Certifying the perfect product to upgrade a marine Dynamic Positioning system

Wärtsilä Guidance Marine, a leading developer and supplier of local position reference sensors for Dynamic Positioning (DP) and other vessel control systems, wished to upgrade the UX for their dynamic positioning indicator system, with both functional and graphical improvements, and required marine-certified hardware to facilitate the update.
Looking for the perfect product
The initial challenges with the computing hardware were that, combined, the various technical requirements were difficult to find in a single unit. The system had to have an ultra-compact footprint to allow installation into existing enclosures, and also required a low power consumption figure. In addition to these simpler features, the challenge was to find a powerful integrated GPU to run the UX upgrades along with at least two configurable RS-422 serial ports to connect to sensors on the vessel. Furthermore, and most importantly, the final product had to be type-tested and certified to the Marine EN 60945 standard which has challenging elements for EMC compliance.
Delving into the Product Toolkit
Finding a suitable upgradeable solution might be simpler with an unlimited budget, but as the unit to be replaced was a low-power, cost-effective Atom device that even before the performance upgrades in the specification, the budget was naturally tight. Impulse Design Engineers delved into their Product Toolkit and found two differing computing platforms that could potentially facilitate the upgrade, each with their own merits, but nothing that matched the requirements exactly as a Marine certified device of this specification didn’t currently exist.
Testing and benchmarking
To begin with, Impulse Design Engineers worked with the team at Wärtsilä Guidance Marine to test various platforms and benchmark them against their software requirements. To keep within budget, an Intel Quad Core Atom device was initially selected, but its GPU performance was not adequate for the new generation guidance software. Going back to the drawing board, our Design Engineers supplied another test unit which had a higher performance integrated GPU. With an ultra-low power Celeron processing unit, tiny form factor and two configurable RS-422 serial ports, the new platform passed the graphical benchmarking for the customer’s software. The next stage was to put the new system through EN 60945 certification.
Certifying and building the perfect product
With the Celeron system being such a perfect fit for the project’s unique requirements, Impulse began the process of putting the unit, along with its kit of parts, through EN 60945 certification. Once an initial EMC pre-scan was completed to give the project team confidence that the unit would pass the more costly certification process, the full kit of parts was put through the EN 60945 certification process by Impulse. This allowed Impulse to deliver a fully certified processing unit to Wärtsilä Guidance Marine with just a six month turnaround from concept, certification, build and delivery.
Long term supply and support
Due to our large 35,000 sq. ft. facility, we were able to offer flexible call-off schedules to Wärtsilä Guidance Marine, allowing them to balance the expenditure of their project and manage invoicing and product warranties. With thorough soak testing of all systems before shipping along with our dedicated RMA and support teams, Impulse continue to give long-term peace of mind to Wärtsilä Guidance Marine as they deploy the hardware to vessels across the globe. Due to the success of this project, Impulse have been selected to supply 19” type-approved Marine Displays to Wärtsilä Guidance Marine which are used in tandem with the new Celeron processing unit and compliment the upgraded overall graphical performance of the system.
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Impulse services used in this project
Design services
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+44(0)1782 337 800
+44(0)1782 337 800
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