New embedded software platform certified to SIL3

01 February 2006

Green Hills Software (GHS) has launched what it calls the ‘Platform for Industrial Safety,’ which is a software development and deployment solution for safety-critical industrial devices. The core of the platform is royalty-free ‘Integrity-61508 Real-Time Operating System’ (RTOS), which is in final stages of certification by TÜV to IEC 61508 at Safety Integrity Level 3 (SIL 3). Full certification is expected by early 2006, says GHS.

Dan Mender, Green Hills director of business development, differentiates the company’s product from other approaches. ‘In traditional solutions, critical and noncritical subsystems are usually totally separated, requiring separate resources to be expended for each, for example, power supplies. Green Hills' approach allows critical and non-critical elements to run on one microprocessor (MPU), with appropriate partitioning and boundaries between them fixed for reliability,’ he said. Another differentiator for the safety platform is that users do not have to develop their own operating system and can avoid the time and cost of certification, explains Mr. Mender. ‘It’s an RTOS plus software, and software makes the platform unique.’

Integrity-61508 is said to be the first RTOS that provides complete support for multiple levels of IEC 61508 functional safety running concurrently on a single MPU. This benefits users, for example, through reduced hardware costs, physical footprint, power, and heat dissipation requirements. In the past, manufacturers had to certify all software running on a processor to the most stringent safety level required by any component. Such ‘federated’ distributed systems had to be deployed to physically separate software at different functional safety levels. While this approach minimised certification cost and risk, it increased overall system cost and complexity, explains Mr. Mender.

Because of secure partitioning capability—for time, space, and resources between applications—in Integrity-61508 RTOS, each software partition can be certified at its appropriate SIL, eliminating the need for
separate physical systems or to certify code beyond the required safety level. Industrial device manufacturers benefit from minimising the software and documentation they must develop for their end products’ safety certifications.

Besides the Integrity-61508 RTOS, the Platform for Industrial Safety includes:

....Multi development environment—GHS’ set of tools for optimising reliability, performance, cost, and time-to-market of device software;

....Full set of safety documentation, which is required for certification of the final device (safety manual, TÜV
certification report, and TÜV SIL 3 certificate for Integrity-61508, as well as defect notification service); and

....Optional middleware, Integrity- 61508 source code, certification evidence, and services.

When certification is complete (projected by early 2006), GHS’ Platform for Industrial Safety will be available for a variety of processors—ARM (ARM Corp.); Blackfin (Analog Devices); ColdFire (Freescale Semiconductor); MIPS (MIPS Technologies); PowerPC (IBM/Freescale); and StrongArm, x86/Pentium, and XScale (Intel Inc.).

Pricing for the platform starts a US $22,400 for a single user, enterprise license, with no run-time royalty fees for deployment. Single product, product line, and subscription licensing is also available. For more information, readers can visit the Green Hills web site at

—Frank J. Bartos, executive editor

Contact Details and Archive...

Related Articles...

Print this page | E-mail this page