Our team of mechanical design engineers can conceptualize prototype designs using sketches and preliminary drawings while discussing technical specifications directly with the customer. From an early stage, the development of the design includes mock-ups and rapid-prototypes that come to life using advanced in-house 3D printing techniques, as well as precision in-house CNC machining.
The experiences matured during years of activities and the frequent dealing with non-conventional applications, enable the mechanical design team of HELLENIC INSTRUMENTS to conceive and design innovative solutions in response to any particular customer needs.
In addition, by combining the most modern advanced software tools for 3D CAD design, HELLENIC INSTRUMENTS can always guarantee high quality and reliable realizations.
Complex systems realized during the years include stabilized military platforms, multi-sensors marine systems, drone jammers, production monitoring systems & actuators, as well as imaging devices.
While working with non-standard applications, it is not always feasible integrating existing electronic boards available in the market, matching with all the required specifications of the project.
Restrictions connected to dimensions, working conditions, consumed power, generated heat, and the very specific required operations and functionalities, often prevent the employment of standard solutions.
For these cases, HELLENIC INSTRUMENTS electronic engineers design and realize custom boards, which are routinely developed for a wide spectrum of purposes: from simple modules interfaced with different sensors and actuators, to advanced processing units based on microcontrollers, DSPs, PLDs or FPGAs.
Relevant examples of customized electronics can be found inside every stabilized military platform and multi-sensor marine system, where all the low-level control boards and the power management units are designed and realized by HELLENIC INSTRUMENTS.
Modelling and Control
Every system has to be provided with a certain level of intelligence, for properly acting as a single individual or as a member of a team of cooperating agents. Sometimes consolidated control and coordination algorithms are sufficient for achieving the desired behaviors. Other times the peculiarities of the analyzed scenario require the usage of not standard strategies or the identification of new control solutions.
Thanks to the strong linkage with the academic and scientific community in Greece, as well as in the United Kingdom, HELLENIC INSTRUMENTS engineers are up-to-date on the recent achievements about control systems algorithms. If proper solutions can be found in literature, they are identified, analyzed and customized to the specificities of the considered problem. Otherwise, innovative approaches are investigated and new algorithms or control techniques are eventually conceived.
Once the developed algorithmic framework, either for a single system or for a team of cooperating agents, is sufficiently ready for being assessed on the physical systems, its functioning is often first validated, formally and/or through simulative campaigns. To this aim, whenever possible, a mathematic model describing the relevant characteristics of every involved system is preliminarily obtained, for allowing both a formal validation and a more realistic simulation.
In the software development area, HELLENIC INSTRUMENTS relies on a team of expert engineers carrying on all the phases of the software development process: design, implementation, testing.
The main software expertise of HELLENIC INSTRUMENTS concerns real-time applications, with a consolidated capability in implementing control architectures for complex systems and advanced machinery.
The experiences matured during years of activities in real-time applications, frequently involving crucial mission-critical constraints, allowed the software team to acquire deep competencies on the most modern tools and techniques for advanced programming.
More and more devices can be effectively controlled by low-cost and low-power embedded architectures.
Years of activities in the defence sector and in mission-critical applications, where the hardware size and its power consumption are often an issue, enabled HELLENIC INSTRUMENTS engineers to mature strong expertise in designing and implementing embedded systems.
Different families of programmable devices, microcontrollers and DSPs, with related development and simulation environments, are frequently used by HELLENIC INSTRUMENTS engineers for developing advanced integrated solutions, tailored to the application needs and constraints.
Among the most relevant realizations, it is worth citing control systems for gyroscopically stabilized military pan tilt units, servo systems for electrical motors, modules for signal acquisition and signal processing, power management units.
Further strong competencies are registered also in developing distributed architectures based on CAN-bus and other fieldbuses, as well as RS-232, RS-422 and RS-485 interfaces.
Graphical User Interfaces
For enabling a non-expert user to operate the stabilized military platforms, an intuitive ergonomic Graphical User Interface (GUI), supporting the main system functionalities, is certainly a fundamental ingredient.
Very often the developed GUIs are OS-independent and can run on multiple platforms, including ruggedized laptops and touchscreen interfaces.
Whenever a sufficiently large-bandwidth data link with the system is available, HELLENIC INSTRUMENTS support the usage of joysticks or other ergonomic controllers, providing direct access to all the system actuators.
Rapid Prototype Realization
In the process of creating new complex systems, the need for realizing ad-hoc mock-ups usually arises, and for different motivations. Very often a proof-of-concept mock-up is necessary for testing the basic functioning principle of innovative components, like a new sensor or a new actuator. Other times, when a choice has to be made among alternative technical solutions, comparative experiments on tailored mock-ups are certainly helpful for the selection process.
Finally, there can be a need for building special mock-ups to be used as test-beds for performing special experiments on other systems or for characterizing the performance of newly developed devices.
HELLENIC INSTRUMENTS engineers are highly experienced in designing and developing customized mock-ups and test-beds, and normally their realization process is quite fast, as most of it can be conducted internally, by exploiting the available infrastructures and machining tools.
Once developed, mock-ups can be used also at the head office, by performing tests with laboratory instruments.
In the realization of complex mechatronic devices, the effective integration of all the composing elements plays a crucial role for the proper functioning of the final system.
For this motivation, despite some activities in the production process are sometimes outsourced to external service suppliers (like the machining of large-size mechanical parts or the welding of components on electronic boards), the final integration steps on the systems under development are always performed by HELLENIC INSTRUMENTS engineers.
Expert technicians routinely execute all the operations related to assembling and cabling, by exploiting the facilities of the internal electronic laboratory and mechanical workshop.
The successive step is the execution of the operations related to the calibrations of sensors and the configurations of all the devices, like servos, requiring an initial firmware programming, before usage.
Once finalized, the systems are first examined with laboratory instruments, then different functional tests are performed to verify the compliance with the working specifications.
Testing the electronic devices, especially on the field, is far from being a trivial job, as many aspects have to be carefully considered, planned and managed.
The first step before any trial is the clear definition of its real goals. Only based on that, a proper sequence of experiments, capable of providing precise answers to all the interrogations behind the tests can be specified.
Once the list of tests to be executed is detailed, all the other relevant decisions can be taken: the selection of a proper site for the experiments, the identification of the necessary means and supporting facilities, the preparation of an adequate kit of spare parts, the accurate planning of all the operations, including the management of all the issues related with the transportation of people and equipment, the temporal schedules and constraints, and any other relevant logistic details. From the above complexity, it emerges how collected past experiences represent one of the main factors for success.
HELLENIC INSTRUMENTS participated in several initiatives within marine operations, related to the installation of stabilized platforms, multi-sensor marine surveillance systems and scientific tests. In addition, field tests are autonomously organized and routinely carried out by HELLENIC INSTRUMENTS engineers, for assessing the functioning and the performance of the systems under development.
The strong gathered experiences during years of field trials make HELLENIC INSTRUMENTS engineers very skilled in all the aspects required for defining, planning and executing an experimental campaign.