Arduino Unveils the Opta, Its First "Micro PLC" for the Industrial Internet of Things

Built around the STM32H747XI, the Opta family — available in Ethernet, RS485, and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth variants — aims at the professionals.

Arduino has announced what it calls its "first micro PLC [Programmable Logic Controller]," the Opta — a rugged gadget designed with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) at the forefront.

"We designed [Opta] specifically with PLC engineers in mind," the Arduino team claims of its latest hardware launch, "supporting standard languages including LD (Ladder Logic Diagram) and FBD (Function Block Diagram), it allows professional users to scale up industrial and building automation projects leveraging our signature open-source, easy-to-use, anti-vendor-lock-in approach."

Internally, the DIN-rail mountable Opta — developed by Arduino in partnership with Finder — uses an STMicro STM32H747XI dual-core microcontroller, which includes a single high-performance Arm Cortex-M7 core running at up to 480MHz and a lower-power Cortex-M4 core running at up to 240MHz alongside a shared floating-point unit (FPU), Chrom-ART accelerator, a hardware JPEG accelerator, 2MB flash, a total of 1,056kB of RAM plus 1,024-byte and 4kB backup static RAM (SRAM).

Exactly what you with the Opta depends on model, with three variants to be made available at launch: the Opta Lite, which includes Ethernet connectivity and USB Type-C for programming; the Opta RS485, which unsurprisingly adds RS485 half-duplex support; and Opta WiFi, which includes radios for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communications. All models support over-the-air updates, Arduino has confirmed, and feature a dedicated secure element for cryptographic assurances, plus relays for switching four loads of up to 2.3kW each.

"Through its onboard connectivity and machine learning capabilities," the Arduino team claims, "Opta opens up new opportunities for industrial automation within everyone’s reach: Design, iterate, and implement increasingly ambitious ideas for higher-quality manufacturing, increased efficiency, better productivity, and profitability. If you agree with us that innovation is here to help us face every possible challenge, we look forward to seeing the solutions you create to work better with Opta!"

At the time of writing, Arduino had not released pricing information for the Opta family; more information is expected ahead of hardware availability in December this year. To be notified when the Opta range launches, you can sign up on the official product page.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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