AmbertraxGNSS-based virtual fencing system

We have recently completed the design and the implementation of a virtual fence system for the civil engineering industry using a Software as a Service (SaaS) architecture.


GNSS-based virtual fencing system

AmbertraxWe delivered a feature-rich and scalable solution enabling our customer, Ambertrax Proximity Safety Systems, to go to market promptly with a state-of-the-art product. The solution involved GNSS technology, Android & iOS native (Java, Objective C) as well as ASP.NET Core (C# & JavaScript) development and deployment using the Amazon cloud infrastructure.

Since this project is about keeping people safe, we used best practice processes during the development and integration to ensure reliance was part of the delivery. We wrote a significant number of unit tests (TDD) and included redundancy at the core of the architecture so there is no single point of failure.

Technology Used:

  • GNSS technology
  • Android native (Java)
  • iOS native (Objective C)
  • ASP.NET Core (C# & JavaScript)
  • AWS infrastructure

SNMP v1/v2 & v3 implementation on Microchip stackSNMP v1/v2 & v3 implementation on Microchip stack

Irontech first implemented firmware supporting SNMP v1/v2c on a Microchip PIC18 for Christchurch company Enatel. Then, migration to PIC32 was carried out along with the implementation of SNMP v3.


SNMP v2c/v3 for Advanced Monitoring and Control of Telecom DC Systems

SNMP v1/v2 & v3 implementation on Microchip stackIn the telecommunication world, a majority of auxiliary systems are monitored via SNMP. A large Telco usually need to actively monitor thousands of such devices in various locations to ensure an overall reliable service.

It is in this environment that a comprehensive SNMP v2c/v3 agent was developed for a DC supervisory module to match the strict requirements present in tenders from internationally based Telcos. The SNMP agent was tested to be compatible with industry-standard NMS such as SNMPc and HP BTO (formerly HP OpenView).

The network card was initially based on a Microchip PIC18 microcontroller and was later moved to a PIC32 using FreeRTOS. The SNMP agent was comprehensive, using ITU X.733 alarm modelling for trap format and a large amount of monitoring and control data. A number of other interfaces were also included in the design such as:

  • Serial link interface to PSU main controller.
  • USB 2.0 host port.
  • Fully isolated RS485 and RS232 communication ports.

Technology Used:

  • Microchip Ethernet TCP/IP stack
  • C and PIC Assembly languages
  • Embedded real time OS (FreeRTOS)
  • PIC18 and PIC32 microcontrollers
  • 100-BaseT phy
  • DHCP, SNTP, HTTP web server

EatonHardware platform upgrade to ARM Core

The SC300 System Controller is an advanced control and monitoring solution for the Eaton Enterprise, Access, Metro and Core Solutions. Irontech provided consultancy services to upgrade the ageing SC200 hardware platform to a more modern architecture and build environment.


Hardware platform upgrade to ARM Core

Eaton projectThe goal of this project was to port an existing C++ code base from a Green Hills Integrity platform to an open source environment and tool chain using an ARM M3 MCU. The hardware was made up of an NXP LPC18 microcontroller clocked at 120Mhz with external RAM and Flash. The I/O included an LCD, CAN bus, Ethernet Phy and isolated serial interfaces. A number specific tasks were undertaken, such as:

  • TCP/IP stack integration using LWIP
  • FreeRTOS POSIX (pthread) Wrapper
  • Hardware bring up (LCD, SRAM, SPI Flash, RTC, I2C and various I/O)
  • Various Scripting and makefile for GCC toolchain

Technology Used:

  • FreeRtos Real time OS
  • NXP LPCXpresso and LPC18 software libraries
  • LWIP TCP/IP network stack
  • SDRAM and SPI Flash
  • LCD driver
  • Makefile and bash scripting

MVC.Net cloud portalMVC.Net Cloud Portal for Industrial Application

Irontech was tasked by an international customer in the construction industry to design and develop an online portal. This portal was to enable distribution and control of machine load as well as provide real-time analysis of production & QA data in manufacturing factories.


