Secure ICS: Bedrock’s Universal I/O Module

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 @ 12:09 PM gHale

By Gregory Hale
As the manufacturing industry inches toward a truly automated environment, the days of systems sitting on the plant floor for 30 years are slowly going away.

That line of thinking truly clears the path for innovative new approaches to industrial control systems, either through the established players or startups hitting the market that are thinking control systems and security do mix.

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Along those lines industrial control system and security provider startup, Bedrock Automation, today launched a 10-channel Secure Universal I/O Module, SIOU.10, for its control system.

“Virtual marshalling via universal I/O is the new standard for control system engineering and optimal life cycle ownership,” said Bedrock Automation CTO and engineering vice president, Albert Rooyakkers.

Back in July, Bedrock, a new player in the ICS industry, launched an industrial control system that united basic understanding of current systems, but also featured a pin-less, electromagnetic backplane and embedded cyber security.

“It operates like a PLC, but we are using the embedded approach,” said Bob Honor, chief executive and a founder at Bedrock Automation.

The new system, called Bedrock, addresses control applications with fewer than a dozen part numbers, which then cuts down on cyber attack vectors, cuts lifecycle costs and looks at simplifying engineering, commissioning and maintenance, Honor said.

Industrial control systems in use today are very complex systems, but San Jose, CA-based Bedrock Automation which started up a few years ago and has its roots in the semiconductor industry, doesn’t think it has to be that way.

“We used all the standards from a users’ standpoint,” Honor said. “We follow all user standards to introduce a radically different technology (users) can use in the same way.”

This is an automation system that talks about production, but in the end is secure.

“By far, the industries like heavy process, power, electric, chemicals are concerned about security,” Honor said. “We are going to market this as a secure automation system.”

The latest offering, the Bedrock SIOU.10, combines the equivalent functionality of multiple I/O module types into a single, software programmable module; all while delivering embedded digital and physical cyber security.

The SIOU.10 plugs into the pinless Bedrock Electromagnetic Backplane Module Interconnect (BMI) along with the Secure Control and Communications (SCC) Module and Secure Power Modules (SPM). The pinless BMI forms a galvanic isolation barrier for each of the ten SIOU.10 channels and takes advantage of the Bedrock Black Fabric cyber security architecture. The SIOU.10 delivers deeply embedded cyber encryption and authentication from within.

Each channel on the SIOU.10 module is software programmable to receive field input or output signals from analog, discrete or pulse sensors and actuators. SIOU.10 channels are software configured in the Bedrock Integrated Development Environment (IDE,) where the process engineer can build distributed control system (DCS), SCADA remote transfer unit (RTU) or programmable logic controller (PLC) functionality.

The Bedrock SIOU.10 Secure Universal I/O module includes:
• Ten channels of I/O per module
• Ten channels of software selectable 4-20mA analog input (AI) or analog output (AO)
• Ten independent HART 7 modems
• Ten additional integrated AIs to enable AO read back
• Ten galvanically isolated and regulated 24VDC field power supplies
• Ten software selectable discrete inputs (DIs) or discrete outputs (DOs)
• Ten additional integrated DIs to enable discrete output DO read back
• Ten 10 to 100kHz pulse inputs for pulse meters with software selectable filter and debounce time, frequency period and pulse accumulation
• Galvanic isolation of over 1000 volts channel-to-channel (CTC) and channel-to-ground (CTG) on all ten channels
• Single, Dual or Triple redundancy
• +/- 0.015% of span accuracy for all analog input AI channels
• Up to 48VDC DO switching 1 amp per channel, 10 amps per module
• Embedded electronic fusing for every DO channel with software selectable backoff and retry
• Software selectable NAMUR DI support
• Voltage Monitor or Contact Sense DI with software selectable filter and debounce time per channel

The Bedrock SIOU.10 module is for users seeking maximum engineering and operational flexibility and cyber security in their industrial control systems. The SIOU.10 will release October 1 at a list price of $3000 through Bedrock’s network of system integrators and automation solution providers. Volume shipments will begin December 11.