Case Study: Transportable Control Centre

Transportable Control Centre

Introduction

An international company, a specialist in providing  AUV (autonomous under water vehicles) had an urgent requirement for a transportable control centre to be designed for a new application.  The application was for the remote control of vehicles being used for harbour and coastal surveillance. The client had its own engineering resource & ability but these had been committed to other mainstream product developments involved within their product portfolio of AUV solutions.

BVM were  commissioned to design, manufacture and certify the control centre solution for enabling operation with a marine environment.  After consultation with the client, an industrial PC design with means of an HMI in a Pelicase was decided upon to provide both portability and a robust/rugged platform.

The Challenge

The requirement was essentially for a high-powered PC driving an 18.5” TFT LCD with projective capacitive  touch screen. The system needed to be operational and easily readable in high-brite/sunlight conditions both on land and on board a sea Rib vessel. The control centre solution needed to also ensure against atmospheres containing levels of salt and moisture/water from the surrounding (at times – hostile) environment.  The solution also needed the integration of a number of custom interfaces pre-specified by the customer – being made available via waterproof connectors. This also included the HDMI interfacing for a secondary display output. 

Transportable Control Centre Pelicase PC

The required specification and needed design brought issues of power supply design (both AC and DC inputs) and cooling. The design was additionally complicated by the requirement to have all- round IP67 ingress protection whilst still allowing heat to be extracted from the enclosure. Provision of certification was required for both IP67 and EN 60529.

Finally, delivery of the first prototype was required in a relatively short timescale (10 -12 weeks).

Transportable Control Centre UAV

The Design

The design, built into a machined Pelicase (to tailor the enclosure internally), comprised the main features of :-

  • 18.5 high-bright (1,000 Nit) 1920 x 1080 (FHD) TFT display with projective capacitive touchscreen
  • 3.5″ SBC with Intel i7-8665UE CPU
  • 16GB SODIMM PC2666 DDR4 Wide Temperature memory
  • mSATA3 SSD 1TB MLC  with Power & Data Guard storage
  • 150W 12VDC Embedded Power Supply
  • Custom cooling solution
  • Network and fibre connectivity.
  • Windows 10 IoT bespoke operating system

Additionally…….

  • Display and connectors were built around an aluminium bezel which formed a water tight seal when the Pelicase lid was opened.
  • Cooling was provided via a copper and aluminium heat sink, exposed through the base of the Pelicase with cooling fins on the outside of the Pelicase.
  • The computing engine was provided via an IEI 3.5” ‘Wafer’ SBC with an embedded I7 CPU to minimise heat output. It was mounted directly on the inside of the heatsink and enclosed in an aluminium box to ensure EMC integrity.
  • Fittings within the Pelicase were kept to a minimum and those that were required to pierce the outer structure were sealed against water and dust ingress.

The Result

  • The final (production) design for the transportable control centre met (and passed) all specified certifications (IP67 and EN 60529) and possessed the external connectivity specifically requested by the client.  The design was also lab tested for conducted and radiated emissions and susceptibility.
  • To ensure sunlight readability and display of image visibility, the 18.5” TFT screen deployed within the design possessed suitable brightness levels and good all-round viewing angles.
  • Extensive heat chamber testing confirmed the control centre being operational in a temperature range from -20 to +50 degrees C.

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BVM supply a wide and diverse range of Industrial and Embedded Systems. From Industrial Motherboards, SBCs and Box PCs, to Rack Mount computers and Industrial Panel PCs. Our supporting team have all worked in industrial and embedded environments for a number of years, consequently providing knowledge, experience and good advice around all BVM’s products & services when and where you need it.  We don’t profess to know everything you need at the time  – but we’ll always help in the first instance and get back to you when a little more information is required.

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