The success of a
multi-million Rand contract awarded by Spoornet to Murton System
Technologies has prompted the company to market the technology overseas.
The contract called for
the design, manufacture and supply of over 200 Telecontrol outstations
nationally installed at substations for power reticulation and control
purposes. The system had to be compatible with existing hardware in the
field, Westinghouse and Siemens. This was done in terms of both protocol
compatibility and hardware interchangeability.
Technologies MD Brent Maurer said the contract was challenging in two
respects. "The S500 system had to be designed using the latest
technology as well as providing an upgrade path beyond the year 2000 and
be downwardly compatible with systems already in the field."
A DSP (Digital Signal
Processor) and CODEC (Coder/Decoder) were used to implement the modem
function as opposed to purchasing an off-the-shelf modem chip set.
"This enabled us to reach both objectives in that the modem was now
wholly software controlled. Code could be written for the modem to
implement existing software protocols and therefore be compatible with
However, as a 40MHz DSP
and full CD specification stereo CODEC were being used the upgrade path
was well established for the communications protocol," said Maurer.
Technologies has long been a respected designer and manufacturer of
electronic products. With the advent of its own Telecontrol system to the
local market a number of organizations including municipalities as well as
local town councils have expressed a keen interest. This can only be good
for the local economy as the traditional suppliers will now be faced with
competition for the imported products from a local company," said
The equipment has
extensive lightning/surge protection to suite local conditions as well as
being able to survive the harshest of South African environmental
conditions. Production units are comfortable at ambient temperatures of 65
degrees C which is not that common in equivalent imported products.
"The system is as
good and better than any equivalent imported product. Particularly of note
is the cost of the system which is far below the imported equipment
price," noted Maurer.
With full DTI support,
Murton System Technologies has displayed the S500 Telecontrol System at an
International fair in Slovakia. Much interest has been shown already from
Eastern European countries in South African products.
Most local vendors of
Telecontrol Systems offer only the outstations. "Murton System
Technologies was able to offer both outstation as well as locally
developed and designed master control station in conjunction with its
sister Company FIMM. This gives the S500 system a huge advantage over
other systems in that it can be locally adapted to suite almost any client
specific requirement," noted Maurer
As with any equipment
used out in the field, energy efficiency was of prime concern as batteries
are mostly used for standby power applications. The S500 system uses
switched mode, high efficiency power conversion techniques throughout the
design as well as employing only the latest low power CMOS circuitry. An
entire, fully equipped outstation consumes a mere 20W of power.