Mantaro Case Studies
Consumer Electronics Design
A consumer electronics manufacturer wanted to simplify one of their handheld wireless pointing devices and reduce its manufacturing cost. Their prototype system was based on a Bluetooth chipset, which consumed significant amounts of power and had a
relatively high parts cost per unit. Mantaro was able to replace their Bluetooth-based wireless link with a much cheaper, lower-power RF interface based on a proprietary Texas Instruments / Chipcon CC2500
chipset, without sacrificing range or performance. Along the way, Mantaro also designed a custom printed-circuit omnidirectional antenna, which conformed to the unusual enclosure shape of the hand-held pointing device, and reduced the effective per-unit cost of the antenna to zero. Furthermore, Mantaro designed the corresponding USB adapter, firmware, HID drivers, and algorithms to reduce power usage and prolong battery life. The resulting system is on the market today and was named CES Innovations 2010 Personal Electronics Award Honoree.
The range and reliability of the wireless link are some of its main selling points.
High-Speed Communication and DSP Design for Telecom System
A Satellite Communications provider needed a high-speed fiber optic interface between a ground-based beamformer and the processing base station. The customer needed two solutions for different beamformer interfaces. Mantaro developed two different AMC
(Advanced Mezzanine Card) modules to fit in an ATCA
The large amount of serial communication (dual 10 gigabit fiber on the front end, dual 4x Serial RapidIO
on the backend), as well as the digital signal processing required for the front end, required a total of three Xilinx Virtex5 FPGAs
communicating together over additional internal high-speed busses. Mantaro also adapted the MMC
(Module Management Controller) firmware to use new temperature and voltage sensors on the card to monitor card performance. Mantaro's design operated within the temperature envelope of the ATCA specification even with three large FPGAs performing large amounts of signal processing.
Updating Obsolete Control System
A US Manufacturer had an aging, obsolete control system which had become increasingly expensive to maintain. A proof of concept project had been completed in middle of the decade which proved the viability of upgrading to a newer hardware standard and modern operating system. The proof of concept was too unstable and lacked maintainability. Key requirements
for the system were to operate 24/7/365, zero crashes for a three month period minimum, and a cold start to operational state in "significantly" less time than the 15 minutes required by the legacy system. Mantaro reviewed the initial proof of concept architecture and a recommendation was given, and accepted, to pursue a different system, built around the National Instruments Real Time PXI
product. Development challenges included limited or no documentation, ease of transfer of control between legacy and upgrade systems, ensure outputs of either system could not "cross control" the output signals simultaneously, and manage the industrial signals for safety and fidelity. The upgraded system ended up costing less than 50% of the proof of concept, was vastly improved in reliability (zero crashes or lockups achieved), and constructed to maximize maintainability and minimize technician troubleshooting time. A monitoring system was implemented to ensure the legacy and upgraded outputs were amplitude and timing matched, without cross interference. The tools utilized by Mantaro's software development team were adopted and adapted as a key monitoring and analysis tool. This allowed the clients engineering and automation team to more easily refine and tune the control system to maximize uptime, system response, and reliability. Additionally, the tools performance were sufficient to allow the removal of a secondary data network, saving an additional 10% hardware cost, and eliminating significant development work. For more information please view the full case study titled Porting a Legacy Control System to a PXI Platform Running the NI LabWindows/CVI Real-Time Module
Engineering Cost Reduction
An elevator control systems provider was faced with the challenge to reduce the cost of their PLC based elevator control systems. By transitioning the hardware from a PLC based architecture to a Microchip PIC32
based architecture, the client could offer new features while greatly reducing the cost of the product. The client engaged Mantaro due to Mantaro’s extensive knowledge of real-time operating systems and embedded software. Mantaro engineers first developed a requirements document for a board support package (BSP) that would include drivers and other libraries on which they could build their application. This board support package supported such features as FreeRTOS
integration, TCP/IP stack, USB support and drivers for the following: I2C bus, SPI bus, UART, Real-Time Clock and GPIO. Mantaro successfully completed the code and documentation for this BSP and have developed a foundation on which their legacy application code can be ported to.
System Engineering Expertise
A company with expertise in designing RF radios approached Mantaro to help develop a Point-to-Point wireless system based on their 70-80 GHz Radio design.
The goal of the product was to provide a 99.999% error free, reliable Point-to-Point wireless link at a range of 1 mile, complete with remote monitoring capabilities. Mantaro architected a design from the ground up around the existing radio design to achieve the client’s requirements. Mantaro fully developed the telecommunications interface and baseband hardware, embedded software, and higher level software apps necessary to configure, operate, and maintain the link. Management of the radio was accomplished via SNMP and a GUI tool for monitoring, and desktop PC applications for configuring. This radio system is currently offered as a networking solution for service providers that require 1 Gbps bandwidth in a Point-to-Point wireless configuration.