Metering

KREON and AdvanceIO, a division of Epi-Use, have developed a complete Smart Metering System. It contains all the critical components that a Smart Metering System should comprise of, according to NRS-049:2-16.

Case studies

Epi-Use has developed the Head End System that consists of several functional components and make up the full back-end implementation system for a Smart Metering System. It comprises of the following sub systems:

  • IMMS (Intelligent metering management system)
  • FEG (Field equipment gateway)
  • OTAO (Over the air update services of field device firmware)
  • CLM (Communications link monitor services)
  • PORTALS AND DASHBOARDS (Consumer portal as well as system operational dashboards)
  • RDBMS (Relational database management systems)
  • MESSAGE BROKERS service bus implementations

KREON has developed all the field equipment that a Smart Metering System comprises of.

Advanced Integrated Router (AIR)

KREON’s Advanced Integrated Router (AIR) provides the functionality as defined by the Network Gateway definition in NRS-049. AIR provides a 3G GSM uplink, upstream to the HES with a proxy DLMS/COSEM client interface for the HES. Downstream provision is made for several physical interfaces. One such interface is a RS485, with a DLMS/COSEM client interface to the meter.

Remote Metering Device (RMD)

Standard BS-footprint and DIN rail meters are provided. The Remote Metering Device (RMD) is specifically for use, either as a stand-alone configuration, or as part of a kiosk configuration.

A stand-alone configuration refers to the meter being installed close to a consumer, and the consumer being issued with an accompanying Consumer Interface Unit (CIU), which interact with the meter.

Kiosk configuration refers to the meter being installed in a kiosk, with the possibility of other meters. All the meters are connected through a wired connection to a Network Gateway. The Network Gateway interacts with a HES. The consumer associated with each meter is issued with a CIU for interaction with the meter.

Customer Interface Unit

The Customer Interface Unit is used to enter tokens and display all the relevant consumption and monetary data associated with the meter, to the customer or consumer. A low power long range RF link is deployed between the CIU and the Meter.

System Engineering

Kreon Technology follows a proven system engineering approach to ensure that our clients’ needs are met by the system developed.

System Engineering

Kreon Technology follows a proven system engineering approach to ensure that our clients’ needs are met by the system developed.

Engineering Management

Kreon Technology firmly believes that continuous communication between the project team, project manager and client ensure that risks are timeously assessed, and contingency plans are in place. We use tailored, engineering management tools to plan and monitor the cost and schedule of projects.

Hardware Development

We have been involved in numerous hardware development projects, ranging from relatively simple micro-controllers to complicated high-speed, real-time Digital Signal Processor (DSP) designs. The design process we follow, broadly consists of applying steps based on project requirements.

Software Development

We also specialise in the development of hard real time embedded software. We have successfully completed software developments in technology areas such as Digital Signal Processing, Image Processing, Industrial Control, and Telecommunications.

Turnkey Manufacturing

Kreon Technology has well-established processes for component procurement, PCB sourcing and assembly of low-to-medium quantities of, high-tech manufacturing and testing. In-house developed, automated test equipment is used to perform board level testing, testing of integrated sub-assemblies and qualification of systems.

Production Test Equipment

An Integrated Product Support environment is used for Testing and Maintenance. Products are tested using automated test systems with a SQL data base for test instructions and test results. This results in a reduced cost of testing. The test environment ranges from bed of nails to final, high-level functional testing with automated acceptance test logs and build history documents. Product maintenance and life cycle maintenance are done using the same environment.

System Engineering

Our System Engineers perform a Functional Analysis to develop a Concept of Operations and Functional Architecture.

The Speciality Engineering group within Kreon Technology performs inter alia simulations and algorithm developments to serve as inputs to the Requirement Management and Synthesis processes.

The Requirements Management process uses the Functional Architecture, as well as inputs from the Speciality Engineering analyses, to develop requirements. These requirements are validated via the Validation and Verification process in conjunction with our clients. The interaction between Functional Analysis and Requirements Management is iterative, as the Functional Architecture and Resulting Requirements are decomposed to a level representable of the necessary requirements that is descriptive of the needed system characteristics.

Synthesis then develops the physical architecture or design solution to those requirements.

Interface Management plays a key role in ensuring that the various internal system pieces are coordinated and integrated with external systems. As the total system is decomposed via iterative interaction of Functional Analysis, Requirements Management, and Synthesis; physical and functional interfaces are identified and managed.

