at the heart of industrial automation. As part of the larger system, a single industrial unit can incorporate multiple embedded software solutions to help the unit perform different types of functions.
The software is designed to perform a specific task. For instance, modern transport vehicles contain a variety of embedded systems that help control functions such as antilock brakes, emission control, and audio system. Kiosks software development is another example of embedded software developed to offer fully automated service.
Unlike firmware solutions, which are not easy to modify, the embedded software offers flexibility and customization options to developers. Developers purposely make embedded software less firm so that they can add, upgrade, and modify the software to perform additional functions at any time.
Modern manufacturing plants and production units use a variety of embedded software to maximize efficiency, improve power, and control the process. The customized software help monitor the system in real-time and notify the management if an error occurs. It also helps control critical functions such as line speed and fluid flow rate.
Embedded software is also designed to auto-correct and realign machinery without human interference. Metering application, loop-powered design & development, wireless applications, IoT gateway, and industrial I/O module development are some examples of industrial automation solutions that use embedded software.
Embedded software has become a part of our lives. We use it in automobiles, smartphones, microwaves, traffic lights, and thousands of other things without thinking about their benefits. Here is a brief overview of why these systems are so appealing.
Recent advances in semiconductor and chip technology allow software developers to embed software into tiny mechanical pieces. Embedded software development also benefits from the availability of cheap and durable electronic components. Once the system is in place, it's relatively easy to maintain.
The newer "System on Chip" technology can incorporate all functional elements into a single chip. The ease of installation and management makes this technology a practical choice for almost any kind of machine used in a production plant.
Before deciding on a course of action to automate your manufacturing process, it's important to understand that the development of embedded software is a very specialized task. You can't just ask any software engineer to do it.
The job requires specific knowledge and experience; therefore, choose your software developer wisely. Make sure that the development team has prior experience in implementing such a system because you will need to recall the same team to make changes if the need arises.
Today's embedded systems are immensely powerful. The right balance of power and performance can deliver greater efficiency and better results. You can expect a strong performance from a frugal arm-based system or a complex system that uses AI to boost itself.
Many higher-end systems use Intel® Core™ processors. Some even use the Denverton 16-core microserver processor to deliver optimal results. The strong performance of these embedded systems is directly attributed to the new generation of processor chips. Each new chip offers more per watt than its predecessor. The result is better performance with relatively less power.
New devices such as Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 actively balance power functions, current, and temperature to offer optimal performance. This balancing act ensures maximum efficiency as it offers a burst of speed when speed is needed and increases energy efficiency when heat dissipation is a concern.
Similarly, Intel SpeedStep technology provides a dynamic adjustment of processor voltage and core frequency. Using the technology, you can manage power consumption and thermal output. Since there are a lot of choices in the technology domain, experienced embedded software developers can accurately evaluate the type of the solution required to get maximum output.
Embedded software is relatively cheaper than firmware solutions and full-scale computer systems. Despite the powerful features, the limited functions cost less to design and build. The lower cost is usually associated with the smaller size of the software and its components. Most components are available in the local market, which further reduces overhead.
Processors, ROM, RAM, and microchips also use less power, which means that you're likely to save costs in the long run. Some of these devices use batteries to save energy while other components are built using cheaper and less powerful processors.
If required, you can move the entire frame and install it on a similar system in another location. Cost savings are also reflected in the speed of the system. As there are fewer elements to manage the system, it takes less time to reload compared to the traditional industrial units.
For software engineers, the development of embedded software is full of challenges. These challenges are mainly due to size constraints and the availability of technical expertise. The designer and the client must work together to find an optimal combination of size, performance, and power.
The complicated design relies on the expertise of the system developer. If there is a glitch in the system, you will need someone experienced to handle the problem. Since the system needs specific technical knowledge, it means that you can't train someone to fix the problem. If there is a problem, you must call the system development team to handle the problem.
Due to interconnected devices, each device needs debugging, which is a time-consuming process. It is estimated that developers spend nearly 40% of their time debugging embedded software.
The interconnection may lead to security risk. The risk is alleviated in certain industries such as healthcare, where hackers can expect greater remuneration from cyber hacks. While hacking is not a major concern in industrial setups and production units, hackers can steal important data if the device is wirelessly connected to other sources.
The time-to-market and time-to-revenue indicators are also a concern for embedded software development. Due to the changing technology and availability of new components, your unit can quickly become obsolete and may not offer the desired outcome. It's precisely the reason why many groundbreaking embedded systems did not enter the market.
Despite these drawbacks, embedded software development makes production lines more efficient. If you can get access to a dedicated and experienced developer, you can generate massive revenues with little investment. If you're interested in turn-key embedded software development services, Chetu’s developers are well-known for creating, testing, debugging, and validating solutions for various embedded platforms and architectures.
Chetu, Inc. does not affect the opinion of this article. Any mention of specific names for software, companies or individuals does not constitute an endorsement from either party unless otherwise specified. All case studies and blogs are written with the full cooperation, knowledge and participation of the individuals mentioned. This blog should not be construed as legal advice.
Chetu was incorporated in 2000 and is headquartered in Florida. We deliver World-Class Software Development Solutions serving entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 clients. Our services include process and systems design, package implementation, custom development, business intelligence and reporting, systems integration, as well as testing, maintenance and support. Chetu's expertise spans across the entire IT spectrum.
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