In this era of rapid technological advancement, there is a dire need for cost-effective solutions for PLC, motion control and machine vision that do not sacrifice performance.
Currently, almost all industrial automation engineers fall victim to three toolset options to build their robotics applications:
- Proprietary solutions, complete with vendor lock-in
- Point solutions, or buying best-of-breed for every desired component, which can get expensive
- Hardware solutions, which also get obscenely expensive.
There are pros and cons to each of these options, but none are honestly desired by the engineers; it’s more like “pick-your-poison”.
One company addresses this problem with an end-to-end, open and standards-based software solution that allows engineers to pick components of their choosing for PLC, motion control and machine vision. KINGSTAR, a division of IntervalZero out of Waltham, MA, France, Germany and Taiwan, serves as a complete “plug-and-play” PC-based platform for industrial motion control, machine vision and programmable logic controllers (PLC).
Built on the EtherCAT standard and supported by a real-time 64-bit Windows operating system (RTOS), KINGSTAR empowers engineers to design, develop and integrate applications with KINGSTAR’s soft motion, machine vision and PLC or third-party software. Using a single industrial PC, you can replace all hardware with software-only motion controllers and machine vision positioning systems, quickly and cost effectively.
Since 2009, KINGSTAR has been a Microsoft Embedded Gold Partner and has been recognized as a leading partner in both North America and EMEA. The company is also an EtherCAT Technology Group, PLCopen, OPC Foundation, Mechatrolink Association, and Intel Embedded Alliance partner.
The Person behind KINGSTAR
Dipesh Mukerji, VP Marketing & Strategy, joined IntervalZero in July 2015 and was tasked with the launch of the KINGSTAR product platform the next year. He has led its worldwide go-to-market strategy and execution since 2016, including managing the messaging and positioning of the KINGSTAR product line for the industrial automation target audience as well as providing global opportunities for the KINGSTAR salesforce. Dipesh and his team achieved 100% growth in KINGSTAR projects since 2016, and under his leadership site traffic has increased by over 300% in the last two years.
Dipesh brings 13 years of experience in mobile technology, consulting and the Internet of Things to the KINGSTAR team. His balanced portfolio of extensive experience involves implementing software technology, building and managing teams in professional services, sales engineering, product management and marketing. While working with software, tools and best practices at both startups and large-scale enterprise organizations, Dipesh has served a wide variety of B2E, B2C and B2B customers.
How KINGSTAR Adds Value
The KINGSTAR Soft Motion Platform eliminates the need for proprietary, hardware and individual solutions for industrial machine automation through pre-tested, pre-integrated, and best-of-breed software components. KINGSTAR is the only machine automation platform that provides the freedom and flexibility of “plug-and-play” choices, reducing cost by up to half while delivering precision performance and quality.
The KINGSTAR Soft Motion Platform consists of the following end-to-end components:
- KINGSTAR Soft Motion provides an integrated environment for consolidated, inexpensive and scalable motion control. Soft Motion runs directly on the PC, uses the NIC card for I/O, and uses the powerful EtherCAT protocol for freedom from proprietary and costly hardware.
- KINGSTAR EtherCAT exposes the real-time interface that allows engineers to integrate their own motion control algorithms or software with an EtherCAT network, providing highly customizable motion control and machine vision with precision performance at an affordable price.
- KINGSTAR Soft PLC delivers application management and deployment that enables complete and consolidated control of assembly lines and machinery.
- KINGSTAR Machine Vision, allows engineers to build interactive applications and functions for image capture, processing, analysis, annotation, display, and archiving on GigE Vision and other camera devices.
IntervalZero RTX64, the foundation of the KINGSTAR platform, also replaces FPGAs and DSPs by transforming Windows into a real-time operating system (RTOS), reducing development costs and significantly improving the quality of embedded systems.
Driving the Future of Robotics
KINGSTAR is heavily invested in innovation in the machine automation industry. The company is particularly interested in advancements coming out of China, like the “Made in China 2025” (MiC2025) program. To align with MiC 2025, the robotics supply chain must rethink its traditional hardware-based approach and consider software-based alternatives. KINGSTAR is committed to being part of this process, investing and developing their innovation pipeline to play a role in the transformation of robotics industry.
KINGSTAR is also focused on innovation closer to home. The strength of a platform is that it can integrate best-of-breed components for the highest quality and performance; therefore, more components in a platform make it stronger than before. KINGSTAR plans to continue adding components to its open source platform, such as Kinematics (for CNC and Robotics) and Simulation, to ensure that the solution continues to deliver the best possible value.
Dipesh asserts, “The market is rejecting the notion of expensive, proprietary industrial PLC, motion control and machine vision hardware”. Moreover, he added, “The cloud-based IoT future demands cost-effective options without relinquishing performance or quality. We are excited to share KINGSTAR’s game-changing end-to-end platform, which can leverage a single Windows PC to perform multiple deterministic functions, such as soft control, soft PLC, and machine vision, in real time, at a fraction of the cost of current solutions to deliver precision perfect performance and unmatched quality.”