Case human machine interfaces

Mission accomplished

Discover how Mulder-Hardenberg engineered a unique solution for shockproof monitors for the frigates of the Dutch Navy.

As part of the Ministry of Defence, the Dutch navy plays an important role in international peace operations. The M-frigates form a significant part of the Dutch fleet. The monitors in the Technical Center on board these vessels have reached the end of their useful life.

Replacement with standard equipment caused problems; it seemed that none of the tried and tested options worked. Several companies were approached for a solution, but without success.

The challenge

It is not the first time that the monitors on board the M frigates had to be replaced. In the past, the original CRT monitors were replaced by today’s LCD screens. The modified plates on which the monitors were mounted were needed to place the LCD screens in place of the original console. In order to arrive at a perfectly fitting system, it was important to find a new, unique mechanical solution.

The main challenge, however, lay in the fact that no test with standard monitors available had yielded satisfactory results. Several companies had suggested solutions; each time the result was negative. No option turned out to be the right one, despite the type of monitor or the mechanical solution proposed. The image on the replacement monitor must not be lost or distorted due to shocks, which cannot be avoided on a ship.

The successful solution for replacing the monitors is applied in one of the ships. The company that comes up with the right solution has the best chance of getting the order to replace the monitors on multiple M-frigates.

The solution

Mulder-Hardenberg is the only invited company that has decided to test the video signal of the current VME system. M-H has discovered that the VME system generates a non-standard video signal. This fact is the root of the problem. After the measurement, a display controller is selected for a function test. M-H has selected a special KME display controller because the original measurements and tests show that a standard controller does not perform adequately under the conditions.

A demo monitor is made in close collaboration with manufacturer KME. The function test is performed with this unique monitor and has immediate positive results. The mechanical solution should be developed without the use of an adapter plate to avoid loss of space on the operator console. Some features of the original monitors are also required in the new versions, eg dimmable backlights. The customer also wants new features such as adjustable image sizes and variable positions. These features also need to be implemented.

The fact that the VME system generates a non-standard video signal causes the problem in the monitors. This is solved with the unique solution of M-H. The whole system also needs to be improved mechanically to avoid the influence of shocks and vibrations from the ship.

The implementation

Based on all input, tests and measurements, M-H writes a concept with drawings and specifications for KME, the manufacturer of the new monitor system. KME designs and develops the unique product. After approval of the drawings and specifications by all parties involved, KME produces the end result. The first load of new monitors is successfully placed on board the ship by an employee of the Dutch navy and a technical specialist from M-H Services.

The result

The reactions are overwhelming. The Navy is impressed by the fact that the developed and implemented product fits immediately and functions without any problems. The monitors do not flicker, have no signal loss and the image performance is significantly improved over the previous monitors. In addition, thanks to M-H’s mechanical solutions, the Dutch navy has a monitoring system that exactly meets its specifications and requirements.

One ship is now equipped with the new LCD monitors. The replacement of the monitors on a second M-frigate follows soon after. In view of the positive impact, the monitors on the M-frigates sold abroad will eventually also be equipped with the solution developed by M-H. The Dutch navy appears to be so satisfied with the M-H approach that projects on the LCF frigates and OPV vessels are then also provided with specific solutions.