Spring 2020

Welcome to the acontis technologies newsletter. We strive to issue this newsletter every few months to keep you informed about our latest updates and developments.

Update Regarding COVID-19 Pandemic

From everyone at acontis, we hope that all of our customers, partners, and their families are safe and healthy during this challenging time. Acontis employees have all transitioned to working remotely from their homes in an effort to help slow the spread of the virus and ease the burden on our healthcare systems.

We are fortunate that during this time we are able to maintain mostly normal operations, so our customers should not be impacted in getting what they need from us. Again, we hope that everyone continues to stay safe. We look forward to when we are able to meet in person again.

2019 Year in Review

Last year was a very successful year for acontis, so we wanted to take a moment in this year's first newsletter to thank all of the customers and partners that have supported us and helped make us successful. Here are some acontis highlights from 2019:
  • Released new versions of core products like EC-Master, EC-Engineer, VxWin, and LxWin with many new features and improvements
  • Released new products: EC-Engineer Web and EoE Gateway Tool
  • Opened direct subsidiary in the US
  • Partnered with Technologix in Italy
  • Hosted the ETG European EtherCAT Plugfest
  • Exhibited at trade shows: Embedded World, Hannover Messe, SPS

New Distribution Partner in France

We are pleased to announce that we have entered into an agreement with ISIT, effective as of April 1st 2020. ISIT is located in Toulouse, and will be our distributor for customers in France. ISIT specializes in the marketing of hardware and software tools used in design offices and production sites intended for real-time embedded systems, and will be a perfect fit for the acontis product line. Please see the announcement on our website for more information.

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Latest Updates

As we announced in our Fall Newsletter, EC-Master has been updated to version 3.0. This new update adds 32 new APIs/IOCTLs for our users. We continue to maintain this release with minor improvements and bug fixes. Some new highlights include:

  • Bad Connection Detection
  • Master Redundancy
  • Split-frame Processing
  • Junction Redundancy (with DC)
  • Slave-to-Slave Mailbox Communication

For more information on these and other developments, simply request an update via the button below.

Beckhoff CX9020 Controller

We released support for the Beckhoff CX9020 Embedded PC, which is an ARM Cortex A8 based system, running Linux. Beckhoff supports other operating systems on their CX controllers, and there is an online repository (hosted on GitHub) with information and the necessary code for installing Linux. Now acontis has updated this repository to make it easier to install EC-Master along with Linux.

Coming Soon

We are actively working on the upcoming 3.1 release planned for later this year, which will include new hardware support along with other exciting new features. Stay tuned.

Current Version

Our EtherCAT Master software version is available now. For a full list of changes please see our Release Notes.

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Latest Updates

We recently released EC-Engineer V3.1, and we continue to enhance our configuration and diagnostic capabilities. The tool is now utilized by over 300 companies and more than 400 licenses are in use worldwide. Some new highlights include:

  • ESI File Handling Improvements
  • Support for new IO-Link Gateways

Current Version

Our EtherCAT configuration and diagnostic tool EC-Engineer version 3.1.2 is available now. Please click the button below to register for an update.

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Latest Updates

We recently announced our new product, EC-Simulator, for simulating EtherCAT networks. EC-Simulator creates virtual EtherCAT networks by simulating slave devices so that it is possible to run EtherCAT Master applications without needing physical EtherCAT slave hardware devices.

The EtherCAT simulation is provided on a physical network adapter or virtually to realize a completely simulated machine setup. Configuring the simulation instance is done seamlessly by using the ENI file of the real network. Reaction to Process Data, SDOs, Slave Stack interactions, and more can be programmed using C/C++ or .NET, exposing the EtherCAT network data to various other engineering, testing, or virtualizing tools.

We can now offer evaluation versions to customers, and are continuing to improve and enhance the product. If you are interested in this new product please contact us.

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Real-time Virtualization Solutions

Acontis Hypervisor

Acontis Hypervisor is a new Type 1 real-time Hypervisor. This solution enables customers to fulfill demands for more sophisticated use cases and it is a perfect fit for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices, Edge Controllers, and high-end real-time hardware and workload consolidation.

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Acontis Windows Real-time Extensions

Acontis’ Windows real-time extensions work differently than a traditional Windows real-time extension, and provide an interesting alternative that users and implementors of real-time applications should consider.
First, acontis uses a more segregated approach for the real-time applications and the non-real-time Windows part. Rather than using a proprietary RTOS or real-time environment, a standard hard real-time kernel on top of a hypervisor environment is used. This hypervisor environment is key and ensures much better isolation from Windows compared to traditional real-time extensions.

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VxWin and LxWin

We recently updated our VxWin and LxWin solutions to V7.0 which includes support for Cache Allocation Technology (CAT). Many Intel Xeon CPUs and a variety of Intel Embedded CPUs from the E39xx series support this feature. With CAT enabled, parts of the L2 and L3 cache can be designated exclusively to the RTOS (VxWorks or Linux), so that Windows will not be able to take over data from the cache that was assigned to the RTOS.

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Recent Blog Articles

EtherCAT Troubleshooting: How to Diagnose Problems
Nov 1, 2019
EtherCAT provides many useful features for diagnosing problems with the network. We provide a step-by-step guide for how to utilize these features to solve common (and sometimes not so common) problems you might be experiencing.
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EtherCAT Technology Group officially supports EtherCAT G
Oct 28, 2019
The Technical Committee of the EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) has accepted EtherCAT G as an addition to the EtherCAT standard.
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Comparing Windows Real-time Extensions
Sept 19, 2019
As Linux becomes more and more popular as a real-time operating system, we look at how traditional Windows Real-time Extensions compare to acontis LxWin.
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End of Life Support for Microsoft Windows CE
July 5, 2019
Microsoft has released their support end of life roadmap for Windows CE (Embedded Compact). Here is a migration path for alternative real-time solutions.
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