TECHNOLOGY NEWS AND TRENDS FROM PREVAS
3 TECH questions
A success story with ”Prevas inside”.
Test system to ABB for global benefit.
How to turn ideas into innovations.
OHB Sweden gets help from Prevas’ EMC expert
WORLD’S LARGEST TELESCOPE – and Prevas Simulation: ESO
provide parts for the research Page 6
PREVAS / TECH TRENDS
WE ARE ALL PART OF THE GREAT TECHNOLOGY CHALLENGE OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS, many prominent players, corporations and public authorities, in the Swedish electronics field, have joined forces in various initiatives EDITORIAL to highlight the importance of strategic innovation and development of electronic systems to Sweden’s competitiveness. Electronics leading position as a engine of growth for the rest of industry is being exhausted and it is worrisome. Prevas is involved in many forums, attempting to reverse that trend. I’m on the board of directors at Innovative Center for Embedded Systems (ICES), where we, among other things, have developed a new track at The Royal Swedish Institute of Technology (KTH) for embedded systems. This is in collaboration with KTH, Ericsson, Scania, ABB, among others. Another initiative we are active in is the ”Smarter Electronic Systems for Sweden”, a research and innovation agenda whose aim is to make electronic systems a strategic field for Swedish industry. In this setting, Prevas is in a broad collaboration with industry leaders, research institutes and universities. Another initiative is Swedsoft, which has identified three strategic areas important to keep the Swedish elite position; manage complexity, to safeguard dependability and to improve the user experience – exactly the needs Prevas also might face as a company. While checking the status of electronics development, one soon discovers that the lack of investments in product development is a widespread problem throughout Europe. ISTAG (IST Advisory Group, EU Commission) considers that software development is of vital importance to the achievement of higher employment, higher growth and higher prosperity in our future economy and that this kind of development is the one that is going to save Europe. If Scandinavia is to avoid becoming but a big technology museum, we have to improve our competitiveness by discovering innovations in existing products and identifying prospects in new ones. Industry is still the backbone of most national economies. So, capitalizing on this force of innovation will ensure growth, since the electronics industry largely serves as the motor to the rest of industry. An investment in a strategic area of innovation in electronic systems is thus an investment in a country’s competitiveness. Within industries and fields such as automation, telecom, medical technology, household products, vehicles, defense, etc. are embedded electronic system indispensable. Sweden has more than 3,600 electronics companies, with a turnover of 153 billion SEK annually and employs almost 50,000 people. If we, to these figures, add those companies where electronics is a fundamental part of their own products, we reach a total turnover of more than 1, 000 billion SEK ( 2011) and more than 300,000 employees. Still, Scandinavia is among the foremost internationally in electronics development. We want to continue to do so. In this magazine you can read a number of articles about how we have helped our customers meet the big innovation challenge.
