DornerWorks Case Studies
We delight in finding creative ways of applying our engineering expertise — not only to solve technical problems, but also to give our clients business solutions.
Aerospace Case Studies
Provide the necessary software without the advantage of utilizing a real simulation environment. Improve the performance of the system by developing a faster network protocol stack interfacing to the SCOE that eliminated unnecessary message copies within the stack.
DornerWorks developed software improvements for Civil Holds to dynamically resize holding patterns based on planned fly time. This improved the old method where there was a fixed-size pattern with no guarantee the pilot would be in position to exit the holding pattern at the desired time. Another critical area where our engineers contributed was in its “mark points” feature. This is a part of the GPS system that marks the present aircraft position as a reference for future use. These positions are stored in a database and can then be used for future flight planning operations. Additionally, our engineers improved the “alternate destination” feature. This feature calculates alternate destinations, including the time and the remaining fuel required to land thereby improving the older system by adding the capability to activate the alternate plan at the press of a button. Each of these features was tested with flight simulation software.
Interfacing different hardware elements for the new Pave Pillar Common Module / Integrated Rack technology of the Advanced Tactical Fighter (YF-23A).
Our engineers modified and extended the Unisys Maintenance Controller executive software to be used by the SCI Bulk Memory Module (BMM), including the memory control functions. The extensions included a new interface to the PI-Bus control chip. They rewrote SITE bus handler drivers, improving their efficiency by a factor of two. They also integrated the PI bus command and ATP processing into the executive and simulated all the BIT tests. They also integrated the Application Test Program software for the ATF Common Module BMM and implemented debug software downloaded to the SCI BMM. They were then involved with testing the BMM hardware and the BMM ATP software. The system was developed according to MIL-STD-2167.
In developing a system that allows patching of code without compiling in the testing environment.
On the P-8A our team members were instrumental in developing and using a simulator for the interaction of the cockpit and weapons of the aircraft to the stores computers, a simulation of the autopilot that allowed a large number of different conditions to be checked in a limited amount of time, and developing a system that allows patching of code without compiling in the testing environment.
The simulator interfaced with the Controller Area Network (CAN) of each of the two stations, and provided the CAN data to emulate the data that the Sonobuoy launchers would provide if connected. This system used a National Instruments Controller Card in a PCI slot of a PC. The simulator could send an assortment of data from the launchers to the station to ensure that it handled all of the scenarios tested, as well as reporting of values in fields correctly. The simulator was written using the C++ .NET framework 1.1. Our engineers developed a set of .NET libraries to interface with the National Instruments Controller Card. The GUI for the system provided an interface to set values in each of the messages as well as change settings on the National Instruments Controller Card. The GUI allowed the user to interface with each of the six launchers, individually organizing them by fields stated in the ICD.
Updating the hardware and modification of the associated software.
Our engineers worked on the Stores Management System Upgrade (SMUG). This included a processor board containing a PowerPC processor, non-volatile memory, and watchdog timer; a rugged power supply card; and I/O cards including video I/O, analog I/O, digital discretes, high-voltage fusing outputs, and 1553 communication. Our engineers also managed the test and integration team to incorporate, debug, and validate the upgraded system on the F/A-18 simulator and automated test equipment. Because the upgrade included replacing an obsolete, custom processor that used little-endian ordering with a the new PowerPC processor that used big-endian ordering of data, significant changes were required in the low-level software drivers and test code. Our ability to work with where the software and hardware met, was critical to the project’s success.
Since 2005, DornerWorks has played an important role in several design phases of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Below are highlights of this project.
To develop simple and cost effective SAM test equipment widget allowing simulation of error and fault conditions within the airflow system.
We provided the customer with a simulated environment in order to test the 787 Cabinet Airflow Mechanisms and sensors including the main cabinet and mini-cabinet that housed the GPMs and PCM (managed the Airflow through the cabinets to prevent damage from overheating). The system included a single board computer (PIC 8-bit processor). The black box interfaces included pressure input, voltage levels, and current level GPIO PWM. They developed a SAM test equipment widget allowing simulation of error and fault conditions that were otherwise difficult or costly to test within the airflow system. The SAM widget also simulated the output of the airflow equipment during nominal conditions if desired.
In another phase of the 787 Dreamliner, we were asked to create a system definition and the resulting VHDL and identify discrepancies between the board layout and the simulated board layout.
The Control System Board is a dual CPU, dual FPGA, and dual ASIC board running full ARINC653 partitioning used as the main computing resource for the entire aircraft. During development, our expertise in Virtutech Simics enabled our engineers to emulate the AFDX communications and identify and resolve issues in the software. Our testing led to us improving several key pieces of the software including significant enhancement to the ARINC-665 data-loader.
Our team members were instrumental in developing a redundant fault tolerant design, general purpose DMA engines, and a UART, all targeted for an ARINC 653 partitioned operating environment. We were also the system architects for the multiple CPU interface for the ASIC. Context specific hardware exception handling to support/ allow different behaviors. ISR rewritten to allow AltiVec handling for some partitions and not for others.
