Farnell signs agreement with Industrial Shields to distribute open-source automation devices

Farnell, an Avnet Company and global distributor of electronic components, products and solutions, has today announced a new global franchise with Industrial Shields. Industrial Shields is the leading developer and manufacturer of industrial automation devices (PLCs and Panel PCs) based on open source hardware from Raspberry Pi and Arduino. The use of open source hardware provides many benefits to design engineers, including the opportunity to bring industrial products to market at a lower cost and in less time than designing with proprietary processor boards.

The new partnership strengthens Farnell’s industrial automation and control portfolio by providing more options to customers developing monitoring, control or automation solutions based on single board computers (SBCs). The addition of this new range of PLCs, Panel PCs and the Open Mote B ultra-low-power communications board for the Internet of Things (IoT) will enable customers to revolutionise the way that control systems are designed. As a leading global manufacturer and supplier of SBCs, Farnell is championing the use of SBCs in industrial automation systems with customers and the element14 Community. 

Automation continues to grow in all domestic and industrial sectors including home and factory automation, large buildings and smart cities. Industrial Shields’ feature rich, competitively priced products provide the high performance required for monitoring and control systems used in factories, production lines, machines, buildings and agriculture. The use of open source hardware removes any lock-in associated with proprietary PLCs, giving customers much more control and ownership of the design. Many designers are already familiar with the programming environment of Raspberry Pi and Arduino, which offers easy access to powerful tools and information about the design and operation of the products. Developers of industrial automation solutions also have the option to integrate a greater range of electronic components into their designs, reducing the cost of end products.

Farnell now stocks Industrial Shields’ full product range, including automation devices, including: 

  • The Touchberry Pi 10.1 Panel PC, based on the Raspberry Pi 4B, features a resistive multi-touch screen in two dimensions of a 10.1″ aluminum case or a 7″ plastic case. The Panel PC runs multiple operating systems including Raspbian, Linux or Android and can achieve a wide voltage range of 12 to 24Vdc and up to 12x GPIO. Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity are enabled via USB, I2C, SPI and UART. This product is ideal for applications which monitor and control production lines, machines or installations.  
  • The ARDBOX PLC product family is based on the Arduino Leonardo board and features 20 I/O ports which support digital and analog signals (with PWM output). An optional relay output is also available for AC control. Up to 127 modules can be connected via I2C, enabling up to 7100 I/Os. Other features include a real-time clock and µSD memory support. The ARDBOX PLC product family offers a broad range of communication options including USB, Full/Half Duplex RS485, RS232, I2C and Modbus, making it an ideal product for industrial control systems used in factories, manufacturing, and mining operations. 
  • The M-DUINO PLC family are Ethernet-enabled PLCs that can support any industrial control system requiring analog and digital I/Os. Relay outputs for AC control are also available. The M-DUINO family offers PLCs ranging from 17 I/Os in total to a 59 I/Os with up to 36 inputs or 31 outputs. Like the ARDBOX PLC family, the M-DUINO range can connect up to 127 modules via I2C, enabling a maximum of 7100 I/Os and feature a real-time clock and µSD memory support. Communication is offered by USB, Full/Half Duplex RS485, RS232, I2C and Modbus.

Lee Turner, Global Head of Semiconductors and SBC at Farnell said: “This new global franchise with Industrial Shields increases our range of PLCs and Panel PCs giving our customers greater choice of low cost and flexible devices to support their automation needs. The innovative use of open source hardware will create designs that speed time to market, reduce costs, and put the customer in control. This is a key addition to our automation range, bringing the benefits of industrial automation closer to our customers than ever before.”

Albert Prieto, CEO of Industrial Shields, commented: “The collaboration with Farnell gives us the opportunity to continue growing. Thanks to this agreement, we are consolidating our position as the leading manufacturer of open source-based systems for industrial automation, and strengthening our company’s international presence. In addition, the fact that a prestigious group such as Farnell is committed to Industrial Shields products gives our customers the peace of mind of using safe, quality systems.”

Industrial Shields is pioneering the use of PLCs and Panel PCs to enable widespread adoption of industrial automation technology. The extensive product range is suitable for system integrators and engineering companies providing turnkey automation products through to universities, professional design engineers, hobbyists and makers seeking a low cost and flexible solution. 

Farnell’s customers now have access to a greater range of market leading automation and control products with 24/5 technical support. This includes free online resources, data sheets, application notes, videos, and webinars on Farnell’s website.

The full Industrial Shields product range is available from Farnell in EMEA, Newark in North America and element14 in APAC.