JONAS MANN Senior Vice President Product Development, Prevas AB
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NEW GROUP-WIDE AGREEMENT WITH SAAB A new group-wide agreement has been reached between Prevas and the defense and security group SAAB. Thanks to long and fruitful cooperation, Prevas has become a favored partner to SAAB. ×
”Vehicle ICT challenge” Prevas participated in the competition ”Vehicle ICT challenge”, which was arranged by ”Vehicle ICT Arena” in Gothenburg, a collaborative forum for the automotive industry in the western part of Sweden, for universities and for governmental support bodies for industrial development. The competition was held for the second year running and the objective was that the winning contributions are to be implemented in Volvo’s cars within the next five years. Prevas took part with two contributions: ”Smart automatic route planning with safety data broadcasting” and ”Volvo SafeTalk & SafeMeet”. The former made use of the upcoming traffic information databases to automatically generate a smarter route for the driver and the latter was intended to increase safety when outsiders phone or in other ways communicate with Volvo’s future self-driven cars. One of our suggestions made it to the semifinal but unfortunately our involvement came to an end there. However, the competition was very inspiring, which makes us look forward to next year’s tournament, at which time we are adamant to come out on top. A special ”thank you” is due to Ola Qvarnström who supported our efforts admirably. ×
Innovation for Growth Prevas employs 600 people, together serving as main supplier and development partner to leading companies in fields such as energy, automotive, defense, life science, telecom and engineering. www.prevas.com
MIRIS GROWS GLOBALLY WITH ”PREVAS INSIDE” In 2012, Miris won the Swedish Embedded Award with its unique instrument for analysis of breast, cow and buffalo milk. Since then that world-unique instrument has made a triumphal procession throughout large parts of the world and the company has expanded rapidly. Recently, Miris got a break-through order from Bangladesh, much thanks to a rapid initial solution based on software and hardware from Prevas. Miris contacted Prevas in May 2011 to help them solve a end of life problem. In February 2012, the milk analysis instrument with a completely new CPU platform was put into production and sales commenced four months later, exactly one year after startup of the project. At the time of this writing, Miris’ products can be found in approximately 50 countries, and with Germany as the foremost market in Europe. In addition, the company has significant sales in China and South Korea – and a new big order from Bangladesh. A WORLD-LEADING INNOVATION Miris has two business areas: breastmilk analysis for specialized neonatal care and cows and buffalo milk analysis. The analysis method is equal. – We will continue to focus on analysis instruments for nutrition purposes in neonatal care where we are world leaders and have no direct competitors. We are now collaborating with the dairy group Danone, which is active in more than 120 countries and is the marketing channel in the premature care in hospitals. Inject a 1-3ml sample of milk in our instrument and it will in under 60 seconds tell you the nutrition content. The care taker can safely enrich the milk optimised for the need of a individual child, says Tony Malmström, CEO and co-founder of Miris. – Into the other business area, dairy milk analysis, we recently got a large break-through order in the million SEK range. In an effort to raise the quality of domestically produced milk, the stateowned Bangladeshi dairy corporation Milk Vita is investing in our portable analysis instrument. This opens up for future deals also in the private sector of Bangladesh and in similar countries. Bangladesh’s dairies have big problems with milk being diluted on its way from the farms to the dairies. This
means that the milk reaching consumers may contain as much as an additional 30 percent of water. The cows are first brought to a so-called “collection center” and from there to a “chilling center” where the milk is pasteurized and chilled down. At that point, the milk is analyzed by Miri’s instruments. The purpose is to free the dairies from diluted milk or other disallowed additives. “There is an enormous potential among the developing countries,” says Malmström. FINDING THE RIGHT PARTNER The CEO doesn’t hesitate when asked what is most important when a smaller entrepreneurial company with the determination to make it to the world market is looking for a development partner: – The right partner has the ability to put the right competence for every task, wich save us a lot of time. We have, on a continuous basis, made use of 1-4 people from Prevas, depending on our needs during the development process. It is important to the right software developer who are able to do the job well. Being able to solve a problem quickly makes the difference. As new to the game, one is usually not able to reach that level of efficiency, experienced consultants with good contacts with other suppliers, for example Microsoft, are precious. That’s exactly what we found at Prevas. – When I was looking for a development partner I monitored various discussion forums on the web and found that the best individuals appeared to be working for Prevas. I suppose successful development companies simply attract good consultants, says Malmström. ×
FACTS: MIRIS • The name MIRIS is an acronym for ”Mid Infra Red Intelligent System” since mid-infrared spectroscopy is the underlying measuring technology. • Founded in 2001 and listed on Sweden’s Aktietorget stock exchange 2006. • The instrument is able to analyze the contents of fats, proteins, carbohydrates and energy in a number of different liquids. • The instrument is the first, portable mid-IR-instrument for milk analysis on the market. • The company holds a world-wide patent for the underlying measuring technology when used for individual nutritional assessment of premature babies. • Most of the production is outsourced but calibration is performed on the company’s premises in Uppsala, Sweden, where approximately 10 people are working
Innovation for Growth /
Specialist knowledge is absolutely crucial to OHB Sweden Christine Mailhes, Procurement Manager shares her experiences here on why OHB Sweden seeks the help of Prevas’ EMC expert, Thomas Bergkvist.
