- Bateman Process Instrumentation
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.
The so called "Commander" micro-computer, was programmed using a Basic-like Process Control Language (PCL) developed in-house using the Motorola Assembler. PCL featured very specialised Real-Time functionality, targeted at software development for industrial applications.
The Commander peripherals included 10MB Pertec Cartridge Disk Drives, 8" flexible diskettes and a cassette tape.
The "Commander" conquered the South African market, competing against the (later giant) "Apple II" and was installed in industrial "Turnkey Process Control" applications at Mines, Breweries, Sugar Mills, Soap manufacturing factories, Truck engines production and in 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, within military standard enclosures.
- Sugar Mills: Amatikulu, Darnell
- Breweries: Garankwa, Alrode
- Soap: Uniliver
- Messina Mines
- STC (Standard Telephones & Cables)
- Elbit Computers
Unlike today's micros, 16-bit processors were built with "Large Scale Integrated" (LSI) circuit and "bit slice" technology. Such processors were found only in so called "mini-computers", the likes of the CDC's Cyber17 or the PACT, designed and built by Elbit Computers.
In April 1980, I spent three (3) weeks in Bangkok, training a team of Customer Support Engineers of the local CDC company. I tought them "Olympus"; a proprietry interpretive language that oferred low level commands, but had the look and feel of Basic; useful for writing adhoc diagnostic utilities that helped identifying peripheral hardware malfunction.
In the photo below:
CDC Bangkok Customer Support Engineers
and in the background:
PACT Mini Computer
Operator's desk console and keyboard,
600 LPM Line-printer on the left,
10MB Disk drive on the right.