Information Technology

Engineering 1981 - 1989

Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)

Pascal MT+
Elcon - PDP11 SCADA
PDP11 Macro11 Assembler
RealTime Language RTL/2
1985 - 1989

- South Africa (Johannesburg)
Bateman Process Instrumentation developed and supported the larger scale ELCON SCADA package, operating on DEC PDP11 series mini-computers under RSX11M-Plus.

This Supervisory and Control software was mostly written in RTL/2 with some encapsulated PDP11 Macro Assembler code and was developed internally, by BPI, between 1981 and 1989.

With the advent of the IBM-PC, in the early days of MS-DOS (v2.1), BPI distributed and supported "ONSPEC" - a supervisory system designed in the USA by "Heuristics" (today's Automation ONSPEC Software Inc.), which operated on the rather sophisticated, way ahead of its time, Digital Research Concurrent CP/M-86 Operating System.

SCADA systems were connect to a network of Programmable logic controllers (PLCs), specifically designed for process control. The PLCs were connected to Digital and Analogue I/O sensors and actuators and were programmable using “ladder logic” software.

Industrial Process Control Automation

Software Development
Process Control Language PCL
Commander microcomputer
Motorola 6800 microprocessor
1982 - 1984

- South Africa (Johannesburg)
In the early 1980s, Messina Electronics designed and manufactured a micro-computer, based on the eight bit Motorola µ6800 micro-processor. This micro-chip operated at either 1MHz or 2 Mhz clock.

The so called "Commander" micro-computer, was programmed using a Basic-like Process Control Language (PCL) that was developed in-house using the Motorola Assembler. PCL featured very specialised Real-Time functionality, targeted at software development for industrial applications.

PCL program
The Commander peripherals included 10MB Pertec Cartridge Disk Drives, 8" flexible diskettes and a cassette tape.

The "Commander" had conquered the South African market, successfully competing against the worldwide giant "Apple II". The "Commander" microcomputer was installed in industrial "Turnkey Process Control" applications at various Gold, Platinum, Coal and Aluminium Mines, Breweries, Sugar Mills, Soap manufacturing factories and Truck engines production. It was also utilised running office type applications, like Accounting and Inventory Control.

Messina Electronics also manufactured "water level detectors" for the South African military industry. The innovative design of these units involved the manufacture of a hybrid circuit and some high-quality encapsulation technique of this electronics inside military standard enclosures.

Telecommunications Marketing

- South Africa (Johannesburg)
The largest company of the South African Altech group, STC was engaged in designing, manufacturing and marketing modems and telecoms equipment for Telkom, the local Post and Telecommunication services.

In order to squeeze additional "bandwith" out of the (copper wires) communications channels, reliant on 1200, 2400, 4800 and 9600 bps modems, "modem contention units" with "line controlers" and incorporated statistical and time-division multiplexers were combined and integrated within communications networks.

The Intel's 8080 microprocessor was used in the design of the network diagnostic and monitoring system.