Proper routing of exceptions into AE653 partitions and ensuring the guaranteed separation of the partitions was another design aspect. Designed into the AE653 was a mechanism to ensure that the module Operating System and health monitoring application wee running by implementing a two level software watchdog timer system. Our engineers expert knowledge of BSP and AE653 ensured it did not impact system timings. We performed the required analysis of OS and unpublished data structures to identify key parameters and areas then work with WindRiver to ensure stability of these structures.
Additionally, tests were written by our staff to ensure DO-178B level A compliance and DER acceptance of the changes. Data on the 787 Dreamliner V&V shows that DornerWorks produced very high quality tests, resulting in a first pass correctness rate of 96% compared to a rate of 52% produced by some of our competition. Our quality yields the lowest overall cost, saving around 30% when compared to others who have less effective systems.
“The members of your team are consistently highly regarded. That is why we do not hesitate to send difficult technical tasks to your team. I am not sure what you guys are doing to attract the top talent, but we sure like the results.”—Engineering Manager, major aviation company
Develop a motor control software system using independent flap position sensing.
DornerWorks engineers successfully developed a Trapezoidal Control of a BLDC motor using Hall effect sensors for speed and position control. It also used RVDT excitation for flap position sensing that was done in parallel with motor control sensing for independent verification of the flap positioning. We performed requirements development, software architecture (including software prototyping), software implementation, and software verification (high-level and low-level). This included all necessary BIT and communications between controllers and Ground support Equipment. This project demonstrated DornerWorks to effectively move commercial motor control technology into a flight worthy DO-178B system.
Medical Case Studies
To move large patients on the bed without risking injury to hospital staff.
How to fit a high power system into a very small footprint and still meet the thermal and other requirements of UL 60601-1.
DornerWorks developed the electronic and software system which performed analog I/O, motor control, power regulation, and control of the device. A very high density board layout was needed to fit within limited space and this meant particular care needed to be used to meet the strict heat and EMI requirements dictated by UL 60601-1 in a high power design. Through the creative application of dual-use circuits and advanced motor control techniques, the system was designed, implemented, and met the regulatory directives.
A cost effective way for physicians to control chronic back pain in their patients.
Providing the industry’s first and only radiofrequency generator able to handle up to 4 lesions simultaneously and with independent control, and the first device of its kind to do this using a full-touch screen interface.
On this project we worked closely with our client in developing the firmware which measured and controlled the impedance and thermal elements, controlled the waveform of the RF energy being delivered, provided several software components, and internationalized the user interface. DornerWorks engineering expertise allows us to help at low-level implementations, as well as at the user-interface level, for embedded device development.
Dental Practitioners needed a more scientific method of color matching veneers and crowns for their patients.
Designing a system that was capable of taking high quality images for the application of advanced color matching techniques with low cost electronics that could fit in the palm of the dentist’s hands – and be comfortable for the patient.
In order to minimize the handheld device’s advanced processing requirements, a system level approach of taking the images on the handheld device and then uploading them to a desktop PC was taken. This allowed the advanced and complex color matching techniques to be implemented with the power of a desktop computer. However, the handheld device had to take very good quality pictures and download them to the PC in a timely manner. USB was chosen as the interface, which at the time was an emerging technology. DornerWorks was critical in the development of this new high speed interface. Also, a CMOS sensor was chosen as a low cost camera device alternative over the then popular CCD imagers. DornerWorks was critical in the development of the FPGA controller for the CMOS sensor as well as moving the image data into memory via the onboard PowerPC microcontroller’s Direct Memory Access (DMA) controller.
A customer* found themselves in an undesirable position of needing a field installable retrofit on a product to avoid a general recall.
Finding a means of working with existing hardware and modifying the low level software to improve the accuracy of the device.
Developed and tested software that helped the client avoid a costly and damaging recall thereby saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars. DornerWorks can help you on not only your new product development needs, but also in modifying and upgrading your existing products.
Automotive Case Studies
Tire pressure is balance based on a number of variables including weather, driver ability, temperature, and road conditions. A dynamic tire pressure alert system was needed to meet consumer safety objectives.
To design a system which used radio frequency (RF) technology to deliver pressure information to a central receiver located in the vehicle’s overhead console through sensors mounted in each tire.
DornerWorks Engineers designed an RF based tire pressure monitoring system, including the antenna design using a Schrader/Bridgeport pressure sensor. This solution was a 433 MHz based RF system using a Schrader/Bridgeport pressure sensor, and was deployed in a variety of Chrysler vehicles. This design demonstrates DornerWorks ability to integrate devices into small robust packages for use in harsh environments.
Eliminate driver error when determining high beam usage in a consumer vehicle.
Design software architecture to correctly function with a camera image data, while handling all the other tasks in real time.
