Embedded automation systems use single board computers and other components to create a powerful and cost-effective platform for machine control. Embedded components are generally less expensive than their COTS counterparts, but require more design effort from the OEM, making them ideal for high-volume applications. It’s also easier to protect intellectual property with embedded components, as detailed functionality can be masked from the end user.
On the other hand, COTS components such as industrial PCs make use of popular technologies from the commercial sector, allowing OEMs to create very open systems which can be easily maintained by end users. Although costs can be a bit higher up front as compared to embedded components, COTS hardware can be implemented with less design effort, making it ideal for custom control systems and other low-volume applications.