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Strategy
22/03/2018

Industrie 4.0 through partnering

MICA - the open platform for new ideas and new requirements
Stephan Fluhrer
Stephan Fluhrer
Business Development Manager IT SD, HARTING IT Software Development

The HARTING MICA (Modular Industry Computing Architecture) has been developed as a platform on which to easily and cost-effectively record, pre-process and transmit data to storage in the industrial environment, i.e. for the rail and building technology sectors.

A platform for hardware and software- The HARTING MICA
Modular Industry Computing Architecture

In its basic version, the MICA design features a processor and an interface module with a Power-Over-Ethernet interface. Digital inputs/outputs are integrated on the interface in order to enable digital signal processing. The existing basic functionality permits users to deploy this hardware for Ethernet-based data analysis.

Modular Industry Computing Architecture. Or MICA, for short.

The MICA is conceived as an open platform, both with regard to hardware and software. This means that partner companies themselves can easily develop the application software, packaged in “software containers”, to handle their respective application requirements. This is facilitated by a large selection of basic containers to which functions for handling data acquisition and pre-processing can be added according to pre-defined specifications.

What’s more, the MICA’s hardware can be tailored to the application as well. Today, a number of partners have already developed function modules serving and controlling applications that are normally associated with high costs in the industrial environment. Whether for wireless data transmission in the LoRa network, as a communication gateway for industrial fieldbuses or for recording energy data in buildings or in the industrial environment, the partner modules for which design data are freely available are truly multifaceted.

The following functional modules, developed with partners, are currently available:

  • MICA USB – For connecting USB devices and data analysis via MICA 
     
  • MICA EtherCAT/Profinet/Ethernet IP – Used to convert industrial networks to Ethernet/TCP 
     
  • MICA Energy – Analysis of energy meters via Modbus/RTU and additional S0 interfaces for polling consumption Meters 
     
  • MICA Terminal – For connecting touch displays, used to directly visualize data and manage applications 
     
  • MICA RFID – For direct connection of RFID antennas and evaluation of data transmitted via RFID
     
  • MICA Reader – For connecting USB cameras to read 1D and 2D codes
     
  • MICA Mobile – For wireless communication via LTE /Wifi /BT LE 
     
  • MICA Wireless Sensor Networks– For connecting sensors via Zigbee/ Mesh communication 

 

Here as well, the design data are freely available to partners. In addition to the large selection of function modules, users also have the ability to pre-process, convert, or integrate complex analysis functions into the MICA.

The MICA Partner-Network

The MICA.network was established as a platform for the exchange of information and the creation of synergies and now boasts more than 40 partner companies. Specialists from the hardware sector, software development, Cloud solutions and providers of turnkey solutions provide mutual project support. Partner events take place several times a year and present news on the topic of the MICA, in addition to discussion of current topics.

New trends easy to implement

The open platform makes it easy to follow the trends in the industrial sector, since each partner is free to incorporate its ideas – spurred by new requirements – into development. The network is constantly growing – and advancing the functionalities of the MICA as well. Here, industry is sounding a clear signal with its requirements for the future. Thanks to its robustness, compactness, modularity and autonomy, the concept of the MICA platform is geared to making production companies fit for the future, even if machines are still running for which the term Industrie 4.0 remains a foreign word.

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