OHB Sweden AB develops, builds, tests and operates satellites for different types of space-related assignments in communications, observations of the Earth, and space research. OHB is involved all the way from assignment analyses and investigations to the operation of satellites in orbit and in interplanetary assignments.
ANALYSIS, TESTING, AND KNOWLEDGE ARE DECISIVE FACTORS There are about 65 people working at OBH’s Swedish headquarters. Of these 50 are highly qualified engineers. Previously, the company was part of the Swedish Space Corporation but is now a member of the German OHB AG Group. – The development time span of a Swedish OHB project is three years on
Christine Mailhes Procurement Manager, OBH-Sweden
Thomas Bergkvist Senior Electronics Designer Specialist EMC Prevas AB
4 / Innovation for Growth
average. These are long and costly projects where mistakes are costly and, at worst, may lead to us loosing the entire satellite during its mission. For this reason, analyses and tests are of vital importance, says Mailhes, who has collaborated with Bergkvist for years. – Thomas is Prevas’ specialist in electro-magnetic compatibility (EMC) and has deep knowledge in both the physics and the regulations involved. By OHB, Thomas has been given a key role as an independent technological expert whose foremost duties are to question requirements specifications and consult in the preparations of such specifications and then assess the extent to which those specifications are adhered to, says Mailhes. – Thomas assists at many milestones in the course of our projects. He has very specific experience and knowledge in space-regulatory requirements and knows the explicit requirements for EMC relating to the duration of different missions. In telecommunications, a space vehicle must be operational in orbit for 15 years, for earth observations the requirement is 10-11 years. EMC is vitally important in all kinds of product development and the requirements are specified in a large number of standards, of which many are EU Directives. It is fundamental that these directives are complied with.
AN IMPORTANT HELPING HAND As chief procurement officer, Mailhes, among other things, is involved in the preparation of specifications of the equipment required on the company’s space vehicles. – Thomas’ specialist knowledge is
required during the entire course of every project. Often he participates in meetings with individual suppliers. He is there to determine whether or not new tests are required or if clarifications are needed. In this way he contributes strongly to higher quality in our requirements specifications. – We buy a lot of peripheral equipment and there are very specific requirements on every single material, which is why specialist knowledge is imperative. New requirements crop up time and time again. Thomas investigates whether or not the equipment satisfies the requirements imposed and whether or not the performance can be tested for compliance. He understands and is able to read all requirements specifications and suggestions from suppliers and verify the performance of equipment procured. It is also very helpful that Thomas is able to assess whether we are dealing with a major problem or only with a minor one. He is able to help us evaluate quotes from a vendor, be a sounding board in discussions and contribute to wise decisions. That kind of partnership amounts to invaluable support, concludes Mailhes. ×
Do you want to know more or find out what Prevas can do for you, please contact: Maria Månsson, Tel: +46 8 644 3607 E-mail: email@example.com
FLATTER STRIP STEEL WITH ABB’S STRESSOMETER Rolling strip steel is a challenging undertaking. The slightest error in the transversal rolling force may well make the strip run off course or become wavy. For this reason, ABB has developed a flatness meter called Stressometer which is installed in the rolling mill and measures the tensile stress in the strip so it can be rolled straight and flat. ABB’s department for force measuring products has been selling its Stressometer to rolling mill makers throughout the world for many years. Perfectly flat steel strip is required for many subsequent finishing operations, such as in moulding. Wavy sheet metal results in increased scrapping and in higher costs to customers.