MVC.Net Cloud Portal for Industrial Application

MVC.Net cloud portalThe system had to integrate with existing software both upwards and downwards of the cloud-based application. Irontech’s involvement started with the software design of a complex multi-layered web-based application through to the implementation, and later on-site commissioning.

Our team of experienced .Net developers followed a test-driven, Agile development approach with regular deployments of incremental releases allowing for regular client feedback throughout the development phase.

The initial phase consisted of developing the MVC.Net application as a standalone website so as to test all of its features independently of the other software involved. The next phase would involve integrating and communicating with the existing high-level software as well as with the machine control software, turning the labour-intensive system into a fully automated process.

The portal would therefore provide greater flexibility to the user and reduce time spent manually transferring files or entering data into various spreadsheets and reports. This would in turn reduce the risk of error and contribute to a higher productivity, as well as enable authorized users in any location to visualise the real-time status of any element in the system.

Technology Used:

  • Server scripting – .Net 4.5 MVC 5 (C#)
  • Javascript, Ajax, jQuery client scripting
  • WCF Web Services
  • SQL database design
  • LINQ
  • Entity Framework Code First
  • IIS & Microsoft Azure set up & deployment
  • Visual Studio development environment

Embedded Software DesignEmbedded Software Design – New Zealand Based, Global Results

Irontech was tasked with designing the software architecture of the High Resolution Echelle Spectrograph for the Himalayan Chandra Telescope that was being jointly constructed by Industrial Research Ltd and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics.


Embedded Software Design

Embedded Software DesignThis complex system comprised of a large number of different instruments. The Embedded Computer Software to be designed was to be the main process responsible for managing the instruments connected to the computer.

We chose a highly Object Oriented design that would support 6 core classes of instruments from which all instrument-specific objects would be derived. Two motion-type classes (linear and rotational servos), three I/O classes (analogue inputs, digital inputs and digital outputs) and one exposure meter class were defined.

The core classes and hardware specific classes were split between 2 layers, the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) and the Hardware Specific Layer (HSL).
The HAL defines the interface that the HSL needs to implement. It represents a sort of contract that each instrument-dependent class need to comply with for the whole scheme to work.

The design allowed for hardware to be configured at runtime via an XML config file containing static hardware configuration. At start-up, the Embedded Controller Software woould read & parse config.xml and instantiate objects of corresponding classes.

The architecture for the Embedded Computer Software was poll based (Client/Server model), i.e. the software waits for and responds to queries from the instrument PC or other IP client on the secure private LAN source.

The architecture was split into two main processes:

  • The Instrument Control Application, which would be responsible for initialisation and shall allow the control of all the instruments connected to the controller.
  • The Communication Module, which would allow the remote control of the instruments on the LAN.

The SOAP web service interface provided a platform independent solution (HTTP) with extensive multi-language support (eg PHP using SOAPClient, PYTHON using SOAPpy etc).

Due to the remote location of the telescope, the availability and reliability aspects were paramount to the design. Therefore, the following features were included: remote rebooting function, safety check functions for diagnostic, web pages for troubleshooting & commissioning, and logging for reporting. As you can see, Iron Tech are experts at embedded software design for New Zealand and international clients. 

Technology Used:

  • High-level software design
  • SOAP Web Service
  • C#.Net
  • XML, XSD
  • Collaborating and liaising with a number of other companies and contractors who provided expertise in the areas of mechanical engineering, optics and hardware design.

Intelligent audio communication deviceIntelligent Audio Communication Device

Irontech has assisted Tait Communications with the development of an intelligent audio device capable of communicating with Smartphones and handheld Radios.


