MECHANISM CONTROL
Configuration, co-ordination and control of cutting edge real time systems. We have extensive experience in producing distributed, embedded, real time solutions working with high-speed mechanisms and machinery.
"... real time system development is a discipline in which we excel."
REAL TIME

Real time system design is a specialist area of software development that focuses on the support of high speed, time critical systems. Typically real time systems are required to control high speed mechanisms or machinery and often use numerous dedicated embedded processors. Developing real time systems is an often underestimated challenge that requires a firm understanding of the issues involved. Software development in most other disciplines has little or no regard for the time taken to perform an operation. Modern processors execute with such speed that software performs its tasks far quicker than is required. However, with real time systems the mechanisms themselves operate with great speed so the timing and coordination of the system becomes significant. Additionally, real time systems often require activities to be scheduled with very high precision, typically in the order of microseconds.

iCubed Technologies has extensive experience designing and developing real time systems. We have confronted and overcome the issues involved and have refined our approach and methodology. As a result we believe that real time system development is a discipline in which we excel.

DISTRIBUTED SYSTEMS

One of our key strengths is our understanding and experience of distributed systems. Distributed systems spread the processing overhead across several processing nodes that interconnect and communicate over a network. This provides great flexibility and scalability so that extra processing can be introduced when and where it is required. Therefore, small simplistic systems need not carry the cost of an expensive central processor. Similarly, large complex systems are not restricted by a central processor that has limited performance. Distributed real time embedded systems are the ideal solution for the configuration and control of complex high speed mechanisms and machinery. This is particularly true for systems that are modular and scaleable.

We have successfully designed and developed complex, mission critical, distributed real time embedded systems using cutting edge processors and communication technologies. We have implemented solutions using VxWorks and other proprietary operating systems and using CAN and Ethernet networks.

REAL TIME STATE MACHINES

We employ many analysis and design techniques when developing real time systems. The most useful of which are componentisation and the definition of real time state machines. In order to simplify and encapsulate the overall complexity of a system it is broken down into components which can be developed individually. To maintain control and synchronisation, all the system components must follow an overall system lifecycle.

The components can then collaborate by sending messages to each other and responding to requests. Each system component has its own state machine design. Embedded components lend themselves well to state modelling. The state model design describes the operations and responses the component performs as it moves through the system lifecycle. The state design defines the valid events that can affect the component in any given state and the actions required when each event occurs. We use industry standard State Event Messaging diagrams to model and document the functionality of each component to provide excellent maintainability.

CONFIGURATION

Distributed systems boast scalability but this must be backed up by well controlled yet flexible system configuration. High configurability not only facilitates the scalability of the underlying architecture but allows a system to be tolerant of faulty hardware or subsystems and be customisable to an end user's specific requirements.

iCubed Technologies have successfully developed highly configurable systems using industry standard database platforms. We also have a wealth of experience in configuration and release management including the development of tools and processes for automatic configuration and end user upgrades.

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