A TEST SYSTEM FOR GLOBAL BENEFIT Nothing works forever and sometimes, Stressometers must be handed in for repair. Previously, they were sent to Sweden for that purpose but now ABB is establishing local service centers throughout the world. For this purpose, they need a test rig in which they will be able to test important components, for example, the slip-ring device which transmits measurement data from the pressductor transducers embedded in the measuring roll of the meter to the equipment on the mill floor that then controls the rolling force of the mill. Prevas contributes to this outcome. Hans Ling is the Product Manager at ABB for the mechanical aspects of the Stressometer, including the slip-ring device. He is also the Project Manager for the test equipment which Prevas has been commissioned to develop. – Since a while back, ABB has been using another test equipment which was also developed by Prevas, but unfortunately, the requirements specification for it wasn’t demanding enough, resulting in that equipment could not complete its task. For this reason, Prevas was once again called in, this time to take on the job of a turn-key supplier of a complete test system. By way of a corrected requirements specification, Prevas was commissioned to build a new and better rig for the testing of slip rings, a device that can be produced and used by service technicians worldwide. Acceptance tests will be conducted in April 2014. Deliveries of additional rigs are scheduled to commence shortly thereafter. PREVAS IN THE DRIVER SEAT In the Signal Transmission Unit Test Equipment project, Prevas made use of some ABB components such as a drive motor and motor control equipment. Beyond that, the resulting rig is typical of the kind of components Prevas usually puts into its solutions: electronics, mechanics, electric power, software and measurement data transmission. In addition to the equipment which formed part of the previous solution, further control cabinets have been added. Unlike last time, when ABB supplied the drive motor and its control equipment, this time Prevas was asked to select and supply that equipment. WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS Prevas built a calibration module which is able to measure the quality of data transmission through the slip-ring device. It consists of a measurements acquisition unit from National Instruments, an electrical equipment cabinet
containing everything and a printed circuit board which is fitted into the rotating measuring roll of the equipment. But this is not any run-of-themill circuit board but a circular one, fitted inside the measuring roll of the Stressometer and rotating with it at 4000 rpm. The board gets its power from the slip-ring device through an ingenious transformer arrangement where control signals enter by Bluetooth and the output signals leave through the slip contacts, where they are then forwarded to the measuring equipment and from there to a PC where they are analyzed in LabView. The PC also controls the motor parameters by way of ABB’s drive control unit. – Judging by what we have seen so far of the project, like the software and its updates, we think that Prevas and its subcontractors have put the whole thing together quite nicely. We have been in constant contact and have shared our information and the project has chugged along well. It is an advantage that the Prevas consultant, currently serving as Project Manager, previously consulted at ABB, concludes Hans Ling. ×
Innovation for Growth /
The world’s largest telescope
– AND PREVAS PROVIDE PARTS FOR THE RESEARCH European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) is precisely what the name suggests. The plan is to construct a gigantic astronomical telescope. Prevas has contributed with parts used to investigate whether or not the design is feasible.
▲ E-ELT FINISHED. SIMULATION: ESO.
Why do we need yet another telescope? There are 13 major telescopes throughout the world and all of them are always occupied. There are six times as many research proposals than there is telescope time for.
▲ THE PLANNED E-ELT TELESCOPE WILL BRING IMMENSE IMPROVEMENT IN TRACKING-QUALITY, COMPARED TO CURRENT HIGH-QUALITY TELESCOPES. PHOTO: ROBERTO GLIMOZZI, ESO.
