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Customer Stories / Digi ConnectCore 6 Helps Prolec Improve Safety and Usability of Construction Equipment

Digi ConnectCore 6 Helps Prolec Improve Safety and Usability of Construction Equipment

"With Digi, we were able to develop this solution faster and with lower risk by using a proven SOM solution instead of trying to create one ourselves."
-Neil McLaughlin, Development Engineer at Prolec

Prolec, a member of James Fisher and Sons Group, is a market leader with 30 years of experience supplying machine productivity and safety systems to the construction equipment industry. Prolec offers expertise in the control, measurement and guidance of equipment to enhance functionality, deliver higher productivity, and reduce costs.

Business Challenge

At any construction site, safety is always “Job One.” Before excavators, backhoes, cranes, and other specialized machinery do the heavy digging and lifting, construction managers traditionally perform careful site surveys and measurements that are updated over the course of the project. They want to ensure the team is digging to proper depths, maintaining properly safe slopes and angles, and avoiding height and stability dangers. Aiming to automate and streamline this process U.K.-based Prolec has developed the Prolec Machine Engine (PME) family of machine control solutions.

Prolec PME2D
Prolec PME2D continues the journey towards an integrated, single source for your control and safety needs.

Mountable in almost any construction equipment, the Prolec PME2D and PME500 solutions provide monitoring and alarms to help operators remain within safety limits for movements, loads, height, and other stability factors. “These 2D and 3D devices give operators exceptional visibility into their excavation and lifting activities,” said Neil McLaughlin, development engineer at Prolec. “They provide a level of confidence that you’re doing the right things – and doing them well, especially in dredging operations where you can’t see the activity. Prolec devices increase worker safety, reduce rework, cut costs, and protect expensive construction equipment from misuse and maintenance issues.”

The foundation of Prolec’s advanced monitoring solutions is the Digi ConnectCore® 6, an ultra-compact and highly integrated system-on-module (SOM) solution based on the NXP i.MX6 Cortex-A9 processor family. With processor speeds up to 1.2 GHz and fully pin-compatible single-/dual-/quad-core variants, the ConnectCore 6 offers a truly future-proof platform solution in a low-profile, surface-mount design to maximize integration flexibility and significantly reduces design risk in a highly cost-effective, reliable form factor with optimized heat dissipation capabilities.

Solution

“We’re very happy to upgrade our capabilities with the Digi ConnectCore 6,” said McLaughlin. “With Digi, we were able to develop this solution faster and with lower risk by using a proven SOM solution instead of trying to create one ourselves. The OS integration with Windows CE was a big plus for us. Digi packs a lot of power into this small form factor, so we can run 2D and 3D graphics on our LCD display without any difficulty.”

McLaughlin also noted that, with Digi ConnectCore 6, Prolec can offer a complete family of pin-compatible solutions. “The range of ConnectCore modules is identical,” he said. “We can swap a single-core to a quad-core without making any changes to our board – we just change the Digi ConnectCore module, and our customers can use displays with more power and memory.”

Results

According to McLaughlin, the new generation of Prolec devices enhance the user experience. “Prolec offers all the features you’d expect from a 2D guidance product, including accurate and quick grade control in common civil engineering applications.  Preset profiles allow you to dig to depth or grade to a known profile the first time, without under/over cutting, saving time, rework, and excess material.  We have simplified the choosing and editing of slopes, cross sections, trenches, and simple grading. All of that complex processing is possible because of the power and sophistication of the Digi ConnectCore platform at the heart of our solutions.”

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