Intelligent Audio Communication Device

Intelligent Audio Communication DeviceThe project was based on a PIC32 microcontroller architecture using FreeRtos and the Microchip harmony framework. The work consisted of taking over existing prototype implementation and bringing it to a sustainable commercial application.

We added Rtos support, a message handling framework, various communication protocols and USB debugging. We also provided support for Mobile development application.

Technology Used:

  • Microchip PIC32 and Harmony Framework
  • Real time OS FreeRTOS
  • TI audio codec
  • Bluethooth (Nordic / Microchip )
  • Native Android app development
  • Xamarin

SchoolNotices Web PortalSchoolNotices MVC.Net web portal

Irontech set out to design and develop a cloud-based web portal specifically aimed at improving communication between schools & clubs and their students and students’ caregivers. Making use of the latest .Net technologies, this state-of-the-art software provides the automated management of notices & permission slips, absences, plus the tracking of both positive student behaviour and bullying incidents.


SchoolNotices MVC.Net web portal

SchoolNotices MVC.Net web portal, www.schoolnotices.co.nzSchoolNotices, www.schoolnotices.co.nz, was specifically designed to meet the needs of schools, clubs and other organisations that require efficient communication with caregivers but only have access to young students.

Easy and intuitive to use, SchoolNotices is the only low-cost, automated system of its kind. Replacing a traditional paper-based system which not only lacks in reliability but is costly both in time and materials, it also facilitates and standardises the administration of email notices within an organisation.

After a well-thought through design phase allowing us to define the best features that would meet the needs identified, we followed a test-driven, Agile development approach throughout the development phase. As a result, organisations using SchoolNotices benefit from state-of-the-art technology enabling them to efficiently communicate with their students’ caregivers. In addition to the Behaviour tracking and Absence management features, the core Notice management and Event Calendar modules are exclusive to SchoolNotices and transform the way organisations communicate:

  • Staff may create, edit and send notices & permission slips to any groups in any organisation they belong to.
  • Recall a notice (recipients get notified automatically), duplicate, delete or generate notice pdf in one click.
  • Track responses & payments stats at a glance and enjoy friendly reminders being sent as required.
  • Track responses & payments stats at a glance and enjoy friendly reminders being sent as required.
  • For any event where help is needed, view how many parents have offered to help to date, with what and who they are.

Technology Used:

  • Server scripting – .Net 4.5 MVC 5 (C#)
  • SQL database design
  • Entity Framework Code First & LINQ
  • Javascript, Ajax, jQuery client scripting, Knockout
  • SSL & security
  • Microsoft Azure set up & deployment via Visual Studio Online
  • Visual Studio development environment

SNMP Firmware on XportPro Lantronix microSNMP Firmware on XportPro Lantronix micro

Irontech was involved in the development of a μcLinux-based SNMP agent for power supply products for Auckland company Innovative Energies.


SNMP Firmware for Low Power DC Backup Charger

SNMP Firmware on XportPro Lantronix microOur customer wanted to add SNMP v1 to a μClinux based embedded platform.

The basic requirements were for monitoring the device status, reading output voltage, current and temperature as well as sending SNMP traps upon configurable low/high threshold limits.

As it is usually the case for this type of projects, a website was also put in place to allow configuration of the device settings. The features of the website closely matched the ones available from SNMP.

For this project, Irontech was initially contacted to review the SNMP design and guide the client’s software developer. Irontech was also tasked with providing project management services for the geographically distributed team with members on the South Island, North Island and in Australia as well as with QA and long-term support.

As part of our review, a new MIB was produced to better match the characteristics and features of the power supply to the SNMP protocol. Irontech later completed the implementation of the software. We have since been responsible for providing ongoing maintenance and implementing enhancements, such as a dual bank bootloader feature and a LAN supervision feature.

Technology Used:

  • Lantronix XportPro SDK.
  • μClinux based tool chain (m68K family processor).
  • Comms to the PSU microcontroller via proprietary serial protocol.
  • Dual bank bootloader support via web site.

