The project has two objectives:
The existing control system, which was designed 15 years ago, has been extremely reliable. There is however a demand for higher flexibility, which will be obtained through the use of microprocessors. This flexibility concerns both the product, but also the added value in the services to be offered. It is a great challenge to keep the high reliability of the products when introducing software-based solutions, in addition to the challenge of obtaining an effective technology transfer into the company to take over the microprocessor-based solution, which will be mainly developed through subcontractors. With an effective life-cycle of 10 to 15 years, the company has to acquire the technology to be able to further develop the product and perform maintenance.
The introduction of a microprocessor-based control system is unavoidable. Whether useful or not it is demanded by the end-users. Useful functionality can, however be included, to offer higher quality products with respect to service and maintainability. This kind of functionality has to exist to survive in the market in the longer term, but more importantly, exploitation in a much broader sense is planned when a modern control system can be offered.
Genetech has been in the market with a solution for 10 years. So far, only 15% of the turnover is exported to the European Union but an increasing demand is expected, particularly to the Far-East. Sintef has been involved for assessing the architecture and feasibility and represents the know-how in methodology and design of embedded real-time systems where reliability and quality are important parameters. A subsidiary in Scotland (Ambient) participates in the design and will produce the electronics. A world leading consultant within voltage control, based in Scotland participates in the design.
Genetech has the knowledge of the requirements of the customers and the users of these systems and they have a clear view of the added-value and functionality a microprocessor-solutions should provide. The control system will be designed in a modular way, both in terms of hardware and software to obtain reuse of the components. Software will be designed with a clear and well proven methodology to facilitate transfer into the company, and there will be a strong focus on reliability through self-test, error-handling and possibly the remote supervision and monitoring of the system.
The best practice in design and technology will be documented and disseminated to the European community through the Prominent user support node.
Start date: July 1998
End date: September 1999
Ambient Electronics (United Kingdom)
Electric Fields (United Kingdom)