New Industry Products

IIoT Module for High-Reliability Systems Offers Customizable Sensing Options

July 11, 2019 by Scott McMahan

Nordic Semiconductor reported that Swift Labs, put the Nordic nRF9160 System-in-Package (SiP) at the heart of their highly-reliable 'C1D1', an intrinsically-safe industrial IoT (IIoT) module. According to Swift Labs, its newly introduced C1D1 IIoT module can help designers bring even the most sensitive and highly-regulated IIoT environment and material applications to market in just 3 to 6 months.

Based on Nordic Semiconductor's nRF9160 multimode LTE-M/NB-IoT SiP, Design Blocks from Canada-based global wireless design specialists, Swift Labs, C1D1 targets sensitive IIoT environments and materials that cannot fail. Examples include gas and oil refineries and pipelines, energy and utilities, medical devices, chemical plants, wearables, transportation, smart city, and defense.

Swift Labs defines such IIoT applications as ones "where components have to perform 100 percent reliably; require long battery life; and in the event of failure scenario such as being crushed, fail safely so as not create a fire, overheating, or sparking risk, particularly in explosive and flammable environments".

"This really 'ups' the design complexity," comments Swift Labs' Senior Director of Solutions Architecture, Mike Brown. "There's no room for error in any single aspect of the design from the fail-safe components on the PCB [printed circuit board] to trace width sizing, to the unique anti-ESD [electrostatic discharge] enclosure which are all designed with the utmost scrutiny in terms of operational reliability and fail-safe predictability."

The Swift Labs' Design Blocks' PCB measures just 55mm x 36mm x 4.9mm and includes GPS and LTE antennas, and it features an extended list of customizable sensing options including 9-axis absolute orientation, air pressure and humidity, air quality, and time-of-flight.

With the on-board capabilities of the Nordic Semiconductor nRF9160 SiP, the Design Blocks platform also offers an accelerometer and temperature sensor as standard, as well as multimode LTE-M/NB-IoT capabilities, GPS, and a powerful Arm® Cortex™-M33 application processor.

In the industrial IoT sector the ability to automate what was previously laborious, costly, and time-consuming in safety-critical operations is now technologically and commercially-feasible for the first time

"All an IIoT customer needs to do to incorporate the module into an application is define the use case and Swift Labs will rapidly productize a custom solution fit for the global market and adhering to C1D1 system design principles," said Paul Wilson, CEO of Swift Labs.

"It's worth noting that LTE-M and NB-IoT networks have been rolling out globally on a massive scale over the past 12-18 months," Wilson said. "And in North America alone we're already looking at near 100 percent coverage and support from every major network operator," Wilson added.

"That means the 'time' for cellular IoT has arrived and in the industrial IoT sector the ability to automate what was once laborious, costly, and time-consuming in safety-critical operations is now technologically and commercially-viable for the first time," Wilson said.

"This runs from valve status in an oil and gas pipeline ["on", "off", "faulty"] to making sure vital medications are 100 percent tracked, traced, and stored at the correct temperature during transportation."

"Industrial IoT looks set to become one of the biggest early adopters of cellular IoT wireless technology," comments Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor's Director of Sales & Marketing. "The main reason is that the operational optimization benefits far outweigh the initial set-up and installation costs. Because of the safety-critical nature of many IIoT applications, the decades-proven reliability and security of cellular wireless network technology, and global pre-installed coverage makes it a compelling choice."