Keeping workers and assets safe and operational

Mentor Graphics’ mixed safety-critical industrial automation systems comes with ARM TrustZone technology

Smart connected devices and the technological advancements enabled by today’s heterogeneous multicore system-on-chip (SoC)architectures are rapidly changing the industrial automation industry. These advancements reduce operational costs by converging multiple discrete functions into a singleSoC, enabling more cost-effective Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) product development. However, safety-critical considerations are required to keep workers and line assets safe and operational.

With the embedded software industry’s broadest technology and services portfolio, Mentor Graphics provides the Mentor Embedded Multicore Framework (MEMF), the first commercial implementation of the OpenAMP industry standard. OpenAMP is an application program interface (API) framework for communication and synchronisation of software running on homogeneous and heterogeneous multicore embedded systems. The MEMF is an integrated development solution spanning device configuration, deployment and system optimization for multi-operation system devices. It can be used for Linux, the Nucleus real-time operating system (RTOS), and bare-metal applications to quickly develop high-performance applications.

The Mixed Safety-Critical Industrial Automation System demonstrates how systems using a multicore embedded architecture can consolidate two or more discrete and separate functions on a single hardware platform. Leveraging the ARM TrustZone hardware security feature to create a human machine interface (HMI) of ‘mixed criticality’ on a single display, Mentor’s industrial automation solution features a robotic arm commonly found on the factory floor. The technology provides safety-critical operational information to the operator, in conjunction with non-safety critical interactive HMI processes, not bound by any safety requirements.

The mixed safety-critical interface of the industrial automation demo provides the operator’s focal point for control and feedback on the system. This HMI touch display (GeChic 1303i) is comprised of a complex graphical interface to control and display non-safety critical operational data; a second part displays safety-critical information to the operator. The robotic arm (Dobot Arm v1.0) operates from pre-programmed set point instructions, or controlled manually from the HMI.A laser beam (KY-008 Laser & Detector) operates as an optical safety gate that, when broken, sends a signal to the application running on the safety-certified RTOS to stop the robot motion, thus preventing injury. The non-safe and safety-certified parts of the demo are consolidated on a NXP i.MX6 SABRE Lite. The non-safe partition is not operational, but the safety-critical portion (isolated by ARM TrustZone) operates the robot motion, manages the optical safety gate, and presents essential system status to the operator, providing uninterrupted insight into the operation of the industrial automation processing line.