The Client

For over 90 years Mitsubishi Electric has been contributing to the technological progress that transforms modern life, with state-of-the art technology, innovation and high-quality products.

David Bean is the Solutions Manager within the Automation Systems Division at Mitsubishi Electric UK. Mitsubishi Electric has been active within the UK rail sector for over 30 years, providing solutions based on their automation platforms for a diverse range of applications including; lift & escalator control, train movement monitoring, emergency tunnel ventilation systems and traction power switching.

The Challenge

David and his team at Mitsubishi Electric were working on an opportunity to supply the UK rail infrastructure market with a Telemetry Solution to manage traction power switching using DNP3 communications.

They had a potential solution but the DNP3 mechanism of communication deployed, made it far too expensive and therefore not a cost-effective proposition to put forward to end users.

In order to be competitive, Mitsubishi Electric decided to develop the communications integration themselves using a VxWorks based co-processor, called the C Function module, within their iQ-R programmable logic controller range.

David said, “We approached three software houses who specialised in the design of real time embedded systems for industrial automation to propose and tender for the development of the solution”.

“Terzo Digital stood out because they were familiar with the DNP3 communications stack and were able to demonstrate their capability and expertise having worked with other clients in similar applications. Out of the three companies shortlisted, Terzo represented the least risk.”

Working with Terzo

It’s not uncommon for projects with this complexity to throw up unexpected challenges. In this particular case there were gaps in the information initially available on the exact functionality needed to fulfil the requirement.

David said, “Fortunately, we developed a great working relationship with Mark Davison and Neil Tubman at Terzo. They were willing to take part in discussions with our client, which really helped us glean the information that was required.”

Mark said, “We discovered problems that weren’t in the original scope. It certainly helped that we could participate in wider meetings. This allowed us to explain the issues and put forward solutions. If we hadn’t been involved at this level it would have seriously impacted the timescale of the project.”

David said, “Terzo were extremely flexible, always finding a way through. Mark and Neil had a good sense of what was needed and just got on with it. This was incredibly helpful to us.”

The Solution

Mitsubishi Electric’s DNP3 Telemetry solution, called ‘Tracklink RTU’, monitors and manages traction power. The power switching is communicated from a control centre for safety, maintenance and operations to trackside substations via Tracklink RTU.

Terzo’s role in the project was to write the software that directly implemented the DNP3 communications stack on the Mitsubishi Electric iQ-R programmable logic controller, allowing integration with the DNP3 telemetry master station.

David is delighted: “The success of this project was extremely important to us. We now have a cost effective solution that is approved for use on UK rail power infrastructure.
Mark and Neil are a great extension to our team and we’re already talking about the next project.” 

About Terzo Digital

Terzo Digital, based in Surrey, UK provides a comprehensive suite of services for the IT industry, specialising in Operational Technology (OT), the Internet of Things (IoT) and embedded devices. The owners Neil Tubman and Mark Davison provide highly professional software engineering services and products.

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