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Services

Digital Power & Motion offers off-the-shelf products, custom designed products, and engineering and manufacturing services. We are experts in all phases of customized industrial controls from the up-front system engineering through the ongoing manufacturing of the product. We would love to discuss with you any product you would like us to make or any service you would like us to perform.

Microchip Design Partner 

Digital Power & Motion is a recognized Microchip Design Partner.  We are recognized as experts in:

  • Software
  • Hardware
  • 8, 16, and DSC micros
  • Analog
  • CAN, USB and Ethernet connectivity
  • Motor Control
  • Battery Management
  • Sensors
  • Power Supplies
  • Full Turn-Key Manufacturing.   (top)

Systems Engineering

Digital Power & Motion begins a new project by capturing the Customer's project's vision in a Statement of Work. In this document we attempt to outline the Customer's wishes and our approach to satisfy these wishes. Next we produce the Requirements Document(s). In these documents we detail all aspects of the project including functional requirements, environment requirements, mechanical requirements, electrical requirements, and software requirements. The Statement of Work and the Requirements Documents are necessary for all projects to make sure that Digital Power & Motion fully understands the needs and wants of the Customer. Depending on the scope of the project, other documents may be beneficial such as the User Interface Description. This document gives the Customer an idea of how they will interact with the machine before the functionality has been implemented, and affords the Customer the opportunity to make changes at an early stage. Finally, depending on the complexity of the project, modeling and simulation with Matlab/Simulink or LabView may be employed to test ideas and models before "going to copper".  (top)

Hardware Design

With the system engineering complete, hardware design proceeds with hierarchical block diagrams that first define the system at the highest and most abstract level and then progressively refine it to the lowest level details, typically pins on electronic components. These efforts typically take place in Visio to capture the highest level block diagrams for the purposes of communications with the Customer. Mid and lower level block diagrams can be captured in a hierarchical schematic entry package such as OrCAD's Capture. Worst case analysis design practices are employed throughout and large margins are used to guarantee operation over component variations, environmental changes, and time.

With schematic entry complete, the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) layout commences. This process begins by roughly ordering the components in an unbounded space in a spatial orientation similar to that in the electrical schematic. By doing this, placement is optimized to the criterion of minimization of signal path lengths. Once components are optimally placed and oriented based on their global function, the circuit groups are then brought together around the microcontroller minimizing required PCB area.

Next the power then signal tracks are routed. This is where the copper traces, planes and pours are defined that satisfy the necessary electrical interconnections. Except for the smallest and simplest of PCBs, Digital Power & Motion uses four or more layer PCBs to satisfy the routing. By providing power and ground planes, the final product is much less susceptible to electromagnetic transient noise always present in industrial equipment. While our circuits are typically designed with 50% electrical and thermal margins, and therefore run cool, the additional heat spreading effect of the planes helps with localized heat dissipation.

Many of Digital Power & Motion's products are approved by Underwriters Laboratory (UL).  We have the experience and know how to work with UL to get your product approved.

Digital Power & Motion's practice of providing large design margins provides for great reliability, robustness and long life.  (top)

Software Design

A robust and capable pile of silicon, fiberglass and copper is just that without the software. All of Digital Power & Motion's designs are centered around a microcontroller or microprocessor to provide the necessary calculations, communications and decision making. We are firm believers that minimizing hardware and doing as much work as possible in software minimizes recurring costs and maximizes reliability. We were putting 8-bit microcontrollers into simple industrial controllers in the mid-80's before flash memory existed and mass produced controllers required mask programming of the microcontrollers. With microcontrollers ranging from 8-bit units in 6-pin packages to 32-bit units in packages with more than 100 pins, there's one for every need.

Software design also proceeds in a top-down fashion using hierarchical design methodologies. Block diagrams, flow charts, and most importantly, state diagrams are used extensively. State diagrams are the optimal method to capture flow and interactions in a real-time embedded system. Modern day design tools often allow automatic code generation from state diagrams. All software, except the most time critical interrupt service routines, is written in the C programming language. Some C++ compilers are available for microcontrollers, but they are typically a subset of true C++ because of C++'s resource intensive needs. Large amounts of memory and computational throughput are required thereby unnecessarily increasing costs.

Large applications are built upon a Real Time Operating System (RTOS).  An RTOS allows design abstraction to flow down to software implementation by allowing the software to be written in separate and seemingly unrelated "tasks".  These tasks appear to run simultaneously on the machine and accomplish different jobs.  You are undoubtedly reading this page on a machine with an operating system that allows you multitask a web browser, word processor, and other programs simultaneously.  This is analogous to what the RTOS offers to an embedded system.  Smaller systems typically don't need the power of an RTOS and are implemented using real-time loops and interrupt driven functions.

Software implementation proceeds from the ground up. Though this may seem counterintuitive to the top-down design philosophy, the design has already been completed. By growing the application from the ground up on the actual hardware, potentially very complex and difficult to isolate interactions between untested codes are eliminated. A small bit of code is added and debugged, then another small bit is added and debugged and so forth until the application is complete and operational.  (top)

Manufacturing

The final component in Digital Power & Motion's one-stop-shop approach is the production facility. We have all the necessary processes to crank out your products in a timely fashion. We pride ourselves in first time quality, zero defects and zero customer returns. Digital Power & Motion's production facility has the capacity to handle your needs, but we also have local contract manufacturers to handle the rare overflow situations.  (top)

Contact Digital Power & Motion soon to get your project underway!