Positive outlook for EPD

14 February 2001 News

The year 2000 was a very successful year for EPD. We had significant growth in sales and completed our engineering projects successfully. We have also moved to bigger and better premises from where we hope to better serve our clients.

The outlook for the year 2001 must be positive. People have started to work together, our government is one of the most stable in Africa and our economy is also one of the strongest. Let us hope and pray that crime will be curtailed even more and the prospects for the future will be even better.

New CPU platform

Our main principal, Ampro, developed the EnCore product range last year. As an indication of the significance of this, the EnCore CPU Platform has been selected as a finalist in the 2000 EDN Innovation for the Year Awards Contest. We expect this platform to be very successful in South Africa too. Applications that are not well suited to PC/104 will benefit from this platform.

In essence the EnCore platform is a CPU module in the truest sense of the word. It is designed to mount on a custom logic board - a baseboard - and really is the client's unique application. The interface between the EnCore module and the baseboard is clustered onto three 44-pin connectors and a separate 120-pin connector for the PCI bus. The PCI bus provides the basis for adding application-specific logic, in the form of PCI-bus compatible ICs.

The EnCore module includes 3D graphics, LCD support, Ethernet, Sound, RAM etc. The CPU is currently Intel, but a MIPS architecture processor is due soon. The ideal client for EnCore would be an embedded systems manufacturer who designs boards but does not want to be burdened with designing CPU subsystems. This manufacturer will design his own unique application and just plug in the EnCore CPU module to complete the system. Ampro will thus solve the CPU subsystem hardware and software issues.

Look out for EnCore success stories this coming year and see how to beat your competitor in winning the product to market race.

Autocalibration catches on

Diamond Systems Corporation developed autocalibration technology last year and successfully brought it to the PC/104 analogue I/O module market. Embedded products per definition imply that boards are buried deep inside equipment. Calibration uses up time, and requires written instructions and expensive external equipment. These problems can be elegantly solved by autocalibration. All the calibration signals and intelligence are built right into the board. Calibration is instant and accurate and can be performed as often as desired, for example every time the unit is powered up.

We have seen a slow acceptance of this concept in South Africa but I predict a big movement towards autocalibration technology as more and more engineers see the real benefits and advantages to their embedded products.

Industrial networking

With the proliferation of Ethernet I/O products each requiring star topology, a companion industrial grade Ethernet hub was needed. Based upon the success of the AI series of Arcnet repeaters, links and hubs, Contemporary Control Systems last year introduced the EI series of Industrial Ethernet hub products. This year the Industrial Ethernet Switch was introduced. I expect these products to make significant inroads into industrial applications and see many uses for them.

Of course many new products will be introduced this year and we will all be busier than ever. May we all find time to do the things that are really significant and will stand the test of time. May all be blessed abundantly in this coming year.

Note: EPD has a new physical address and phone details: First Floor, Einstein Park II, 102 Witch-Hazel Street, Highveld Technopark, Centurion, tel: (012) 665 9700, fax (012) 665 0229.


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