Control System from EDI

Thursday, August 26, 1999
Electronic Design, Inc. (EDI), designs and manufactures shipboard control and monitoring systems, training and simulation systems, and related products for large and small ships; both commercial and military. In 1997, EDI was chosen to participate in the U.S. Navy's Smart Ship project, and was awarded a contract to completely retrofit the hardwired Machinery Plant Control and Monitoring System (MPCMS) aboard an amphibious troop carrier (LSD 47), with a state-of-the-art, processor-based, software system using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology. Smart Ship was conceived in 1996 by the Navy to evaluate its future with respect to manpower and cost. It was clear COTS technology and reduced manning were essential elements. EDI was tasked with implementing, installing and integrating a user-friendly, highly reliable, computer-based Engineering Control System (ECS) to emulate the existing hard-wired control system for the propulsion plant, electric plant and auxiliary plants. EDI designed the ECS software package using COTS software with color CRTs and Trackballs as the primary user interface. The original MPCMS was removed from the ship and replaced by 15 COTS Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and 12 Windows NT-based workstations. The workstations and PLCs were connected via Ethernet to a fiberoptic Local Area Network (LAN). To enhance reliability, the workstations and PLCs have redudant Ethernet connections to access the LAN. EDI was also responsible for training the ship's personnel, development of an embedded onboard trainer, and complete recommissioning of the main propulsion plant, electric generating plant and auxiliary systems. Additionally, in 1997, EDI delivered the largest, most advanced shipboard machinery automation system ever built in the U.S. Also using COTS hardware and software, the system monitors and controls more than 5,000 parameters on strategic sealift ship USNS Bob Hope (T-AKR 300). The system, certified by ABS and USCG for periodically unattended machinery operation, employs five Windows NT workstations and 26 data acquisition units, communicating over an Ethernet network. Shipboard personnel interface with the system using a combination of console mounted controls and keyboard/trackball commands with CRT mimics. This is an ongoing program, which will eventually include seven ships.

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