Economical Option for Raspberry Pi Pilot Projects in Industrial Automation and Process Control

Not only an inexpensive HMI-PLC combination unit, reTerminal is also perfect for small production runs, or pilot projects before scaling up Raspberry Pi-based products

There are many products that are using Raspberry Pi as a baseboard and adding a case around it to use for production. Sometimes, a field technician or engineer develops some capability on Raspberry Pi and the company would like to turn it into a product. 

Challenge: Time-consuming 

Hardware development takes time! Hardware product requires multiple parts to fit together, while each piece is being designed separately. Sometimes by different companies, specialized in different areas may have challenges understanding each other. Normally scaling up a Raspberry Pi project with some random LCD touch panel would involve hundreds of hours of engineering time to productize. 

Why 3D Printing doesn’t workHigh-cost and Low Mistake Tolerance 

While people might think you can easily 3D print a case and deploy that, consumer-grade 3D printers are not suitable for large-scale production-grade additive manufacturing. Industrial 3D printers are designed for a specific purpose and they have the speed, facilities, and robustness that are critical for industrial 3D manufacturing.

An injection mold starts around $10 – $15,000 USD. You’ll typically need two or three, and you better get it right the first time! 3D printing is also a volume-based business. So that’s great for making 10,000 or 100,000 of something, 

David was developing a combination vibration damping and height measurement/adjustment instrument for optical breadboard tables. (These are thick stiff honeycomb-construction tables with pneumatic air-column legs, where scientists will build laser and optical and lens experiments, holography, and the like.) 

The total addressable market is about 2000 units. It’s profitable at a retail price of $1500 USD, but the target COGS is under $300 USD and final development needs to be fast and tight.

However,  what if you only need a small run of a high-profit margin product?  That is where the reTerminal shines!


“reTerminal is highly flexible and easily programmable with common tools, unlike an industrial PLC or HMI. And it already has the higher speed reliable program storage and digital I/O required for such a project. (eMMC is perfect, as SD cards are not reliable for main program storage in a commercial product. And the price is almost ideal!”  

For example, David need one USB port for 4-axis of vertical micro-position sensors, and six digital outputs to control the air supply and electro-pneumatic valves for the legs. (Valves, wiring, connectors, etc. all have to fit into that $300USD target cost.) reTerminal nails that perfectly. 

reTerminal’s Skills 

✔ High flexible and easily programmable with common tools 

✔ Higher speed 

✔ eMMC: reliable program storage in a commercial product 

✔ digital I/O required for PLC Substitute 

✔ Ideal price 

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February 2022