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Weidmüller presents u-OS, the new automation operating system

Weidmüller’s pioneering u-OS automation operating system is based on open established standards such as Linux, container technology and OPC UA and supports the integration of applications. Thus, u-OS is easily scalable and supports automation engineers to assemble customized web-based systems with user-friendly engineering. This enables users and their customers to be independent, flexible and future-ready.

IT and OT used to be two separate domains: information technology was responsible for data systems, while operational technology included the hardware and software that controlled and managed systems in manufacturing and process industries. With the advent of Industry 4.0, the OT world has begun to merge with the IT world in recent years, but more and more boosters are entering the industry, greatly accelerating this integration. Digitization, cloud and edge technologies, artificial intelligence and the Industrial internet of Things (IIoT) are impacting operational technology at a rapid pace.

“By 2025, at least 40 billion IoT devices will be in use,” predicts Andreas Hoffmann, vice president of Weidmüller’s Interface Automation business unit.

Weidmüller presents u-OS, the new automation operating system

Future-proof with u-OS – easily scalable, user-friendly and web-based automation operating system

  Powerful Edge Devices Ensure Competitive Advantage

This is because networking and digitization allow the entire process to be extended to the edge of the network, thereby enabling companies to gain decisive competitive advantages: transparency and timely information, high flexibility of processes, the opportunity to make forward-looking decisions, saving time and cost, and last but not least, process quality can be improved.

Not only will this lead to exponential growth in data volumes, but it will also shift previously centralized IT functions and decision-making processes to decentralized edge components. This in turn requires digital networking of various systems and solutions. There are many benefits, both in theory and in practice—but not easy to implement. This is because many advantages that an integrated smart factory can offer in terms of flexibility, cost and energy efficiency are not available due to manufacturer-specific automation systems. A prerequisite for successful solutions in the IT field on the market today, namely seamless compatibility with third-party systems, is far from standard in OT: users often have to deal with incompatibilities of proprietary solutions and costly system maintenance and retrofitting. Many companies have also discovered in recent months that there is little opportunity for manufacturer-based solutions to simply switch to another component maker amid disruptions in global supply chains.

 Enable communication between OT and IT on one device

Andreas Hoffmann summed up the customer’s needs: “The closer the IT and OT worlds are integrated, the more users want to break this dependency. With u-OS, Weidmüller now provides users with an open, flexible and independent u-OS combines the stability of automation solutions with the potential of IIoT, providing an open and flexible solution for automation engineers and IT programmers with just one device , to facilitate digital networking of various systems.

While approaches to integrated automation platforms already exist, users must also adapt to the vendor’s specifications; for example, integrating solutions from third-party vendors is difficult. On the other hand, u-OS relies on the use of open established standards such as Linux, container technology and OPC UA, and supports the integration of Weidmüller applications, proprietary applications or third-party supplier applications. This makes users independent and future-proof, as users can rely on third-party vendors who also provide automation platforms or applications.

Therefore, Linux as an open standard is a prerequisite because it combines the essential properties used in the automation environment: excellent real-time capabilities, a large community of service providers and developers, and easy optimization and optimization of open source code when required. Adjustment.

  Containers: Rapid Deployment of Software Solutions

Container technology is an open standard that enables users to bundle an application and all its dependencies in a single package. This means that even complex software releases can be provided automatically and quickly. This eliminates many sources of error during installation and updates, reducing the time required and saving costs. The application manager used by u-OS enables the system to be easily configured to suit the customer’s specific needs without programming knowledge.

OPC UA (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture) is an open Industrial communication protocol that enables platform-independent, reliable and secure information exchange between devices of different manufacturers.

Utilizing these open standards, u-OS enables third-party runtime systems to run on the software platform. An example of this is CODESYS®, the largest manufacturer-independent ecosystem in industrial automation. CODESYS® is a hardware-independent programming system for the creation, project planning, documentation, visualization and configuration of control applications. Furthermore, the integrated runtime environment u-create web enables simple engineering without programming knowledge.

  Customization via app

Apps from Weidmüller, third-party suppliers or users themselves can be used to flexibly add new functions and open up the entire world of industrial automation and IoT. The u-OS operating system enables various industrial worlds to merge in this way in the future without any complications: For example, PROCON-WEB, a high-performance visualization software, can be installed simply as an application in the on an open control system.

u-OS connects the Industrial Internet of Things with automation, partners with their users, cloud with data and industrial ecosystems. Users who rely on open source automation rather than proprietary systems benefit in several ways. They can take advantage of open digital networks to increase their productivity, flexibility and efficiency. “This is also reflected in operating costs and ultimately competitiveness”, says Andreas Hoffmann, Vice President of Weidmüller’s Automation business unit. “The new u-OS operating system will thus be the basis for all future IoT and automation components at Weidmüller. The software is installed in every device for easy access to the IT and OT world. This scalability allows our Clients and their customers assemble a custom and web-based system. Anything is possible, not a given.”

u-OS connects the Industrial Internet of Things and automation, partners and their users, data clouds and industrial ecosystems.

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