System software, FPGA design and embedded firmware were once terms unknown in the mechanical engineering industry, but now they’re a part of everyday life. Think of planes, trains and automobiles – all resolutely mechanical in design, yet all equally complex in technology..
The costing, planning and execution of complex mechanical engineering contracts can cause a lot of problems for engineers. An interesting online blog, written by an engineer who does freelance work for the US Air force and other major clients, lifts the lid on what is involved. A lot of the anecdotes involve other people and their problems with embedded firmware development.
For example, one enterprising start-up company went out of business due to the consultant’s wildly overoptimistic schedule. Another was bogged down by a project that had gone way over budget and was already 5 years behind schedule. The only answer was to cut their losses ($40 million) and start again.
However basic your system design, you need to install a version control system (VCS) – a kind of tracking program for your system software. It’s essential for all projects – especially the more remote ones. The NEAR spacecraft, which ended its 5-year mission to explore new worlds in 2001, was almost lost when the on-board embedded firmware tried to abort the mission. Two sets of software kept on unprotected servers became mismatched – and the wrong set flew.
We at Enventure Technologies realise you probably won’t be landing a probe on Jupiter any time soon. But whatever your requirements, we offer a full range of manufacturing support solutions, from reverse engineering to MRO maintenance.