Design and production of embedded electronics, software, telemetry- and remote-control applications

Reference projects

This is an overview of some of the projects we have been involved in up through the years. The larger projects from the last years are mainly described in separate sections, NovOtime, Minecat and AUTOflyer. The list below will therefore mostly cover earlier projects and products, many of them through an older company, a.s Micro Control, a company that was later terminated. The product portefolio was taken over by Novatron and continued under the Novatron name. The project manager for these projects still work with Novatron AS.

Control system for offshore searchlights

Micro Control was started in 1985 and its first major project was delvery of a complete control system for searchlighs on 2 new offshore supply vessels. This was systems that enabled control of 4 searchlight units with a total power of 24kW and where the control could be transferred between different control panles on the central bridge console and on the wings. These systems are still in use in the North Sea, 27 years later.

Søkelyskastrere montert på MS Gullbas i 1986. Brovingpanel vist til høyre Searchlights in use on MS Gullbas in 1986. The wing panel is shown on the right

The other large project with searchlights came in the fall of 1993, when we was asked to develop and deliver control electronics for 6 4kW trackings spots that was to be used on the main arena for the opening and clocing ceremony under the 1994 winter olympics in Lillehammer. The 6 searchlight that was mounted in towers around the arena and was controlled from a central standard ligt control table through a special network for light control, DMK (DMK512). After an intense test periode togehter with the searchlight supplier, the system performed exactly as planned during the important days in the last half of february.

In addition to these projects, we have delivered a number of different products to the same cutomer. This includes analoge motor control units, Ethernet-based motor control units, ignition systems for Xenon lamps and a lantern controller.

Function keyboards

Special keyboards delivered to Norcontrol Simulation AS

During the years, a number of different function keyboards has been developed and delivered, both for land based simulator systems and for use on ships. In many cases, these keyboards was functional copies of existing keyboards in use in control rooms on offshore platforms and in onshore process facilities. The original keyboards often had proprietary communication protocols that made them unsuitable for use with simulators build around standard computer equipment. The solution often was to make copies that worked exactly as the original, but which had an open and flexible interface that was well suited for easy integrated with the standard computers used in the simulators.

In some cases we also delivered direct replacement keyboards to customers who used them as replacement for their own old keyboards that had gone out of production many years ago and where there was no more spare parts available.

As a spin-off to these deliveries, we also developed an emulator for graphical color terminals, like Tandberg Topaz, when these had gone out of production and there was a lack of spare parts for alarm systems on ships.

Active heave-compensator

In the beginning of the 1990's, we developed a control system, complete with operator console, for an active heave-compensator to be used on a floating drilling platform. This was a delivery to Dyna Craft AS.

AHC opåerator panel in stainless steel delivered to the offshore drilling platform Polar Pioneer

An active heave-compensator is a device where a larg hydraulic cylinder in the top ow the drill-tower act as the anchor point for the winch system holding the drill-string and other equipment connected to it. Based on input from a sensor measuring the rig's movement in the waves, the hydraulic cylinder can be operated in counter-phase with the rigs movement and thus reducing the winch and drill string movement. This in turned meant that the rig could operate in higher waves and still keep within the limits of allowable movement on the drill string istelf, thus extending the length of stops due to weather conditions.

We developed the central processing unit with software and a pressurized stainless stell operator panel for use on the drill floor.

Drilling Monitor Panel

The operator panel was made of 3mm stainless steel and was equipped with a number of buttons for control of the process, in addition to bargraph- and text-displays. Everything was special designed according to the customers specifications. The panels was mounted in the drill-cabin on the drill floor and was pressurized because of the explosion hazard. The panels was delivered in a quantity of approx. 10 units to different floating drill platforms, often with minor adjustments in size and number of buttons, depending on special conditions on each platform.

As a spin-off to these deliveries, we later on developed and delivered a special display for use in an new kind of automated drill-handling equipment. In this panel, large linear and circular bargraphs, in addition to some minor numeric displays, replaced the old mechanical instruments used in the drill-console on manually operated drill-floors. Interfaces was here based on standard 4-20mA and pulse inputs and the display system was designed in such a way that any single fault should not affect more than one bargraf or one numeric display. The customer was Aker Maritime Hydraulics.

Add-on electronics for gaming machines

Electronic Cash System - ECS, developed and manufactured for SOBRA AB, and Sidebox for gaming machines

In cooperation with Unipro Automasjon in Halden, we developed a range of add-on electronics for use on gaming machines. This included equipment that extended the kind of payment accepted by the machines from one single coin to the full range of coins and notes, often also currency from different countries on the same machine. For the state owned austrian casino-operator, Casinos Austria, we also developed additional equipmenty that allowed older stand-alone gaming machines to be connected to their new gaming network, opening for common bonus handling between different kind of machines and central handling of bonus payout.

For a swedish casino operator, we developed a "cashbox"-system for Black Jack and similar tables. This was a system with coin- and note-readers and a control unit that registered all transactions in an internal memory that could not be tampered with. Printout of all transactions could be done by the end of each shift or whenever this was necessary for bookkeeping or control.

Røde Kors Automatene

We also developed a readout system for Røde Kors Automatene and this was a system that was installed on all their gaming machines in Norway. This made it possible to read out all counter transactions by IR-transfer to a palm-computer operated by the cashier or by governmental supervision personell. In this way a tamper free backup of the manual meter readings was established.

Later on, a software upgrade and the addition of a GPRS-modem opened up for remote reading over the mobile network. This system was equipped on many machines and endabled regular tarnsfer of counter status and error messages by SMS to the central accounting office. The possibility of automatic error reporting and readout of current amount of coins in the machine was especially important for machines located in distant places around the country. This meant that they could avoid sending service personnell many miles out to a fully operational and half-full machine.

Contol panel for diamond-wire saw

Planned extensions of these systems was later cancelled when the norwegian government decided to transfer all operation of gaming machines to a central, state owned gaming company, Norsk Tipping. The started by replacing all machines with new customized models equipped with the newest communication technology, thus making the need for upgrade elctronics obsolete.

Other projects

We have developed a system for control of diesel-hydraulic diamond-wire saws for the stone industry. This control system was later extended to also handle an electro-hydraulic version of the same saw.

We also have experience in designing embedded modules with Profibus-communication.

For additional information on projects and our know-how in different fiels, please take contact.