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Why does it have to be so big? There are many things out there in the universe which we do not yet understand, for instance how solar systems and Earth-like planets come about, how the universe has developed from its beginning and what this universe looked like when the first stars and galaxies were formed. And
there are still no final answers to the questions surrounding “dark energy”. The plan is make E-ELT into a reflecting telescope with an effective reflector-lined surface of more than 120 m 2 , making it today’s largest reflective telescope area. When the European Southern Observatory (ESO) consortium has finished constructing the telescope by 2020, it will be powerful enough to directly visualize planets orbiting stars outside our solar system. Space telescopes, such as Hubble and Herschel, already give us fantastic pictures of earlier galaxies and of the birth of stars, but
PREVAS / TECH TRENDS
equipment put into space is expensive, difficult to repair and has a limited lifetime. Shards mean happiness The E-ELT is intended to be the largest telescope for visible light that man has ever built and it will be able to look further than any other instrument towards the creation of the universe. The main reflector, with a diameter of 39 meter, also called M1, is assembled from 798 smaller hexagonal pieces, each 1.4 meter across. All the reflective pieces are assembled to form a single parabolic receiver. This is envisaged to be achieved by putting each piece on a stand equipped with three actuators which are able to align the piece towards the focal point of the telescope. The control data necessary for keeping the pieces correctly aligned are recalculated cyclically and transmitted to the drive electronics of the actuators behind each piece. The requirements placed on this telescope are at the limits of what is currently technologically possible. For that reason, a team at E-ELT in Germany is currently working on the construction of a pilot facility to prove the feasibility of the requirements. Hans Nyström at Prevas cuts in: – The actuators will be supplied with control data by Ethernet. We at Prevas have contributed with our Ethernet adapters and National Instruments’ FPGA boards equipped with our coding and decoding algorithms for the UDP protocol. – ESO has tough requirements for everything and the people there are extremely knowledgeable. So, when they tried our solution, errors emerged which we ourselves had not discovered. The advanced setup and the tough timing requirements are extreme factors that made fault tracing difficult. But thanks to ESO, we were able to find the cause and correct the problem. Don’t twinkle, twinkle little star High resolution tracking is counteracted by the atmosphere itself; it is in constant motion and tends to make images blurry and shaky. This is why stars appear to be twinkling to the naked eye. Space telescopes do not have this problem. For Earth-based telescopes there are methods for correcting
the atmosphere’s bad influence. By using deformable and adaptive optics (popularly called “rubber optics”) in the form of a reflective surface which can be bent and realigned, this negative effect can be counteracted. E-ELT is equipped with a reflector in the ray path called M4 with a diameter of 2.5 meters but only 2 millimeter thick, which will be deformable by actuators, no less than 6,000 of them. These must be re-adjustable a thousand times a second to compensate for atmospheric disturbances. The method has been used before, for example on the 1.1 meter large secondary reflector on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Paranal. Leif Johansson at National Instruments explains: – National Instruments (NI) has been involved in the development of a prototype for verification of the control system for the M1 and M4 reflectors. NI has delivered hardware to the pilot facility in the form of the PXI platform (PCs) and the Compact RIO platform (industrial I/O). Both of these platforms include both processors and FPGAs. When developing its prototype, ESO made use of NI’s graphical development environment, LabView, for development of both software and programmable logic (VHDL) for NI’s hardware. ESO’s VLT at Paranal, described above, has contributed to many scientific breakthroughs and has also given ESO expertise in the planning and construction of this type of telescope. This know-how is now being put to use at ESO’s test facility in Germany. The plan is that the telescope will be operational by the beginning of the next decade. More than 30 European companies and scientific institutions are involved in the development effort, which also offers great potential for spin-offs and technology transfers – as well as a dramatic opportunity to showcase the capabilities of European industry. ×
Do you want to know more or find out what Prevas can do for you, please contact: Hans Nyström, Tel: +46 31 725 1866 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
▼ PART OF THE DEFORMABLE OPTICS, EMPLOYING 350 ACTUATORS, WHERE TECHNOLOGY FROM NATIONAL INSTRUMENTS IS INCLUDED. PHOTO: ESO.
▲ PART OF THE M1 REFLECTOR WHERE TECHNOLOGY FROM PREVAS AND NATIONAL INSTRUMENTS IS INCLUDED. PHOTO: ESO
READ MORE E-ELT: http://www.eso.org/public/teles-instr/e-elt/ IMPRESSIVE IMAGES: http://www.eso.org/public/images/archive/ category/e-elt/ PREVAS MIMAS: http://www.prevas.se/mimas_prevas.html NATIONAL INSTRUMENTS: http://sine.ni.com/np/app/main/p/ap/global/lang/sv/ pg/1/sn/n24:cRIO/
Innovation for Growth /
PREVAS / TECH TRENDS
How to turn ideas into innovations WE ASKED THREE OF OUR OWN CONSULTANTS, CURRENTLY ON ASSIGNMENTS AT CUSTOMERS, FOR THEIR VIEWS ON HOW TO ACHIEVE A FASTER RATE OF INNOVATION AND WHERE THE BIGGEST HURDLES LIE.