The system is developed according to the baseline design and verified with the Qualification process.

The results of these activities are continually brought under Configuration Management. Although the discussion of this simplified view and description of the System Engineering process was sequential, it is truly iterative and employed continuously throughout the lifecycle of a system.

Engineering Management

Consists of the management of the engineering and technical effort to transform a set of requirements into an operational system. This includes:

  • The planning and control of technical program tasks
  • Integration of engineering specialities
  • The management of a total, integrated effort of design engineering, computer software engineering, test engineering, logistics engineering, production engineering, and speciality engineering to meet cost, technical performance and to schedule objectives.

Hardware Development

The decision to develop hardware for a specific application would be driven by several factors.

If there is a suitable solution available as COTS, this would be recommended with consideration paid to:

  • Is it technically suitable i.e. functionally, environmentally, its power consumption and its thermal profile?
  • Is it economically suitable i.e. cost, lead time, batch quantities?
  • Is its life-cycle compatible i.e. if required to be around for many years, how can the supplier guarantee this?
  • Is it legally compatible i.e. are end-user limitations applicable?

If the COTS solution does not fulfil these requirements, a custom solution will be developed, and with it will come the following benefits:

  • The client will have full control over the technical specification.
  • A proper life-cycle management, specifically with regards to obsolescence control and associated update decisions.
  • Unit cost trade-off vs specification vs manufacturing processes and batch-sizes.
  • Manufacturer selection, batch size decisions, and stock control.
  • Owner of IP.

The hardware development process would entail the following steps, usually in conjunction with a client:

  • Technical specification.
  • Cost estimates, development and manufacturing budgets, and project planning.
  • Detail design, including FPGAs, PCB layout, and simulations where applicable.
  • Prototype manufacturing.
  • Qualification and certification as may be required.
  • Preparation for further manufacturing, including possible volume manufacturing.
  • Establish Test procedures and equipment, possibly including database for life-cycle management.

Software Development

Kreon Technology has development experience, from complex, real-time missile embedded applications to power – and space, conservative low cost, high reliable embedded sensors.

In support of our embedded software developments, Kreon Technology continually applies the latest Windows™ Application Programming Interface technologies. Visual development tools are extensively used for Man-Machine-Interface applications and device drivers are developed where high-speed data throughput is essential. Kreon Technology also develops all device drivers for card products embedded in the PC, providing our clients with top-notch support.

In support of the systems engineering process, our software engineers work in close collaboration with the systems engineer and hardware engineer throughout the concept design and detail design phase. Software performance areas are identified early in the project and appropriate techniques are applied to the software design and coding phases.

Key Software Development Areas

Software Development Process
Our software standards conform to the quality guidelines enforced by RTCA/DO-178.
Embedded Processors
ARM family of processors, e.g. multi-core Cortex A9; Power PC; Texas Instrument family of processors and micro-processors.
Embedded Operating System
Linux, Android, In-house Real-Time Multi-Task Kernel for hard, real time high-end embedded applications.
Application Software
  • PC (Windows and Linux): SQL Database based Telemetry and Test Equipment applications.
  • Embedded: Complex real-time processing, e.g. control, signal processing, encryption.
Driver Software
Drivers for Windows using Microsoft WDK and Linux.
Coding Languages
C#, ANSI C, Visual C++, Visual Basic, Java.
Methodologies
Unified Modelling Language (UML); Kreon has successfully applied this methodology in embedded software designs. Extensive use of Kreon’s In-house Object Orientated Programming Style for embedded application.

Turnkey Manufacturing

The approach is as follows, within the constrains that each project may allow:

  • Prototype manufacturing is done in-house.
  • Rework and some levels of maintenance are done in-house.
  • Kreon has established professional relationships with local manufacturing companies for volume manufacturing; this would be the preferred route if there are e.g. time constraints.
  • Kreon has also established professional relationships with international manufacturing companies for volume manufacturing where this may make more sense for a variety of reasons.

Production Test Equipment

An Integrated Product Support environment is used for:

  • Initial Product Acceptance Testing during manufacturing and
  • During Product Maintenance.

Products are tested, using automated test systems with a SQL data base for test instructions and test results, resulting in reduced cost of testing.

The test environment ranges from bed of nails - to final high-level functional testing with automated acceptance test logs and build history documents.

Product maintenance and life cycle maintenance are done using the same environment in conjunction with an automated maintenance ticketing system.