Our engineers designed J1939 Bus Communication, OSEK RTOS , BSP for hardware, boot loader, low level control of Rear View Camera, backlight control and instruments diagnostics. We developed algorithms that accounted for an array of road conditions. This project yielded a product that not only automatically turned vehicle high beams on and off according to surrounding traffic conditions, but substantially improving a driver’s forward vision thereby improving safety.
To develop a hands free phone system utilizing Bluetooth technology to enhance driver focus and increase safety.
Integrate Bluetooth technology, speech recognition, and audible cueing to initiate cell phone calls, keep record of phonebook favorites, and offer internet connectivity to the vehicle. This module controlled and integrated into several other systems in the vehicle including the stereo system, automotive body electronics, and user interface controls.
This system, for use in Honda and Chrysler models, utilized an XScale ARM 9 Processor, IBM Voice Recognition Software, Broadcom Bluetooth Radio, Bluetooth Stack, Flash File System, J1939 CAN Bus Communication, and QNX RTOS Multi Process/multi-threaded system with inter-process communication. The end product successfully provided a smooth customer interface to electronics systems (Stereo, MP3 players, door locks, and access vehicle diagnostics). Through this design, our engineers were able to reduce the overall cost of a hands-free system to our customer!
Integrate Viewpoint Mobility’s rear-entry, lowered floor Vision™ automated wheelchair access system for the Toyota Sienna minivan.
Provide the customer with a complete working design that a competitor had failed to deliver to our client. Tight delivery dates and the customer’s reputation were the number one priority for DornerWorks.
Our solution included utilizing a Microchip PIC microcontroller for the motor control and a Microchip PIC microcontroller to interface to the Toyota vehicle for detection when the vehicle was in park as well as to interface to other aspects of the vehicle. In less than 4 weeks, we delivered to Viewpoint Mobility a production ready system that met all of their design goals, stringent industry standards, as well as some additional features that were recommended and decided to be added. At the press of a button, the rear hatch opens, the ramp unfolds and the van lowers to the ground making the van accessible to people in a wheelchair.
“We changed over to DornerWorks after several issues with our previous Hardware and Software design firm. We found DornerWorks to be a full service electronics & controls development firm. They provided me with technical expertise as well as great communication and program management. The combination of these attributes has lead to a successful, on-time, and on-budget project.”Image used with permission from Viewpoint Mobility, Inc.—Engineering Manager, Viewpoint Mobility
Industrial Case Studies
Thousands of dollars in wasted energy running industrial fans when plants were empty. Customers needed an efficient and “greener” alternative to manage energy costs during shift fluctuations.
Design a system that could accurately transmit long term on/off data (up to a year) into a hand held remote and to synchronize the programming from the computer into the handheld device.
In this industrial project, we worked to design the control system hardware for this wireless application. In this case, we designed the complete system,including the an infrared communication protocol, PC support software, low power infrared transmitter, and low power infrared receiver that allowed communication at about 70 feet. Designing a small ~70mA transformer -with less AC -> 5V power supply.
Allow crawling text for dynamic corporate presentations on large format video screens.
System needed to be controlled through an embedded web server interface as well as an automated phone interface on very limited resources. To have an entire web server, (that is, HTTP GET, and POST request handling), a complete configurable automated phone answering system, complete RS-422 network stack, and the video overlay management system running on a processor at 60 MHz with 32k of RAM without an operating system.
We developed a text-over-composite-video overlay device with web browser and phone interface. Decoded the NTSC video stream at 30 frames per second, added graphical content to each frame, and encoded it back into NTSC. The device supports multiple lines of crawling text and video logos with transparency. In addition, the device supports bitmaps screen (optionally sourced from the onboard frame capture feature), audio overlays, and a private network for synchronization and information sharing (including program updates.) DornerWorks helped to refine the initial specifications from the customer and then designed the circuit card, processor firmware, and programmable logic for the FPGA. Prototypes were delivered and assistance was given to support UL certification and large volume manufacturing.
Rail systems need constant maintenance and extensive daily monitoring of rail safety and integrity, critical to passenger and cargo safety. An accurate and technologically advanced method of checking rail safety was needed in the marketplace.
Provide an interactive system that would work in a rail safety vehicle to accurately measure fluctuations in track wear and provide consistent reports for maintenance personnel.
DornerWorks developed custom software, embedded XP, and integrated Commercial-Off-The-Shelf components to create a system that accurately measures the gauge and levelness of railroad tracks. This system utilized lasers to measure the gage of the rails, incorporated a sensor that measured distance traveled and a second sensor that measured the incline, and also used GPS as a location measurement input.
This is a breakthrough product in its market, and DornerWorks took a proof of concept version to a final production version, improving the measurement performance by over 500%.
“The work you did … solved a real problem for us and provided our customer with a useable solution to the software issue on a very marketable product. As we move forward with our other projects we will most certainly be using DornerWorks for the market ready operator interfaces and software requirements. DornerWorks offers a unique approach to operator interfaces which fits very well with our requirements for user friendly but sophisticated software.”—President, large industrial metrology company