C# desktop applicationC# desktop application

Irontech has provided software consultancy services to Christchurch-based company Streat Instruments and added various features to a desktop software used for data retrieval from soil moisture sensors.


Aquacom Manager

C# desktop applicationThe Aquacom Manager is a key component of a system whose main purpose is to collect environmental measurements in remote areas and store them in the cloud for analysis. Soil moisture levels, rain gauge, temperature, water flow rates are sampled from a network of distributed nodes connected via radio link to a base station.

The Aquacom manager’s role is to configure the nodes and automatically retrieve and store the accumulated data to a relational database.

The main involvement of Irontech has been general maintenance of the Aquacom manager C# application as well as adding new features like soil moisture average algorithm, speed download option, support for new sensors, downloading process.

Technology Used:

  • Visual Studio C# for desktop
  • Microsoft OS in managed environment (.NET)
  • Microsoft Access database
  • Serial communication to base station
  • Radio Communication
  • HMI, GUI

Class B & class C embedded software testsR1 & R2 embedded software tests

Irontech assists Christchurch-based PowerLab, the only commercial high voltage and heavy current test laboratory in New Zealand, with embedded software analysis and certification.


R1 & R2 embedded software tests

Class B & class C embedded software testsIrontech have worked with PowerLab to assess various electric appliance software.

Irontech’s background in electrical engineering and in-depth knowledge of low-level embedded software have enabled us to assess critical safety related software in appliances in accordance with IEC 1101 and IEC 60335.

The tests involve detailed analysis of the software in the areas relating to: Registers; Instruction Decoding and Execution; Program Counter; Addressing; Data Paths Instruction Decoding; Interrupt Handling and Execution; Clock; Invariable Memory and Variable Memory; I/O Periphery; Analogue I/O.

Technology Used:

  • Electrical engineering & electronics
  • Assembler and C languages
  • Static analysis and simulation
  • CRC algorithms, WALKPAT memory tests
  • Independent time slot and logical monitoring
  • Use of debuggers and simulators from various microcontroller manufacturers (eg, ST, ATMEL, FreeScale)

VB desktop applicationsVB desktop applications

Irontech has provided assistance with the development of desktop software for mechanical machines such as rollformers and curvers for North Canterbury company Angus Robertson Mechanical.


VB desktop applications

VB desktop applicationsIrontech has participated in the development of various machine control software. Our main involvement has been in maintaining software and implementing new features such as file import, scrap tracking, scanning of coil barcode, smart cut operation and archiving of history files.

Technology Used:

  • Visual Studio for Desktop
  • Visual Basic
  • MySQL database
  • PLC
  • HMI, GUI

Technical Translations English to French

Software localisation and translations of highly technical user guides, software manuals, help files, tender submissions and marketing material in the areas of electrical, mechanical, software and hardware engineering. Our customers include Angus Robertson Mechanical (North Canterbury), EnaSolar (Christchurch), Hayes International (Rotorua) and FrameCad (Auckland).


Other projects we have worked on include

  • Design & implementation of a 20W Class D amplifier with serial Dataflash stored speech messages
  • Design & implementation of serial interface driving chain of LED display boards
  • Porting real time kernel AVRX for ATMEL ATMega256 micros
  • SMS push/poll and alert for remote node notification using Wavecom GSM module
  • Remote dial-up communication between remote node and base station software
  • Design and development of a battery/charger communication system over the power lines
  • Development of software to control Automated Guided Vehicles moving pallets around a food-manufacturing site
  • Embedded software development for Windows Mobile-powered handheld devices in the GIS industry
  • Embedded software to multiplex audio, data and service information into an ETS 300 799 compliant stream for the Digital Audio Broadcasting industry
  • Design and development of database replication service
  • Design and development of power plant simulator for operator training using the MMS/ACSL open API
  • Addition of multi-tasking capability for a mobile phone functional test platform