Manfred Thorell System Development Consultant, B.Sc.CE Prevas Stockholm
Embedded Software Designer, M.Sc. Prevas Uppsala
Test System Developer, M.Sc.E.E Prevas Göteborg
INNOVATION FOR GROWTH 8
1) Which innovation challenges do you think our customers are facing?
2) What do you consider to be the most important prerequisites for success?
3) What can Prevas do to best help its customer?
1) Many of our customers have established products where innovation consists of products equipped with new capabilities. This is often made by introducing components into those products from new technology which are unfamiliar to our customers.
maturity level and feasibility. - To carry out practical development work when new technology is to be integrated.
the views of stakeholders such as installation and service people.
Some of the challenges then arising are: - To, from a systemic perspective, understand the product and what happens when new components and new functionality are introduced. - To master the new technology well enough and to assess technological
2) To have a good grasp of how the contemplated solution is positioned relative to other possible solutions considered during the innovative process and solutions provided by competitors. It is also important to drive the investigative and experimental phases far enough before the full-scale development phase is started. And to be receptive to feedback from the field before and after the product launch, including
3) Prevas has lots of experience in the development of products containing components from different technologies, not least from analytical instruments and medical devices. Consequently we are well seasoned in the handling of challenges like those mentioned. Since Prevas is active in so many industrial fields, the likelihood is great that there exists precisely the kind of competence our customers need for their next innovation project within Prevas.
1) The challenges often differ, depending on the size of the company. In a big company it may be difficult to get colleagues to respond positively to one’s ideas and to get the necessary development resources, in a smaller company the required resources may not be available in-house. Regardless of company structure, the big challenge is to turn a good idea or prototype into a well functioning product that can be made at a reasonable cost. It can also be challenging to have full control of rules and regulatory requirements.
2) It is important to be open-minded and to listen to other people’s views and not to be reluctant to ask for help. Even if there may be plenty of know-how available, all the aspects of the issue may not be fully covered, all the angles not fully thought out or the latest applicable technologies fully known. Another thing is to focus and limit the project to the original plan. Finally it is of course important that the project is staffed with people with the right skills.
3) I see Prevas as a natural partner in development projects, a company which is able to assist in many different ways, in all stages of a project, from feasibility study to resource addition to project management. We also have specialist knowledge, breadth of competence and access to a large competence network, all making us uniquely suited to turn-key assignments.
1) A challenge to our customers is probably not to come up with lots of new ideas but to find those innovative ideas that already exists, those that have the potential to become something new and revolutionizing – and not only to spot the idea but also to have the drive to develop it. If one fails here, the competitors may well take over. A known example here is the fact that Xerox was first out with a personal computer but failed to invest sufficiently in the technology, which paved the way for Steve Jobs and Apple who saw the potential, swiped the idea and developed a successful product. To identify the most promising ideas and then develop them the right people must be
put in the right positions and that, to me, is the biggest challenge.
3) The fact that we are able to provide competence at many different levels, I think, is a big advantage to innovative projects. Prevas has a unique range of competences and we are able to mix and match these competences to the needs of every project. Additionally, we have management consultants who can help with helicopter view and give the project the necessary conditions. We also have experienced project managers who are able to drive any project in the right direction and technological specialists in a number of fields.
2) A basic requirement for bringing any development project to a successful conclusion is to have the right competence in the right place and that the project is allocated the resources it needs, that sufficient time is set aside for development work, etc. It is also important that there are people around who believe in the project, not only inside the project team but also higher up in the organization.