Duagon supplies 40,000 PowerPC controller boards for ventilators

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

On short notice, duagon produced around 40,000 electronic controller boards within a few weeks from its plant in Nuremberg, Germany for ventilators made by Hamilton Medical in Switzerland.

The company had designed a customized board for Hamilton to control ventilators with patient monitoring for invasive and non-invasive therapies for adults, children and infants.  

The ESM COM design is based on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products and implemented specifically for Hamilton Medical. Based around NXP’s PowerPC MPC8548 and ARM processors, it includes an application-specific I/O block embedded in and FPGA, binary I/O, pulse width modulation, quadrature decoder, frequency counter and a custom carrier board developed by Hamilton Medical.

In addition, the board has a highly robust design, which is necessary due to the mobile equipment and the load when in use. The design also features long-term availability, and duagon maintains the complete life-cycle management process for the customer. The COM modules connect to the host CPU using the FPGA and PCI to withstand the tough real-time requirements.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for ventilators rose sharply worldwide and Hamilton Medical placed an order with duagon without advance notice for the 40,000 boards, with a delivery requirement of only a few weeks. An order of this volume is usually produced by duagon at its Nuremberg site in around a year. Despite the challenges of maintain staff safety during the Coid-19 panedemic and the challenging procurement of components, duagon was able to manage the entire supply chain. With the support of the suppliers, duagon says it was able to deliver the ordered boards on time, in some cases even early.  

“Due to their very short-term and flexible support, duagon contributed significantly to our project success in the still challenging COVID-19 pandemic and exceeded our expectations by far. Against the background of our long-term partnership, duagon knew our products and requirements exactly and supplied us on time thanks to their local production in Europe,” said Marco Guarino, Team Leader Procurement at Hamilton Medical.  

“Set up as a duagon wide joint project we have gained valuable insights from this significant order. It will improve our design to manufacturing process, project management and our customers in the medical sector will benefit from it in future projects. We would like to thank Hamilton Medical for the excellent cooperation and the confidence placed in us and are pleased that we were able to support our long-standing partner in this challenge,” said Dr. Michael Goldbach, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer of duagon.

duagon AG, a rapidly expanding Swiss technology company, is a leading supplier for communication, computing and control technology as well as project planning and development services for system critical applications in the rail, medical and critical automation market. 

For the rail sector, duagon  develops and manufactures communication solutions for train networks, control, monitoring and information systems, both as standard products and as customized solutions. The extensive portfolio is complemented by engineering services and high-quality application software for rail signalling and train information systems. 

For the medical industry, the technology company develops and manufactures reliable, compact and long-term available COMs, carrier boards and systems including the required software adaptions. The core competencies include power-optimized designs, high-performance embedded computing platforms and highly compact modules for use in applications such as patient monitoring, ventilators and medical imaging. 

The company has development and production facilities at its headquarters in Dietikon near Zurich, in Nuremberg, Blue Bell (Pennsylvania) and Sydney.

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