For years, designers of industrial systems have been using Windows for their HMI while using an RTOS like QNX Neutrino for realtime control. It's a well-established practice, but comes at a price: you need to deploy two systems instead of just one.
Now that multi-core processors are cheap and plentiful, many designers want to junk the second system and consolidate both operating environments on the same chip. That way, they can deploy systems that consume less power, generate less heat, use up less space, and, last but not least, cost less. It's a green approach that pays off in greenbacks.
Recently, Siemens took this very approach for their high-speed mail sorting machines. Using QWin, a virtualization solution from IBV, the engineers at Siemens were able to deploy their QNX-based realtime control system and Window-based user interface on a single PC.
Siemens seems happy about the result. According to a project manager responsible for the project, "the operational capability of the new QWin virtualizer and the easy integration to the control unit of the mail-sorting machine exceeded all our expectations.”
Read the press release for more details.
And while you're at it, check out the other virtualization announcement that appeared today on QNX's website: QNX and Real-Time Systems Team Up to Combine QNX Neutrino RTOS with Hypervisor Technology.