KUKA Real-Time Products Combines Microsoft Windows with RTOS

KUKA Real-Time Products announced new software packages that combine Microsoft Windows with a real-time operating system, RTOS, on a single or multi-core processor. These fully-certified software packages allow Windows to run with the industry’s leading RTOSes including VxWorks, Windows CE, QNX and On Time RTOS-32. These packages extend the KUKA virtualization product line which includes VxWin that combines Windows with VxWorks and CeWin that combines Windows with WinCE (Windows CE). The new products will be demonstrated at the Embedded Systems Conference (San Jose, March 30 – April 3, Booth 1709) and are available for customer evaluation through the KUKA sales channel or downloadable from the company web site.

The ability to combine a general purpose operating system with a real-time operating system maximizes the integration of industrial and commercial systems with front office operations which today predominately feature Microsoft Windows. This facilitates the fast exchange of useful information and data from instruments and machines used in manufacturing. In other applications, adding an RTOS to Windows in industrial and commercial systems provides deterministic execution of critical functions. The use of Windows also provides a positive user experience because of the familiarity with the Windows environment. This in turn, optimizes productivity. The advantage for equipment and system manufacturers is the ability to reduce product cost and eliminate additional hardware through the use of a single processor. Since KUKA’s software packages run on either single-core or multi-core processors, system designers can easily migrate existing products to new hardware featuring multi-core processors to take advantage of faster processing speeds. This saves the manufacturer both time and money.

The significant advantage of the KUKA virtualization solution is the ability to combine the OSes without affecting performance. All the characteristics and features of each OS are operational as KUKA does not modify either the Windows or the RTOS. Importantly, the real-time operation system is not affected by any interruptions in Windows that might occur. In contrast to other virtualization solutions, the KUKA solutions run on any manufacturer’s processor featuring the x86 architecture.

KUKA pioneered the combining of OSes on a single processor in the mid-nineteen nineties with the introduction of VxWin that combined Wind River VxWorks with Windows 95. KUKA continues to focus on solutions incorporating well respected, real-time operating systems (RTOSes), rather than proprietary ones because there are entire communities using and advancing these operating systems.

“Our customers typically look first for an industry standard RTOS that meets their criteria for all the critical items i.e., performance, cost, corporate stability, customer base, and an established developer community,” notes Rainer Gallus, KUKA sales manager for Real-Time Systems. “We endorse that strategy and have focused our development around the major operating systems in the global market.”

As a leading manufacturer of industrial robotic systems, KUKA conducts extensive tests for performance and compatibility to maintain the highest quality standards of its software packages as it incorporates the technology into all its end products. KUKA software customers are supported by an engineering group with over ten years experience in advanced virtualization. Sales and Customer Service are available worldwide.

About KUKA Real-Time Products
KUKA Roboter’s real-time virtualization technology brings real-time performance to Microsoft Windows by running a commercially available, full real-time operating system in parallel without requiring additional hardware. The technical basis of the new RTOSWin product family is the new RTOS Virtual Machine. This technology provides a small, flexible and fast real-time para-virtualization layer (the Virtual Machine Framework, VMF) for off-the-shelf standard real-time operating systems. Compared to full virtualization solutions, para-virtualization is the only way to achieve highest speed real-time response. The RTOS Virtual Machine Technology is the only available product on the market, where real-time virtualization for Windows can be achieved with or without the need for the processor’s hardware virtualization technology, which will save significant processor cost.

The KUKA RTOSWin product family at the moment covers four products to combine Windows with real-time operating systems; QWin (QNX), CeWin (Windows CE), AT-RTOS32Win (On Time RTOS-32) and VxWin (VxWorks). No proprietary modifications are made to the operating systems so the full commercially available versions of each operating system are supported. Customers using other off-the-shelf or proprietary real-time operating systems will also have the ability to run their RTOS together with Windows: Using the VMFWin product it is easily possible to adjust any standard RTOS to this new para-virtualization layer.

About the KUKA Robot Group
KUKA Roboter GmbH, Augsburg, is a KUKA Aktiengesellschaft company and ranks among the world’s leading suppliers of industrial robots. Core competencies are the development, production and sale of industrial robots, controllers, software and linear units. The company is the market leader in Germany and Europe, and the number three in the world. The KUKA Robot Group employs about 2,000 people worldwide. Of these, 1,200 are employed in Germany, either at the KUKA Robot Group headquarters in Augsburg, or at various subsidiaries. In 2007, sales totaled 413 million euro. 25 subsidiaries provide a presence in the major markets of Europe, America and Asia.

VxWin, CeWin, VmfWin and the KUKA Logo are trademarks of KUKA Roboter GmbH.